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The Tale of Tony the Pony

Now this is a story all about how
This pony’s life turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became the host of two Olympic affairs

County Louth, Ireland’s where I was raised
With the Horseware people I spent most of my days
Rocking coolers, blankets, sheets and rugs
Getting lots of pats and the occasional hugs
When Horseware got a call from the USET
Asking if they could borrow a model like me
At first I thought it might be a mean old trick
When they said you’re gonna wear the team dress sheet at the Olympics

I boarded a truck with the eventing team
The Team US horses? This must be a dream!
When we all got off at the Greenwich Park stable
They asked me to stay, but I wasn’t able

Greenwich USA House marked my journey’s end
Soon we’d host parties for the teams to attend
I posed with Steffen and Beezie and Boyd with flair
That’s how I hosted two awesome Olympic affairs.

That’s Tony, hiding behind the Team USA Dressage Team and support staff.

So…yeah. That’s a really long and, quite frankly, bizarre way to tell you the tale of Tony the Pony. But Tony’s got a lot of style and personality, and I knew he wouldn’t want his story shared in some boring, straightforward way (especially not when it’s such a great story!).

And it’s 100% true, even if it is a bit hard to believe. Tony came from the folks at Horseware Ireland, along with the gorgeous USEF/USET House dress sheet he wore for the parties, and he really traveled to Greenwich in the same trailer as the Team USA eventing horses. He had to unload at quarantine, but thankfully didn’t have to get inspected, as he would definitely have been ruled too stiff to compete soundly. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself!)

Tony did not approve of that lame joke (pun intended) but he does approve of posing with Olympians! In this case, the Team USA Show Jumping riders.

After unloading in the Greenwich Park stables (yes, it’s true, Tony got even more of an insider’s look at the Olympics than I did!), Tony was carried to the USEF/USET house just outside the park by Jim Wolfe (that’d be USEF’s Executive Director of Sport Programs) and Fiona Tibone, long-time friend of the USET High Performance teams. Once at the house, he donned his fabulous dress sheet, adorned with the Team USA emblem and the logos of SmartPak and The Dutta Corporation, both sponsors of the house, and Horseware (obviously, providers of the cooler (and Tony!)). Tony also had a super-sweet American flag ear net, to match the ones SmartPak made for the Team USA horses, but sadly, it was stolen (!!!!!).

Tony posing with Team USA Eventers, while he still had his ear bonnet.

We did our best to keep Tony dressed at all times because you never know who might be stopping over (case in point: there was one morning Colby got a call stating that Bruce Springsteen might be by in a few minutes to pick up his Show Jumping tickets) (he didn’t end up coming, but I did see him a few days later at Fenway Park in Boston!).

It probably would’ve been cooler to see him at the house. But I bet he wouldn’t have sung Born to Run there.

However, given the unpredictable weather in London, and the fact that it was a wool sheet, we had to constantly manage Tony’s wardrobe – we even roped the security guys into it some days (“OK, Paul, if it starts raining, I need you to take Tony’s blankie off. This is a lot more important than it sounds.”)

Luckily Tony was well-dressed for the Show Jumping team’s impromptu morning meeting in our backyard.

Tony’s wardrobe wasn’t the only managed with such detail. The first time we were dressing him, I noticed that Tony’s mane appeared to be shedding a bit, as there was loose hair all over the ground at his feet. I jokingly asked Jim if someone had been pulling Tony’s mane in preparation for the party, and he replied, 100% seriously, “No. I had to dock his tail though. It was an absolute mess.” (This sort of attention to detail is how you become an Executive Director at the USEF.)

I’m not altogether sure what the plans were for getting Tony the Pony back to the folks at Horseware, but I, for one, am choosing to believe that he hitched a ride back home with Cian O’Connor’s Blue Loyd 12. Knowing Tony, though, the truth is probably way more awesome than that.

Sarah Paull

Sarah Paull is a lifelong rider and SmartPak’s Brand Manager. You may know her better as the life-size foam finger from the London Olympics, the host of USEF Network’s Live from London coverage, or “that girl from the Stuff Riders Say videos.” Prior to joining SmartPak in 2008, Sarah worked as a Veterinary Technician at B.W. Furlong & Associates in Oldwick, NJ, and obtained her degree in Equine Science from Centenary College. Sarah is the proud mom of Cody, a semi-retired, 23-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, and she’s currently looking for an eventing partner to help her get rid of all the extra time, money and energy she doesn’t actually have :-) If you're interested in her often-horsey, always-odd musings, follow @SmartPakerSarah on Twitter.

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Posted in Blogs, Stories & Adventures, Travel

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2 comments on “The Tale of Tony the Pony
  1. Autumn says:

    Hilarious! I definitely didn’t read the beginning…I sang it!

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