John McGinty recognized the opportunity created by the collaborative effort of the Eastern States Dressage and Combined Training (ESDCTA) 2013 CDI*/*** Memorial Day Dressage Show and Centerline Events CDI Saugerties August 15-18, to expand competitive options for FEI level Adult Amateur riders by encouraging their participation in CDI’s at the 1* level. While he was the only entry in the Adult Amateur Sweepstakes, McGinty and his mount, Playboy, a 16 year old Dutch Warmblood (by Jet Set D, out of Kalusja, by Rex Magna) McGinty is very supportive of this program, and could be considered a pioneer for the program. McGinty has been a tireless advocate for Adult Amateur dressage and hopes to see Adult Amateurs get their own division on the international level. He maintains, "We are the backbone of the sport...and we're given the least recognition of any group...I want amateurs to not think they can't do it...We need them in the sport and we need them in the show ring. " One could say McGinty lives life to the fullest. He's not just a man of many interests but is quite accomplished in several of them as well. His pursuits include long distance running, dancing, singing, and acting. A typical day for him begins with walking his dogs, then driving to the barn to ride one or two horses. By mid-day he's at work (as a senior financial advisor). Evenings after work include either one hour of running or at times, musical or acting rehearsals.
He rides six days per week. Asked if he sees a connection between his myriad activities, his answer reveals that McGinty has not abandoned his early professional roots as an educator with a love of learning. "I look at all these endeavors as a form of teaching... Even performance (whether acting on stage or competing at a horse show) is a form of exhibition, of demonstrating the joy of the pursuit." When questioned about why he competes at horse shows, he replies that it's for the same reason why he runs in races--the competition provides an external assessment to measure success and frames his training goals.
McGinty grew up in a family of ten children in the Philadelphia area. At a young age he learned the value of hard work as he would clean stalls in the city park's stables to earn the privilege of a ride. By his teens, he rode hunter jumpers in the Bucks County area. After college McGinty went into the field of education, teaching English and Theology.
While attending grad school to re-career into the field of finance, he was able to continue riding as well as to give lessons and train horses. Throughout the 1970s he enjoyed much success training regional and national champion jumpers. Early into his second career, while concentrating on developing himself professionally, he left riding, but never left horses. For about twenty years, while working and building up his own finances he also found the time to judge horse shows. (Today, McGinty remains involved as an FEI judge for jumpers, hunter equitation, and hunter breeding divisions.)
About ten years ago, McGinty got back into riding and pursued dressage. Rising through the levels, he's now an FEI level amateur competitor with a long list of wins and achievements. He has been training with Dr. Cesar Parra for the last three years and enjoyed much success in Wellington earlier this year.
In addition to participating in the Eastern States Dressage and Combined Training (ESDCTA) 2013 CDI*/*** Memorial Day Dressage Show, McGinty enjoys this particular show for many reasons. He considers it a great time to reconnect with friends up north after returning from Florida, and the exhibitor parties provide ample opportunity to socialize. He cites the show's organizers and volunteers as the secret to the event's success. This year he has another reason to enjoy the event: He's very excited about the new Adult Amateur Sweepstakes and will be competing in it.
McGinty's accomplishments provide inspiration to other riders on their own roads to success.
"The goal is to learn," he says, "and winning is the complement. If all we care about is the win, we're missing the lesson. The lesson is in the journey." That outlook is a valuable lesson in itself.