Karen O’Connor’s 1997 Rolex winner, Worth the Trust, died on February 19, 2019 from complications of old age. He was 34 years old. He died like he did everything else in his life ― with honesty and courage.
"Trusty" was an off-the-track Thoroughbred bought by his owner, Joan Goswell, as an eventing prospect. Although he was well bred (Wind And Wuthering x Stop Over Station - Stage Door Johnny) and had the likes of Swaps, Johns Joy, and Tom Fool in his line, he was never successful on the track, winning only one race as a 6-year-old.
When Joan found him, he was thin, having just come off a cheap track, but he had an intelligent, expressive eye and a kind temperament. Joan took him home and let him have a good rest before she ran him in his first event. She evented him successfully up to the Preliminary level when Karen O’Connor took over the ride.
Karen took him to England, where she was based at the time, and competed him successfully. Karen and Trusty returned home in the fall of 1994. She applied for and received special permission to run Trusty at the Fair Hill CCI3*. It was long format and he carried a mandatory weight of 165 lbs. It was his first Advanced and he finished in seventh place.
In 1996, he ran at Rolex in the CCI3*, also a long format, and finished in fifth place on his dressage score of 61.0. In October, he ran once again at Fair Hill CCI3*, finishing in fourth place. That same year, he was named as the first alternate for the United States Olympic Team in Eventing, held in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 1997, he returned to Rolex in the CCI3*, again long format, and carrying the mandatory 165 lbs. This time, he won on his dressage score of 47.80!
In 1998, he ran at Rolex in the first CCI4* to be held there. Unfortunately, he suffered a fall at the Jenny Lane Crossing, damaging his knees. In early 1999, he retired from competition.
He returned to Joan’s Hidden Field Farm, in Valencia, Pennsylvania, where he began his new life teaching dressage to both Pony Clubbers and adult riders. For several years Joan and Trusty whipped in hounds at the Saxonburg Hunt in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania.
Lucinda Green once gave a clinic in which Joan was riding. Upon seeing Trusty, she pronounced him to be a good horse. When asked how she knew that, she replied that it was because he had a double whorl on his forehead. Other than Lucinda, there were very few upper level eventers who thought Trusty would make a good event horse. Karen O’Connor was one of them and nobody but Karen would have had the ability, patience, and understanding to make him into a Rolex winner.
Trusty was a special horse. No matter what he did, he always gave his all. He was as honest as the day is long and he truly had a heart of gold. He was buried at Joan’s Hidden Field Farm.
Rest in Peace, Trusty. Sunny, green fields await you. You will always be missed.
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