Hi, I’m Marina O’Toole and I am from the Huntington Valley Hunt Pony Club in the Eastern Pennsylvania region. I competed in USPC Championships East on my amazing pony Shaughnessy who I have had for 5 years. We started eventing two years ago and have progressed up to Novice level. Shaughnessy is a 13-year-old, 14.2hh Connemara Trakehner cross gelding.
Our event season was not the best this year – I just couldn’t get all three phases right at one time. The mistakes I made this season taught me a lot, and prepared me for championships. The weeks leading up to champs consisted of lessons, cleaning tack, and giving Shaughnessy many baths. But mostly pure excitement!
Pony Club Championships at Tryon was incredible for so many reasons! The facility was top of the line which made caring for our horses easier and safer. The way it was built is so genius – my Mom called it a “Destination Horse Show.” It keeps the spectators above and away from the horses. This made my 7-year-old brother enjoy his time safely. On top of that, the location and views were breathtaking and the free ice cream was life saving!
I made a video of my time because every year, championships are the highlight of my summer. I wanted to make a small video that stores all the amazing memories I made with my horse and friends at Tryon. So now every time I watch that video I smile and just want to go back.
I want people to watch my video and see how much fun we had. We were competing without our parents allowed to help, on our backyard ponies, and in the heat of the day. But we wouldn’t trade the experience for the world because being able to compete at a world class show grounds was unreal!
What I will always remember from Tryon in this video are the friends I made from all over the east coast. We supported each other and ended up making life long friends. Watching the sunrises while walking on the amazing bridlepath was incredible and brought goose bumps. The biggest thing I shared in my video was that finally after 12 months of work, all three eventing phases came together for my pony and I by placing second individually at championships!
The week went by so fast I never really realized how well we did until after it was all over. We were sitting in 6th out of 23 riders after dressage, then moved up to 3rd after a super confident and clear cross country round, then lastly we went clear in show jumping, placing us 2nd. All the knowledge we gained this season finally paid off. I cannot wait for the next time I get to compete at Tryon!
Click below to watch the video I made of my time at Tryon!