Subway, Loiacono win honors
Last updated 1/18/2007 at Noon
Horse of the Year honors went to Subway, the 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned and ridden by Olivia Loiacono. With Loiacono in the irons, the gelding tallied three wins and multiple Top 10 finishes in 2006, including a win at the Galway Downs, Copper Meadows and Twin Rivers. Their success was capped by winning a CIC* event in only two starts in 2006, accomplishing an “A” rating in the USPC (the highest in United States Pony Club) and Loiacono’s being named valedictorian of her high school class.
As the Area VI USEA Preliminary Horse of the Year Award recipient Loiacono will be recognized with the “Cyrano” Perpetual Trophy donated by Brian and Lisa Sabo. The Area VI award was comprised of over 4,440 competitors start in 25 events in California, Hawaii and Nevada.
Loiacono has been riding horses since she was 3 and bought her first horse when she was 12. One of her goals is to continue to bring media attention to the sport.
Loiacono said she thinks there should be much more media coverage on three-day eventing. “It should be up there with BMX bike racing, Motocross <a Temecula favorite> or the XGames; it’s so thrilling but many people don’t even know about it,” she said. “People think of it as just a casual thing to do once in a while, but it is so much more than that – maybe I should challenge Jeremy McGrath or Ricky Carmichael to take these jumps on a horse.”
This year included impressive performances at both the Preliminary and CIC* levels competing against the best riders from around the world. Loiacono and Subway are now off as a pair like a well-oiled machine to the east coast to train and compete under the guidance of Buck Davidson, trainer of Olympians and the world’s most accomplished riders, starting next week. Training alongside Buck’s father Bruce Davidson, a two-time silver (1972, 1996) and two-time gold (1976, 1984) medals at the Olympics, a two-time World Champion (the only equestrian to be a back-to-back winner), bronze medal winner at the 1990 World Equestrian Games, has won the Rolex Kentucky Three Day a record six times and is one of only two Americans to have won the Badminton Horse Trials. Under Buck’s leadership, Loiacono’s winning is expected to rise to a new level in 2007. “I am very fortunate to have this unique opportunity in 2007,” she said.
In 2006, Loiacono was coached by Hawley Bennett, a Canadian Olympian from the 2004 team that competes, trains and coaches out of Kingsway Farms across from Galway Downs in Temecula. “Olivia is the type of person who can make anything happen,” said Bennett. “It really doesn’t matter how big a goal it is because she’s got the right attitude.”
Loiacono worked for Bennett for the last year to pay for her lessons and horse board. “She is one of the hardest workers I have ever met,” Bennett said. “You never have to repeat yourself when you ask her to do something; she just does it.”
“I love the challenges that lie ahead, and to be recognized by the USEA in 2006 is a great honor,” Loiacono said. “Now it’s off to bigger and better events, and looking for sponsors to help me get achieve the highest levels in the sport!”