WWU alumni named Young Professionals of the Year

By Erin Crooks ’12

William Woods University alumni Mary
Marcum Orr and Evan Orr recently received the Young Professionals of the Year
Award from the United Professional Horsemen’s Association.

The Orrs own and operate High Caliber Stables in Kernersville,
N.C. They specialize in serious
training for seasoned riders looking to show, but also offer instruction to
beginner saddle seat riders.
 
“It’s an incredible honor
for Evan and me to be named Young Professionals of the Year,” Mary Orr
said.  “It’s an indication that we’re
headed in the right
direction within the industry and even though we accepted this award, I feel like it reflects
on our barn and our staff.” 
 
The Young Professionals Committee was
established to provide a professional organization for horsemen and women ages
35 and under. The committee is
dedicated to promoting the equine industry and supporting the efforts of the
UPHA.
 
Each year, a
member in good standing is
chosen to receive the Young Professionals of the Year Award. The winners of
this award exemplify the objectives and initiatives of the UPHA and show
dedication to their
profession.  The Orrs received their award at
the UPHA’s national convention Jan
7.
 
Both young trainers graduated from William Woods University in 2001with
bachelors degrees in equestrian
science. Evan Orr was the first male student accepted at William Woods
University and was also a founding father of the
Phi Gamma Delta fraternity on WWU’s campus.
 
Mary Orr earned her Master of
Education degree at Columbia College in 2003, and did
much of her graduate work
with Laura Ward, assistant professor of
equestrian studies at WWU.

“We feel that a lot of
our success is due to our education at William Woods University,” said Mary
Orr. “I don’t think we’d be where we are today without Gayle Lampe and Laura
Ward, who have been a
huge part of our lives.”
 
“I am so proud of Mary and Evan that their peers
within the UPHA chose them for this award,” said Gayle Lampe, professor emeritus of
equestrian science. It’s no surprise to me either because of all
the students I’ve trained, these two have always had the enthusiasm and work
ethic to make it in the
industry.”
 
Originally from California, Mary
Orr came to WWU as a western rider. As her adviser, Lampe
introduced her to saddle
seat “because I knew
she had the enthusiasm to really love it.”
 
The Orrs have kept close ties with William Woods since their
graduation. They have returned both separately and together to host clinics for
WWU students and horses, and Mary Orr spoke at WWU’s EQS Academic Showcase in 2010.
 
“I rode with Mary and Evan at William Woods when they
returned to give a clinic and it is very clear that they both
have a deep understanding of how horses think and how to get them to give you their best,”
said Maria Nozzi, a 2011 WWU graduate.
 
Erika Campbell, a senior studio
art major at WWU,
agreed, “Mary and Evan Orr are some of the nicest, most well-rounded
instructors I’ve ridden with. They are able to clearly take in the horse’s
build and the rider’s abilities so that they know
exactly what the pair is capable of.”
 
In the past year
the Orrs welcomed two William Woods University graduates to their staff at
High Caliber Stables.
Lauren Blue, a 1996 graduate, is now
a riding instructor. Morgan Shindler Baumhoer, who graduated
from WWU in December 2010
with a bachelor’s degree in equestrian
science, is Mary and Evan’s assistant
trainer.
 
“Morgan told us at age 10 that she would work for
us some day, and she did! She is so special to us, and one day I hope to see her win the same
award,” said Mary Orr.
 
“When I was in middle school, I was
very fortunate to be able to work with Mary one summer at
William Woods,” Baumhoer explained. “I knew right away that it was a
dream of mine to work with Mary someday. I not only looked up to her as a
wonderful role model, but as an amazing
teacher.”  
 
Together the Orrs have trained several World Champion horses
and riders, including two- time World Grand Champion and Triple Crown winner,
WGC CH Our Charming Lady.
 
“When Our Charming Lady and I won
our second 3-Gaited World Grand Championship, it was 10 years to the day that I had
helped Kim Cowart, another WWU graduate and my
then- employer, to win the same championship,” said Mary Orr.
 
They received another award in 2010 when the
Saddlebred