Aiming for the National Championships and the U.S. Equestrian Team
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
By the time she was 21, Mary-Haskins Gurganus had already represented the U.S. twice as a Young Rider, competing successfully in Canada and Germany. Her goals now are to represent the U.S. again and she is aiming for the top – Olympic Games, World Cup, World Equestrian Games, and Pan American Games.
“I feel riding is my God-given talent, my gift. I click really well with horses,” she says. “My goals are clear and I have the talent to get the job done. I want to represent the United States on any team, at any point, on anyone’s horse, at any venue. That’s what I’d love to do.”
Her immediate focus is making her current mounts, the Hanoverian stallions Richmond HL and Wilmington HL, into horses for the future. “I’ve got two super quality horses that are young. I’m putting in good time and training with a good coach and in the end I’ll have a good product. I just have to wait,” she says.
Richmond HL (Rotspon x MS Davinia) is a five-year-old, 16.3, black American Hanoverian stallion, bred and born in Chapel Hill. “I call him my super model. He’s gorgeous,” Mary-Haskins says. “He is the sweetest and most loving thing – if he were a dog he’d be in your lap. He is very kind and loving and smart as a whip. I put my son on him. He’s so sweet and so trustworthy and consistent. He’s the most straightforward horse I’ve ever dealt with and freakishly talented.”
Wilmington HL (Waikiki x Finess) is an eight-year-old, 16.2, bay Hanoverian stallion imported from Germany. “He is super cool but a bit different from Richmond,” Mary-Haskins notes. “He’s not straightforward and he’s always throwing me a curve ball, but I love that about him. I’ve had to develop a strong relationship with him and now he trusts me. He’s going to be an amazing superstar. He’s a show off. He’s just brilliant in the show ring.”
Mary-Haskins is looking for two horses to add to her stable that have the qualities to develop into team horses. She is also seeking additional sponsorship and partnership opportunities. “I want to continue my education in dressage and make a positive contribution to the sport,” she relates. “I plan to give back by helping those young up-and-comers following in my footsteps. I’ve been lucky enough to have some people step up and help me the past couple of years. My parents have always helped me and I’ve had some really nice sponsors help me with horses.”