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Going for Gold: Bucks County Eventer Heading to Paris Olympics

HSH Blake 2024 Carolina International CCI4S Show Jumping PC USEA 1

Caroline Pamukcu of Riegelsville began honing in on her sport when she was 16 years old. And now, after years of immense dedication, she’s about to fulfill her life-long dream.

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She's The One 2024 Carolina International CCI4S Show Jumping

Riegelsville’s Caroline Pamukcu and her horse, HSH Blake, will compete on a world stage in late July at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Credit: USEA

Caroline Pamukcu began honing in on her sport when she was 16 years old. And now, after years of immense dedication, she’s about to fulfill her life-long dream.

An upper Bucks County resident, Pamukcu punched her ticket to Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympics to compete in Equestrian Eventing, which will begin in July.

Having grown up on a small farm in the Riegelsville area, she started riding horses with her mother when she was seven.

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Caroline Pamukcu, 29, is looking forward to the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, where she and her equine partner, HSH Blake, will compete in eventing. Credit: USEF

“She took me to the barn every day. I started riding, and I was hooked,” Pamukcu said. “I was always very athletic. I did swimming and snowboarding competitively, but riding is what I really excelled at, and my heart was drawn to that.”

So, what is Eventing?

“It’s like a triathlon for horses. There are three phases in one competition,” she explained. “It’s grueling, but it’s fun. It asks a lot of you and the horse, and it’s a very rewarding sport. The most challenging thing is to make sure that you are consistent in all three phases, and you don’t peak in just one. It’s not over until it’s over.”

The Eventing competition is quite unique – Pamukcu will be one of just three team members representing the United States, and both men and women compete against each other.

“I’ll be one of the youngest riders at the Olympics at 29,” she said. “It’s one of those sports like golf, where you kind of get better with age. There are some people in the Olympics who are competing at 60 and 70 years old. The longevity is so long in our sport.”

Pamukcu, who attended Moravian Academy, has a special bond with her horse, HSH Blake.

“I’ve pretty much spent every single day with him,” she said. “We know each other inside and out. Our sport requires a lot of trust, because we ask them to go into these venues with a lot of atmosphere, and we ask them to do crazy jumps over water and into ditches, so we have a unique bond. We trust each other with our lives.”

Caroline and her nine-year old horse have been together for four years, and Pamukcu has had seven international victories with HSH Blake. Perhaps the duo’s biggest international accomplishment to date was at the 2023 Pan American Games in Chile, where they took home individual gold and silver medals.

“After I won that, I wouldn’t say it was eye-opening, but I knew the Olympics were a bit closer of a shot,” Pamukcu said.

Since then, she and her team “have really buckled down and hit every single mandatory outing that we need to in order to qualify for the Olympics,” she added. “We were quite happy to know that we did enough to make it.”

HSH Blake and Pamukcu have quite literally been all over the world together. Pamukcu said that she’s spent the better part of the last six weeks competing in Nations Cup competitions in Ireland and England, and has competed in 15 different countries.

And yes, HSH Blake will be flying to France, too. Pamukcu said he’s a great traveler, and he’ll be flying out of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York via their state-of-the-art ARK facility.

Pamukcu has already competed under some of the brightest of lights on the biggest stages for equestrian eventing, and her approach at the Olympics won’t be different from any other competition.

“I’m lucky that I’ve had a lot of practice, probably more than most people in the country,” she said. “It just feels like another day at the office… I like staying busy, so I’ll keep competing with my other horses to stay tuned up.”

If it seems like it takes a village to have success in the equestrian competition world, that’s because it does. Pamukcu said there are “probably 100 people” who have helped her and HSH Blake reach the pinnacle of competition for their sport.

“I’m incredibly grateful for my family, my support team, my husband, my trainers and the people that help look after the horses with me–and my federation for funding me and allowing me this opportunity,” she said. “A lot of people don’t understand everything that goes into it, and it’s a lot.”

Pamukcu will begin competition at the Paris Olympics on July 26, where the eventing competition will wrap up on the 29th.

Check out and follow the Caroline M. Pamukcu Eventing Facebook page for more information and updates.

HSH Blake 2024 Carolina International CCI4S Show Jumping PC USEA 1

Upper Bucks County native Caroline Pamukcu and her horse, HSH Blake, will compete in equestrian eventing at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics in late July. Credit: USEA


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Justin Carlucci

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