Wellington FL (April 1, 2013) – For passionate equestrians, the words “transition” and “balance” carry very special and important meanings. These two words are often heard throughout riding careers, over and over again during lessons, training and even casual conversations about horses. After much repetition, practice and focus on these words, many riders are able to get their horse to easily transition into different gaits while remaining in complete balance while doing so. However, with so much focus on the horse, very few riders ever think about the importance of applying these same concepts to their own, personal journeys through life. John McGinty is one of those few people who have. As a highly successful hunter-jumper trainer and FEI judge who has transitioned to an FEI level amateur dressage competitor and who has also balanced his professional role as a senior financial planner, McGinty provides a wonderful example and inspiration to show how by following one’s passion, it can lead to easy transitions and balance in life.
John McGinty won his Adult Amateur Prix St. George class at the WEF Dressage Classic CDI-3*, where his score of 65.132% brought him the win and found out that dressage is just one passion of multifaceted man. “I love life!” McGinty smiles, “I’m an avid runner, and I like to swim, especially in the ocean. I’m a big ocean guy, and a beach guy,” he adds. McGinty is truly a unique individual. Throughout the past 40 years of being fully immersed in the competitive horse world, he has also successfully pursued other passions that many people only dream of including on their bucket lists one day. He is a long distance runner, currently building up for the Broadstreet Run in Philadelphia, which is one of the largest 10 mile runs in the country. He is also a dancer. “I do a lot of different types of dance,” McGinty describes. “I do a little bit of ballroom, and I did a lot of teaching of country and western, square dancing and round dancing. And I just love disco dancing.” McGinty also discloses that he is a bass-baritone singer who is quick to sing the National Anthem for anyone who’d like to hear it. As for the horses, McGinty is most well known in equestrian circles for his success in training regional and national champion jumpers such as Harvard Yard, Hampton Court and the pony, Farnley High Road throughout the 70’s. Today, he is still involved in the hunter-jumper circuit as an FEI judge for jumpers, hunter equitation and hunter breeder divisions. In addition to this, McGinty is quickly moving up the dressage levels of competition as a rider in the FEI Amateur Division by working with trainer, Dr. Cesar Parra as a member of his Piaffe Performance Team. “I’ve learned a lot about horses from judging and a lot about riding,” he explains about making the transition from the hunter-jumper world, “but dressage is for my pleasure and my learning. I’m not going to pursue judging with dressage.”
This season, McGinty’s goals in dressage include moving up from the Prix St Georges level and into the Intermediare 1 with the help of Dr. Cesar Parra of Piaffe Performance. Riding the 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Playboy by Jet Set D, McGinty is currently working on a very nice freestyle, which will give McGinty an opportunity to “dance“ with a four-legged partner. Parra is impressed by McGinty’s personal dedication to pursuing dressage, and his ability to balance it so well into his very full life. So much so, in fact that he was inspired to create the Piaffe Performance Adult Amateur High Performance Award to be given to other riders who display the same level of devotion. Designed to recognize exceptional performances by adult amateurs, this award is given out at each CDI of during the 2013 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. “Adult amateurs are the backbone of our sport,” comments Parra. “My team is made up of a number of young riders and adult amateurs, and their dedication to the sport and their horses is undeniable. I am proud to be able to recognize adult amateurs and their achievements in this way.”
McGinty hopes to also inspire and encourage other adults in their passionate pursuit of equestrian sport, and he certainly knows many people who would like to do so. In his professional role as a Senior Financial Advisor for AXA Equitable for 30 years, McGinty has observed that approximately 65% of his clients are equestrians. In fact, since most of his clients now live in the Wellington area, he has opened offices in Florida in addition to his original office in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and commutes between the two in order to best serve all of them. “I understand what it is to be both a horseman and a professional,” McGinty explains, “and I also understand market conditions.” This balance and understanding has proven to be an important asset to McGinty’s business, because he can speak the language of most of his clients, regardless of their level of wealth, to help them better understand their money. “There’s a big misconception about financial planning,” he describes, “Most people think they have to have a lot of money to talk to a financial advisor, and that’s not true. The most important thing is the attitude of the client. Just like in riding, if the attitude of the client is of one who wants to listen and get ahead, then we will work with them. We will work for people who have ten thousand dollars, and we will work for people who have millions of dollars.” He continues, “When working with horse people, I always say take some of your money and put it into horses because you know the business, but, also have a fund that is growing elsewhere,” and then he adds, “Balance the portfolio!”
Balance and transition certainly have been two important words for John McGinty. From successfully transitioning into dressage while balancing professional and personal passions, he truly stands as an inspiring example of how to learn to live a better life by simply applying a little horsepower.