Trainer: David O’Connor
Length: 13:05 Minutes

A Good Life for Horses: Communication

Olympic equestrian David O’Connor discusses the communication and relationship between horses and humans. Despite being an interaction between two different species, horses are prey animals who are willing to have a partnership with a predator—humans. O’Connor explains how body language can be used to communicate with horses and the importance of patience and allowing horses the time to understand and choose the activities that we are asking them to do. By learning the language of horses before heading into the competition ring, the horse-human relationship can be an impactful experience for both individuals.

David O’Connor

Chief of Sport, US Equestrian

O’Connor, a decorated Olympian, is no stranger to US Equestrian. David represented the USA for 20 years as an athlete, where he earned individual gold and team bronze medals in Eventing at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics and a team silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.

O’Connor joined the USEF team in his current role in October 2022, where he is responsible for working with the Executive Team on the overall international and national sport support of the Strategic Plan, its initiatives including sport integrity, education, and equine and human safety and welfare. Additionally, he provides oversight of the international and national sport operations, ensuring that the Sport Department’s short-term and long-term strategic plans align with USEF’s priorities. He also focuses on strengthening relationships with stakeholder groups such as the USOPC, FEI and USEF's Recognized Affiliates.

David served as USEF President from 2004 to 2012, and he currently serves on the FEI Board of Directors. In 2021, he was presented with the USOPC’s General Douglas MacArthur Exemplary Service Award in recognition of his continued service and commitment to equestrian sports within the Olympic and Paralympic movements.

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