Known for her success in developing dressage horses and riders, Mary Howard is a Gold Medalist at the Pan-American Games, competed successfully in numerous international competitions in Europe and the USA, and was short-listed for the United States Olympic dressage team. She has trained several horses – from off-track Thoroughbreds to Warmbloods – to national championships through the FEI levels including Grand Prix. Her students have competed successfully at all levels including Grand Prix as well, and many have won their Bronze, Silver and Gold medals while working with her.
Mary has had a lifelong passion for horses and aspired from an early age to become a top dressage rider and trainer. In her late teens, she began a five-year internship/apprenticeship with famed coach and trainer Michael Poulin at the American School of Dressage in Maine. She then relocated to Kentucky and turned professional, embarking on a career that has taken her to success at the highest level of competition.
It was in the Bluegrass State that she met Danish Dancer, a young horse that would eventually establish her reputation on the international stage. She trained the then 5-year-old through Grand Prix. Aboard Danish Dancer, she won Gold at the Pan-Am Games, competed successfully in Europe, was the leading American rider at the 1986 World Championships, and was subsequently short-listed for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. For several months. Mary lived in Europe and trained with legendary German trainer Herbert Rehbein.
Danish Dancer was named USDF Horse of the Year at Prix St. Georges and Intermediare-1, but he was not her only trainee to win these honors. She also trained the Thoroughbred Andante to win USDF Horse of the Year at PSG and Intermediare-1 in 1986, making her the rider and trainer of two horses to win these honors in consecutive years.
Mary’s next international star was Ultralite, who she purchased as a young horse and trained up the levels to Grand Prix. The pair competed in Europe and the United States, with Ultralite making his debut at Prix St. Georges at age 7, finishing in third place (out of 50 rides) in each of three CDIs in Europe, and tying with the famed Olympic Gold Medalist and World Champion rider Christine Stückelberger. In 1993, Ultralite was named Champion USDF All-Breeds at Grand Prix for the Oldenburg registry.
Mary has continued to bring along many horses to win national titles over the years and has also coached several riders to win honors through FEI levels. Following in her footsteps, a number of these riders have also turned professional and enjoy successful careers of their own.
In 2007, after more than two decades of running stables from all over New England to Kentucky, and living and training abroad in Europe, Mary made the decision to settle down in one spot and build her dream training barn. That place is Five Stars Farm, where she has a barn full of wonderful horses and people that inspire her to go to work every day, and be the best trainer that she can be.