Director, Phillip Lanier
Phillip grew up in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. His experience with horses began when he was 7 years old, riding anything he could and participating in local shows in close proximity to Rocky Mount.
Phillips first horse was named “Mud Puddles”, who was a bit of a challenge. He was given that name by riders who often landed in “mud puddles” while trying to ride him. Lucky for “Puddles”, Phillip was the only kid who could handle him well enough to jump a course. In high school, he showed “Class”, a horse he trailered to shows in Southern Pines, Raleigh, Richmond and Sedgefield. “Class” lived up to his name by placing “in the ribbons” at the shows including highly rated ones.
In order to pay his tuition at Elon College, Phillip had to sell “Class”. Becoming a member of the Elon Riding Club Team, Phillip rode under Ms. Kim Nardelli who bred, raised, and showed Hanoverians and Welsh ponies. Subsequently Phillip became an instructor and was in charge of horse showing with the students and working with Ms. Nardelli’s horses. Many of her horses had very successful “A” show careers. Ms. Nardelli currently runs a very successful breeding and race horse operation in Kentucky.
After college, Phillip began teaching in Charleston, South Carolina. He opened and managed the Cainhoy Stables operation which included 60 students and a 25-horse facility where they were competitive in all of the schooling and rated shows.
After 8 years, Phillip left Cainhoy to work with Bruce Duchossois, a well-known horseman and Hunter Judge, at H & D Stables in Aiken, South Carolina. Phillips main focus was to ride and train “baby green” Hunters and promote them by actively showing them on the show circuit. H & D Stables supplied two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Phillip Dutton, some of his horses.
Thereafter, Phillip joined Claremont Riding Academy on 86th Street in New York City where he was General Manager and Instructor. Claremont is the oldest riding academy in the United States. He was in charge of 50 school horses, instruction, and facility management as well as overseeing Park Trail rides. The “barn” is actually a building in New York City. Phillip says some stalls are in the basement, the ring is on the 1st floor and the 2nd floor has more stalls. He didn’t say if the horses took the elevator to each floor.
Two years later, Phillip was given the opportunity to be Program Director of Traditional Equitation School at L.A. Equestrian Center in Los Angeles, California. The L.A. Equestrian Center’s Traditional Equitation School has 50 lesson horses, each named after one of the 50 states in the US. Phillip taught, managed instructors, and recruited large programs for outside interest such as Parks & Recreation as well as supplying horses for photo needs throughout the area.
Following his time in LA, Phillip returned to the East Coast and became Barn Manager/Instructor/Trainer at Wellington Show Stables, a well-known Hunter show barn with 70 horses in Wellington, Florida. There he was responsible for training, instruction, schooling rides, and barn management.
Upon returning to his home town of Rocky Mount he became a technician and then a manager with Riverside Veterinary Hospital. Phillip’s hobby is obedience dog training when not around the horses.
His desire to get back to the horse world brought Phillip to MacNairs Country Acres.
Trainer/Instructor, Mary Pope Furr
Mary Pope grew up showing pony hunters at A-rated shows in Virginia and Maryland. She took a break from horses to earn her B.S. from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. She also has an M.A. in Architecture from the University of Virginia. Mary Pope began working for Shelby French and Peggy McElveen during the summer, teaching horseback riding in 1989 at Camp Seafarer, advancing to Director in 1992. She began teaching at MacNair’s in 1996 on a part-time basis, and continues to teach both group and private lessons. She has a level 3 ANRC rider rating and competes in hunter and combined training shows on her horse, Daniel. Mary Pope is also the supervisor for historical architectural and landscape studies for the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
In the words of one of her lessoners, “GREAT teacher! Gives useful instructions for now and the future!”
Trainer/Instructor, Mattie Johnson
Mattie’s career at MacNair’s started in 1993 as a beginner rider. Her desire to ride and learn more led her to become a working student, which included barn work and riding the horses being trained to fit into the Riding School programs. She also began assisting with group lessons and then completed the MacNair’s Instructor Course. Now, as an instructor at the Riding School, Mattie heads Saddle Up, Earn Your Stirrups and the NCSU P.E. programs. She specializes in Beginner/Elementary riders of all ages where her experience and empathy come into play. She gives her students a solid foundation as safe, secure horsemen.
In the words of one of her lessoners, “Mattie is a wonderful instructor and shows sincere interest and dedication. We adore Mattie.”
Trainer/Instructor, Laura Pendleton
Laura began her riding career at the age of 7 in the hunt seat tradition. Several years later, her family was transferred to Mississippi, where there were no English saddles in the area. Laura began competing in barrel racing and pole bending events on her Standardbred who had raced as a trotter and never cantered before she owned him. Overcoming these obstacles, Laura won classes over seasoned locals on prized Quaterhorses. Laura taught her mounts to jump, swim, race, rear on command, pull sleighs, and march calmly in parades. As an adult, Laura began riding at MacNairs in 1987 and developed an intense interest in dressage. She has won several NCDCTA year end awards from Training Level thorough Intermediare riding 6 different horses. She has placed in the USDF Region 1 Finals several years at different levels and has been awarded numerous high score awards at USEF and USDF recognized shows through the levels. Laura has acquired her bronze and silver medals with USDF and is currently competing her horse, Vico, at Prix St. Georges.
Trainer/Instructor, Kara Wilcox
Kara started riding at MacNairs at the age of 5, and was eager to ride as much as her parents would allow. She took regular lessons and entered her first schooling show when she was 8 years old. She soon graduated to “C” shows and EHA Shows. Over the years Kara moved up through the divisions to show in Children’s at Annual and various “A” shows later in high school. In addition to riding, Kara continued her general education of horse care and management in the MacNair’s 4H club, spending time as the Vice President and President over the years. She continued her show career in college on the NC State IHSA team, where she was placed into intermediate for flat and fences, then moved up to open, where she won regionals and placed 5th at zones. She was captain of the NC State IHSA team for 2 years. Outside of the IHSA team, she spent time volunteering at the NC State Equine Educational Unit, where she enjoyed working with the young horses. Kara is returning to MacNair’s as a riding instructor, Assistant IEA Coach, and leader of the 4H club.