Wellington, FL – She's been called the 'fashionista' of the dressage ring and eq-forum boards lit up with stylish approval when Mary-Cameron Rollins sported a medium dark grey shadbelly with pale pink accents while riding her elegant black mare Rose Noir 2 to third place in last year's Brentina Cup. But great style isn't just a hobby, it's her signature as she prepares to graduate in June from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a degree in Retail Management and Merchandising. No less than longtime New Jersey equestrian beat reporter, Nancy Jaffer, also mentioned her stand-out style at the 2012 Dressage Festival of Champions: “Mary was wearing a stunning pinstriped gray shadbelly with pink collar and vest points, to match her post-ride pink baseball cap with ShowChic written in rhinestones. ShowChic is where she got the outfit, and Mary isn’t alone in stylish turnout as dressage goes beyond black and a little bling on spurs. Colors have become a big deal. Having ShowChic as a mentor has been great preparation for gaining experience towards my career. I had a blast on the buying trips,” Rollins confesses with a shopinista's grin.
“I had a lot of fun developing different looks for the shadbelly. I would love to design a riding or a haute couture line.” For a student of retail and merchandising, no better creative inspiration could be found than Michele Hundt and ShowChic Dressage, and their unique, casually catered evening get-togethers, Shop Talk, where dressage enthusiasts socialize and shop.
Given the buzz that one shadbelly has earned her, Rollins is on her way towards redefining chic in either market, and that same sensitivity to nuance and direction that has built her fashion sense also reflects her maturing skill as a rider since taking the Individual Gold and being on the Bronze medal winning team at the 2009 North American Young Riders Championships.
“Rosi,” referring to her 2009 partner, Rose Noir 2, “is back to work. Will we be ready for the Brentina Cup? We'll have to wait and see, but meanwhile it's been great seeing so many Young Rider friends I grew up with, or hadn't seen since Kentucky. That's been really nice.”
What's also been nice has been solid scores with her Dutch Warmblood, Abracadabra. At April's Welcome Back to White Fences IV, they knocked on the door of 70% at Fourth Level, and kept consistently in the sixties for the Prix St. Georges. “He's a talented and sweet horse. The goal is to get him to relax. If we can channel tension into brilliance, we're golden. He has such a 'want' to do well. I'm lucky to be riding an over-achiever!” Rollins imported Abracadabra as a 4-year-old, and has trained him to the Prix St. Georges. “It has been a challenging and rewarding path with Abracadabra,” says Rollins.
Rollins has a lot to be excited about, including what the future holds for a coming-four year-old Painted Black-bred she is starting: “He's a neat, fun little horse and so bright. He understands things quickly and has the best brain I have ever worked with. His show name means good news.” At the rate Rollins is going, good news is destined to be a-plenty.
Rollins moved to Wellington in 2009, with the dream of opening a training facility. Although her passion is competing, she also enjoys teaching juniors and young riders, getting her own first taste of FEI at age 13 when she rode her first Prix St. George. Since then, many things have changed but her love of the sport has continued to grow as she sets her sights on competing at the Open Grand Prix level, and ultimately, the Olympics.