Washington International Horse Show A Chat with WIHS’ Executive Director Mary Helen Shaughnessy

by Katherine O. Rizzo Mary Helen Shaughnessy of Baltimore has

been working behind the scenes at the Wash- ington International Horse Show since 2015 when she was the show’s sponsorship coordi- nator. One thing led to another and her role with the show continued to grow. Shaughnessy is now WIHS’ newest executive director! T e Equiery had a chance to chat with Shaughnessy to fi nd out more about her WIHS roots and get a sneak peak at this year’s show.

Q: How did you fi rst be- come interested in horse- back riding?

A: I started riding at a summer camp in Hilton Head,

South Carolina,

when I was around 12 years old and fell in love with a little paint school


that we bought and took home to Baltimore. It was very causal and fun and I don’t think either my par- ents or myself ever imag- ined that the fun summer hobby would turn into a year-round schedule of showing around the world.

Q: Did you ever dream of competing at WIHS yourself?

A: I remember WIHS at the Capital Centre, which was just a quick drive from our home in Baltimore. I loved watching the riders compete and absolutely dreamed I could one day be in the ring showing against them.

Q: You competed at WIHS in 2001 and 2002. How would you describe the experience to others?

Washington International Horse Show’s new Executive Director Mary Helen Shaughnessy

Q: Did you compete in both show hunters and jumpers?

A: I rode primarily jumpers with my fi rst “A” show experience being at WEF in the Chil- dren’s Jumpers when I was 15. I always had better success in the jumper ring, working over time to be successful in the Amateur Owner Jumpers. I had some great hunters but to be honest, I was never much of a hunter rider! My mentality is defi nitely better suited for the jumper ring.

Q: Did anyone else in your family ride?

A: My mother rode causally as a child and then took it up more seriously when I started to show competitively. She was an excellent hunt- er rider, twice being circuit champion at WEF in the Low Adult Amateur Hunters.

Q: When was your fi rst WIHS experience?

A: I have memories of attending WIHS as a little kid as it was one of my mother’s favor- ite activities and it was absolutely a place that I fell in love with horses and where dreams of showing on a major level fi rst were planted. My | 800-244-9580

A: Competing at WIHS was absolutely a goal of mine and the experience is memorable for me, but not necessarily how you might think. I have the distinction of having fallen off both times I showed at WIHS, once in the Children’s Jumpers and once in the Junior Hunt- ers. Despite that, I have very fond memories of the show! I qualifi ed for the Children’s Finals at the Regional Show, which was a great opportunity for someone like myself who lived locally and remains a very unique element of the show. In

my memory, all the elements that make WIHS challenging… the late night schooling, the busy downtown stabling, the challenging courses… those are the things that I smile about the most when recalling my time showing there.

Q: How did you fi rst become involved with the “behind the scenes” side of WIHS?

A: As I transitioned out of riding competi- tively, I realized that I still loved the sport and the equestrian world, so I wanted to fi nd a way to keep one foot in the door as they say. I had been living in New York for 12 years and my husband and I decided we wanted a change and began looking at jobs that could bring us back to my hometown of Baltimore. I saw the role of Sponsorship Coordinator at WIHS and in 2015 I took that job and began my chapter at WIHS where I truly loved seeing one of my favorite shows from the inside out. From there, I moved into Sponsorship and Hospitality Di- rector, then Development Director, and was very excited to be off ered the rode of Executive Director this year.

continued... OCTOBER 2019 | THE EQUIERY | 17

Barrel racing is back at WIHS this year as part of Friday’s Military Night!

Saturday, October 26 WIHS Kids’ Day, Pony Hunters, Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals (Jumper Phase & Work-Off), WIHS Shetland Pony Steeplechase, Longines FEI President’s Cup

Sunday, October 27 WIHS Pony Equitation Finals, WIHS Regional Pony Hunter Finals, WIHS Regional Hunter Finals

mother grew up in Washington, DC, and had a tradition of attending WIHS every year around her birthday, starting with the very fi rst WIHS at the DC Armory in 1958.

61st Washington International

Horse Show presented by MARS Equestrian

October 22-27, 2019 Capital One Arena, Washington, DC

Tuesday, October 22 WIHS Children’s Hunter Champion- ship, Hunt Night, WIHS Adult Hunt- er Championships

Wednesday, October 23 Breakfast with the Mounted Police, WIHS Children’s Jumper Cham- pionship, WIHS Adult


Jumper Championship Thursday, October 24

Junior Hunters and Jumpers, Barn Night, WIHS Shetland Pony Steeple- chase, Costume Jumper Class

Friday, October 25 Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund WIHS Equitation Finals (Hunter Phase), Land Rover International Jumper Puissance, Army v. Navy Barrels

Jump Media

Shawn McMillen

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68