World individual medallist put down: ‘He astonished people left and right’

  • Poggio II, the horse who won the world individual bronze medal in 2006, was put down on 9 February aged 29.

    His rider, the US’s Amy Tryon, died on 12 April 2012 of an accidental overdose. Her husband Greg said in a statement on social media after Poggio was put down that she “got an early birthday present, her beloved Poggio”.

    The bay thoroughbred by Polynesian Flyer had a unique style – on seeing a fence he would hurl himself at it without giving his rider much say in the matter, but he was a careful, conscientious jumper and the pair achieved numerous good results. Their success was particularly noteworthy because Amy was an amateur rider, working as a firefighter.

    The pair were third at Kentucky in 2002 and made their championship debut at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, that year, where they took team gold although 60 jumping penalties across country meant they were the US discard score.

    A trip to Burghley in 2003 netted them 17th place and a year later they were on the plane to the Athens Olympics, where they were sixth individually and helped the US to team bronze.

    The pair’s day of days came at the 2006 WEG in Aachen, Germany, where they took the individual bronze medal.

    Poggio was retired after the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong, where he was eliminated across country.

    In his tribute, Greg said: “He astonished people left and right. That’s the horse that jumped double clear? He’s so, so, so… downhill? He’s so short. He doesn’t have a trot, or other gaits for that matter. You’re riding him in a hackamore?!? Please have him stand still… Please make him stop cribbing, he’s teaching my horse bad behaviour…

    “I prefer to remember the time an international show jumper walked up and offered a ‘blank check’ for him in those early days. During Pogi’s first trip to Ocala, the rider apparently sat and watched P jump into and out of his paddock all day long, just for the sheer joy of jumping.”

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    Greg also described his goodbyes to Poggio: “Sitting in his stall that last evening, surrounded by some of those who have loved and taken care of him over the years, was both tough and peaceful. There were tears, and there was laughter. I promised him his forelock would never have to be braided again, no dreaded dressage as the courses would only be cross-country and show jumps. I noted of course, he could jump them in whatever particular order he chose, as he was wont to do anyways. Most importantly, Mom would be waiting for him with open arms and an endless supply of Mrs. Pasture’s cookies.”

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