Hong Kong - August 8th
USA Eventer Karen O'Connor had her sure spot on the 2008 Olympic Team dashed when just 50 days out from the final selection announcements her sensational and celebrated "pony" Theodore O'Connor (Teddy) shattered his hind leg in a training accident at their home in Virginia.
Karen has suffered by the untimely blow and said "It has had a huge effect on me, I lost something very, very close to me, it was a terrible thing to go through."
Karen acknowledged the need to move on and go to the next stage of life and now looks to her nine year old Irish import, Mandiba, to fill the void. On July 15th this pair were named as the team's reserve combination but moved up into a team spot after the withdrawal of Heidi White's horse on the 28th of July.
Karen O'Connor said that her place on the team with Mandiba had been a rocky road, "It's like being on a roller coaster," she said of her mount. "Mandiba is young and - on paper - short of experience, the other horses on the team are between 12 and 16 years, but Mandiba is very ready and very qualified," she added.
"Without ever forgetting the fantastic memory of Teddy, I will have to put up my best performance with Mandiba. Certainly Teddy will be with me all through the competition, Karen added.
© Cyberhorse 2008 Berni Saunders