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Mikhail Proctor’s Work Pays Off with a Win at the Vaulting National Championships

Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Posted by US Equestrian Communications Department/Jump Media
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The US Equestrian (USEF)/American Vaulting Association (AVA) Vaulting National Championships were held on August 7-11, 2019, at The National Equestrian Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Dusti Hausman captured the Female Gold Individual championship, while Mikhail Proctor claimed the Male Gold Individual championship.

In the Male Gold division, Mikhail Proctor (Lexington, Ky.) claimed the win. He scored 6.263 in the compulsory, 6.315 in freestyle 1, and 6.610 in freestyle 2 for an overall score of 6.396 and the title. It was Proctor’s first appearance at Nationals at the Gold level.

Photo: Mikhail Proctor (Alex Thomas)

“This has been a time of transition and re-setting of goals for me, so this was a stepping-stone in that direction. I’ve been focusing a little bit more on myself and doing more training on my own, and it’s paying off,” said Proctor, 30.

Proctor coaches the Fleur de Lis Vaulters out of Lexington, Ky., and trains on his own, without a regular coach. “I’m pretty much a self-trained equestrian,” he said. “I have come up the levels just working hard, a lot of it just through sheer willpower. That’s how my whole equestrian life has been—training my horse myself and doing everything myself.”

Proctor was competing in show jumping and training other riders in that discipline when the facility where he worked started a vaulting program in 2012, and he got hooked. “I did a clinic with Devon Maitozo, and I realized that if I was going to do it, I needed to really do it,” he said. “So I decided to start training. I was a former gymnast, so I had a good, solid base of knowledge for vaulting. A lot of it came naturally to me.”

He owns the horse he won on, Goliath, a 13-year-old American Warmblood gelding. “I’ve done all his training myself. He’s a rescue horse from the Kentucky Equine Humane Center. He was one of my project horses while I was an intern there and I ended up adopting him in 2011,” Proctor said.

“He was just my fun horse. I’d taught him the basics of riding, and then we tried vaulting one day and he decided that’s what he wanted to do, so we just kept training from there,” said Proctor.

Proctor works as an equine anesthesiologist. “I spend my days in equine surgeries, and after work, I go see my horse,” he said. “We do some conditioning training, I have a friend who lunges for me if I’m going to be vaulting, and on Saturdays, I trailer him to another facility where my students come and train.”

The family atmosphere at Nationals is something Proctor treasures, and he appreciates all the vaulting clubs that helped him learn. So, when the Mile-High/Pacific Coast team weren’t able to ship their horses to Nationals because their horses were under quarantine during a Vesicular Stomatitis outbreak in Colorado, he offered for them to use Goliath for their A Team competition and longed him for them.

“My horse had trained with teams before, but he’d never done an A Team, so that was a good milestone for him, being able to carry that. I was very proud of him,” Proctor said. “I like that aspect of vaulting, that everyone’s so gracious about helping each other out.”

For more information on the USEF/AVA National Championships, visit americanvaulting.org.

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