Sally O’Connor Inducted into US Eventing Hall of Fame

Sally O’Connor is honored by family and friends at Great Meadow International. Photo by Erin Gilmore Photography.

This year a new class will be joining the 47 eventing legends currently in the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Eventing Hall of Fame. Induction into the Hall of Fame is the highest honor awarded within the sport of eventing in the United States. Those invited to join the USEA’s Eventing Hall of Fame have truly made a difference in the sport of eventing. Hall of Fame members have included past Association presidents, volunteers, riders, founders, course designers, officials, organizers, horses, horse owners, and coaches.

Typically, a new group is inducted into the Hall of Fame every four years. The USEA is delighted to be welcoming a new Hall of Fame class this year. These members of the eventing community will be honored for their accomplishments, contributions, and lifelong dedication to the sport of eventing with a formal induction ceremony at the Hall of Fame Gala at the 2022 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention taking place this year in Savannah, Georgia from December 7-11.

The USEA’s Eventing Hall of Fame Class of 2022 will be announced throughout the year as inductees are presented with their invitation in person at events meaningful to their contributions. The third inductee of 2022, Sally O’Connor, was surprised yesterday at the MARS Great Meadow International event in The Plains, Virginia with her invitation to attend the induction ceremony.

O’Connor has enjoyed a lifetime of involvement with horses both in eventing and dressage. She had a robust eventing career in the 1960s and 70s as well as competing in the dressage ring for many years, earning numerous championship accolades while studying under the tutelage of classical riders Franz Rockowansky, Nuno Olivera, and Bengt Ljungquist. Sally moved to Draper, Utah to pioneer dressage and eventing in a new In 1973, while accompanied by her sons, O’Connor pioneered a ride across the U.S. covering over 2900 miles riding her own event horse Gungho.

In addition to her riding, O’Connor has spent many years of her life as a FEI judge in both disciplines, an AHSA/USEF “I” dressage judge, and a “R” judge. Her influence on the sport of eventing, however, has been nothing short of impactful. She served as a steward regularly, including as the Chief Eventing Steward at the 2008 World Equestrian Games. Many of the current FEI eventing stewards working today at the highest level of the sport were trained by O’Connor, who has also contributed to the sport by writing up many of the eventing dressage tests utilized in competition throughout the years.

A prolific writer, riders all over the country have been influenced by her written works Practical Eventing and Common Sense Dressage, as well as numerous articles on both dressage and combined training. For 15 years, O’Connor was the voice of the dressage tests that took place during the then Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and she served as the press liaison during the 2004 Olympics. She has served on the boards of many equestrian institutions including the Potomac Valley Dressage Association, the United States Dressage Association, the United States Pony Club, and was the Vice President of Education for the United States Combined Training Association (now United States Eventing Association). Her sons, David and Brian, have both made their mark on the sport of eventing in their own fashion, no doubt influenced by their mother’s powerful passion for the sport.

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