Born in Ireland on a small farm, Tom O’Carroll doesn’t remember life without horses, and starting in his teens, he was being called upon to solve other people’s equine problems. Tom quickly gained a reputation as having an almost uncanny ability to handle horses that others had written off as impossible. (Today he would be called a “horse whisperer.”)
In 1960, Tom moved to the U.S., where he rapidly earned well-deserved recognition driving everything from singles to six-horse hitches. He has been featured in many magazines and on numerous TV programs, as well as consulted on several movies. One of his more famous hitches was a six-pony team called the Rusty “O” Pony Hitch.
Tom even drove a mule team and wagon at the first Combined Driving Event (CDE) in Texas at the Great Foggy Bottom Ranch. At the start of the event, he was told he was welcome to drive, but he would be unable to negotiate the tight hazards with his wagon and team. Tom never missed a gate, until the last hazard, when he forgot one! This performance got him a lovely write-up in the “Carriage Journal.”* Since that time Tom has introduced combined driving to many, many Texas competitors.
Having trained hundreds of horses of virtually every breed, Tom regularly travels over much of the U.S. teaching novice to advanced drivers, including several that have been short-listed for advanced United States Equestrian Team competitions. He is currently training for one of three U.S. pair drivers competing at the combined driving World level.
*The “Carriage Journal” is published by The Carriage Association of America, and is considered the premier publication of the coaching and carriage preservation fraternity.