Thursday, February 25, 2010

Amy Tryon Balances Olympic Medals, Losing Le Samurai, and Paradise in the North West.

Amy Tryon was the littlest bit quiet when we first started our conversation, but then I noticed her infectious laugh that, sometimes, was practically a giggle. And she laughed a lot. She was enthusiastic when she spoke of her horses, the incredible support from her husband, Greg Tryon, and growing up in Seattle, Washington. There can be no doubt how much she loves the area, her horses, and her husband. She has a staggering list of laurels that includes a Team Bronze medal from the 2004 Olympics and a Team Gold from the 2002 World Equestrian Games. Then there's the seemingly endless firsts at major competitions, the acclaim of highest placed American rider at the 2002 Badminton CCI ****, and winning Jersey Fresh in 2008. I loved learning more about her and hope you do too!

Q. What do you like about eventing on the West Coast?

A. The best part is the fact that I feel like you can develop a young horse at a pace that suits the horse. I can take a five or six or seven year old and do the events they need. I can see them progressing and developing.

Above: Amy on Poggio

photo courtesy of Samantha Bergin

Q. Once ready what do you do?

A. I come out East once a year in Spring time and usually take the young horses as well as older horses so I have something to do every day. I work them into the appropriate division and try to go with what best suits their level. They get exposed to some of the bigger competitions.

Q. Why do you love eventing?

A. The biggest thing I love is the relationship you build with the horses. I’ve been lucky to have long careers with the horses and I usually get them off the racetrack. They don’t all get to be 4 star horses but just getting the satisfaction of seeing them go on to be good hunter or whatever-- it’s just fun!

Q. What’s important about you that you want your fans to know?

A. I think the hard thing is we all get so busy at events it appears we go from one horse to the next and there isn’t a lot of emotion; it’s hard to stop and chat. People derive a certain expectation that they see of your personality. I love it when people come up to me and I like to be approachable. People can come up to me and ask to walk a course--I love to help them do it.

Above: Poggio and a wild Jethro The Miniature Donkey

photo courtesy of Samantha Bergin

Q. What do you most value in others?

A. Definitely honesty. That’s the number one thing. Dealing with folks in business and trying to be honest with the owners--I think a lot of people have had a bad experience in equestrian sports where things haven’t been represented in an honest way. That’s a huge part of what we need to change about our sport.

Q. What has been the hardest moment you’ve ever had in eventing?

A. By far the hardest thing was losing Le Samurai at Kentucky. We actually don’t know what happened other than he took a bad step at the last fence. He ruptured the suspensory in the left front. We made the decision to put him down. He was a horse that was never happy in his stall; he never would have enjoyed life a year in the stall. The owner, Becky Broussard was fantastic and willing to do whatever we needed to do. She said whatever is best for the horse—we’ll do it.

Q. Your husband is Greg Tryon. How would you describe him?

A. He’s very good at helping me. He’s not a horse person but he is an amazing amount of support. I travel a ton and he never once put his foot down and said he can’t do it anymore. I’m gone 3-4 months a year and he stays at home, pays the bills, goes to work every day, runs the barn. We’ve gone on team trips and if anyone needs anything you just ask Greg to do it. He’s been a pillar to me in good and bad times.

Above: Team Tryon (Greg Tryon second from Left)

photo courtesy of Samantha Bergin

Q. Do you guys live on the farm?

A. We run my business, Maple Leaf/Amy Tryon Eventing and we live at the farm. We’ve been there about seven and a half years. Dee, the owner, rides and I help her with her horses. She’s very busy so we take over the management.

Q. What’s it like around your barn? Busy? Peaceful? Neat?

A. It’s a fabulous facility. We designed it from the ground up; it was a neat process. we’ve been in lots of barns all over the world. We have twenty stalls. About ten are my business and ten are boarders. I have three girls that help me in the barn with everything including cleaning stalls. We all do it all. It’s great, we’ve got a lot of turn-out pastures; they all spend at least 12 hours outdoors. I’m lucky to take care of my horses how I want to.

Q. Do you have any pets?

A. We do. Two terriers: Razzle and Jasmine. Razzle is a Border Terrier that we got in Pennsylvania when she was a puppy. She had a rendezvous with one of Karen O’Connor's dogs, unplanned, and so we got four puppies. They’ve gone to two of my students and my mom has one and we have one. She is Border Terrier and half Black and Tan.

photo courtesy of Samantha Bergin

Q. What was your childhood like?

A. It was fantastic. I grew up in Seattle. My mom wanted horses and never could have one. She got a pony for me and my sister when I was one and she was three. We grew up on a farm and did 4H and Pony Club, Western, English, and bare back. I started eventing when I was eight and went from there.

Q. What about what you do with your time out of the saddle?

A. Greg and I love to go to the movies. We just enjoy our time at home together. Everyone asks me where I want to go on vacation and I always say I want to be at home for two weeks! Just hanging out together.

Q. What about the weather in the North West?

A. It’s actually pretty nice because it doesn’t get too hot or too cold. We do get a fair amount of rain in the winter. It’s a great area to have horses and to keep them fit and healthy and live outside if they need to.

Q. Any favorite musicians or authors?

A. One of my favorite movies is Good Will Hunting and I only read non-fiction; I’m a weirdo. I just finished reading Mary King’s autobiography. I enjoy history. My husband was in the military growing up so I enjoy military history; I enjoy reading things that are true.

Q. You are on the road a lot traveling. What do you always bring with you?

A. I always have my dogs with me. It’s funny, every trip we do is different, it’s kind of goofy. I pretty much live in my trailer whenever I’m on the road and that’s great. I usually take one person with me to help with the horses. For the most part it’s a little bit of a break in the routine but nevertheless it’s a seven day a week thing. It’s hard, Greg comes and visits now and then.

Part II with Amy Tryon will post soon. In the mean time don't hesitate to leave your thoughts below or visit us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with the eventing scoop. Don't you love Jethro-the-miniature donkey? Do any of your horses have little buddies?

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