On the weekend of June 20th Mary and Rossignol-ISF competed in their first Open Grand Prix together and came home undefeated, qualified for the Grand Prix USDF Regionals, and completed Mary’s scores towards her USDF Gold Medal. Though these were great achievements for one weekend, the story behind this pair is what is most impressive.
He arrived from Iron Spring Farm a green four year old. “Rossi was and still isn’t the “point and shoot” kind of horse. I don’t think I have enough fingers to count the number of times we were eliminated at shows!” Though Rossignol was especially spirited, the pair had their downs but also many ups that gave them and those behind them faith.
Mary credits her mother, Joy Bahniuk, Lendon Gray, and Pam Goodrich for encouraging her with her mischievous mount and with this support and training the pair began to prove those who doubted them wrong. Mary and Rossi achieved multiple Regional Championship wins, Year End Titles, NAJYRC Medals, National recognition, and were awarded various grants from the Renee Isler Fund, the Willy Arts Grant, Dressage4Kids grants, and the Dressage Foundation. Such accolades and support only helped propel the pair more forward and into the FEI ring.
“Through the years I focused only on the present with Rossi. However, if someone had asked me if I thought he would be a Grand Prix horse I would have probably laughed! Very often I would look to my competitors and their schoolmasters and scratch my head.” While she had her doubts and was doubted by others with this particular horse, her hard work began to pay off. Long time supporter and friend, Renee Isler, vividly remembers seeing Mary and Rossi the first time at a young rider symposium, “I wasn’t sure how she would get this horse to young riders! I was always impressed by Mary as a person because of her determination, perseverance, and positive attitude.”
The spunky Dutch gelding continued with Mary and brought home a team bronze medal at NAJYRC in 2010 and moved forward into the freestyle individual competition. “Once we proved ourselves at NAJYRC I began to feel more confident in my horse. He seemed to be finally growing up by age ten!” Since their FEI young rider years Mary kept pushing and segued into the Under 25 Grand Prix.
Such a successful first outing at Grand Prix means a lot to Lauritsen. “For me this means the world. It may not be an Olympic medal but what it stands for is much more with this horse. Each USDF medal we attained through the years stood for hard work and determination with a less than perfect horse.” At 26 years young, Mary is proving she has what it takes to make horses from green and difficult to successful and happy FEI competitors.
Pam Goodrich was very influential at the beginning of their FEI young rider years. “From when I first saw Rossi and was wondering how to get him to behave and go around the arena, to going Grand Prix is a miracle!” says Pam. As for Mary, “I am thankful to have had this journey with Rossi through every single level year by year, learning together. Receiving our gold medal is just the icing on the cake.” Mary runs her training business, Millennium Dressage, half the year in Massachusetts and the other half in Wellington, FL.
To learn more about Mary and her training program, visit: www.millenniumdressage.com