While Olympic eventer Karen O’Connor is still recovering from fracturing two vertebrae in a fall last October, she hasn’t been sitting idle. In partnership with her mother, Joanne Lende, O’Connor recently purchased Correndo, a 6-year-old Holsteiner stallion (Corrado I—Ondra IV, Contender) for Marilyn Little to campaign in the show jumping ring.
Little found the gray in Europe, where he’d shown to the 1.30-meter level.
“She found him and really loved him from the first jump,” said O’Connor, The Plains, Va. “She offered him to us as a horse [for her] to produce as a jumper. It’s a really fun thing for us to do, and we’re very excited about it. He’s got huge scope with a great style in his jumping. He’s easy to work with and easy to be around—a great personality.”
O’Connor is also on the hunt for a show jumper of her own.
“I would love to get back to competing, more than likely in show jumping and not in eventing at this point, just because of the risk involved with the cross-country with my particular injury,” she said. “Show jumping is something I’ve always loved, and I’ve been studying it a lot for the last few years. We’re looking for a horse that I would be able to get back in the ring with.”
But O’Connor, 55, isn’t counting out a return to the sport she loves.
“I think it’s a real possibility. With every month that goes by, I feel more and more capable of getting my life back, so to speak,” she said. “[Selling] the horses like Mr. Medicott, there was really no alternative. To go right back to the four-star level just wasn’t realistic. The other horses—Mandiba, RF Amber Eyes, Veronica—they needed to not wait for what could have been an answer that was unknown for a while. Between the owners and my situation and my recommendation, I think everything has gone in the direction that it needed to go. It’s not easy for me, but I think the right decisions were all made.”
Along with her show jumping prospect, Little also has a new upper level eventer in her barn.
With the help of Suzanne Lacy, Betsy Smith, Maggi Buterbaugh and Kate Conover of the Team Tabasco syndicate, Little acquired Tabasco TSF. The gelding was formerly ridden by Germany’s Ingrid Klimke.
The 13-year-old Trakehner (Heraldik xx—Titania III, Heling) won the CIC***s at Houghton Hall (Great Britain) and Marbach (Germany) this spring, and he most recently won the CIC** at Sahrendorf (Germany) in July. Klimke retired him on course at the Luhmühlen CCI**** (Germany).
“Tabasco is a very exciting addition to the RF Eventing Team,” said Little on her Facebook page. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to develop a partnership with this fabulous horse. My deepest gratitude goes out to the incredible group of people that came together to form Team Tabasco.”
Little will ride Tabasco in the Blair Castle CCI** (Scotland), Aug. 22-25.