Olympic eventer Amy Tryon died in her sleep of unknown causes on April 12 at home in Duvall, Wash. She was 42.
Mrs. Tryon was born Feb. 24, 1970, in Redmond, Wash. She began riding as a young child, participating in 4-H and Pony Club. She rode a borrowed pony in her first horse trials at the age of 8, and from that point on her goal was to see how far she could go in the sport of eventing.
She finished high school early, and from age 16 to 21, Mrs. Tryon traveled the country with two horses, competing, training with world-class instructors and supporting herself as a working student.
After completing college, Mrs. Tryon started her career as a professional firefighter, which allowed her the flexibility to continue pursuing her equestrian goals. She retired from firefighting in the summer of 2006 to run her horse business full time, basing herself out of Mapleleaf Eventing at Upson Downs in Duvall.
She first represented the United States in senior international competition in 1999 when she rode Poggio II as an individual at the Winnipeg Pan American Games (Manitoba) and finished fourth.
In 2002, she was a member of the gold-medal winning team at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, with Poggio. She earned team bronze and individual sixth place in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. That year, she was also named the Chronicle’s Eventing Horseman of the Year.
In 2006, Mrs. Tryon won individual bronze at the WEG in Aachen, Germany, and she again earned the Chronicle’s Eventing Horseman of the Year title, while Poggio was named the Chronicle’s Eventing Horse of the Year. Two years later, the pair represented the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong.
Mrs. Tryon completed Rolex Kentucky 10 times over her career, riding four different mounts and finishing in the top 10 four times. She also completed the Badminton and Burghley CCI****s in England several times.
“She loved working with young horses. She loved trying to find out how to communicate to them,” said Greg, her husband of 16 years.
“Whether he was going to be an upper level eventer or not didn’t matter. She loved to find out what that horse was good at and get him going in that field. That was her greatest pleasure.”
“She led by example. She was never one looking for handouts,” said teammate Gina Miles. “She was very independent and self-reliant. She was willing to work hard, however many shifts as a firefighter that she needed to. She didn’t complain about it. She put her head down and did the work. Everybody needs to have that attitude.”
“She was a fierce competitor, but she was a wonderful team- mate. It takes a certain personality to embrace the first position, to go first for the team. Amy took that responsibility on over and over again. She did a wonderful job putting down that first score for the team,” said Karen O’Connor. “She was just a really quiet, sensitive and very selfless person. It’s a real loss for the entire eventing community worldwide. She had so much more to give.”
Mrs. Tryon is survived by her husband, Greg; her parents, Jemi Cain and Larry Spriggs; her sister, Kerrie Anderson; and three nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to your local humane society.
This obituary appeared in the April 30, 2012 issue of the Chronicle.