By Kathryn Murphy
A bond that occurs between horse and rider is what Cynthia Keating values the most. Cynthia has based her life and career around her equestrian lifestyle, and appreciates that she made the majority of her dearest and long-lasting friends through the common bond of horses.
Her initial relationship with horses began at a very young age. Adamant that Cynthia work for her riding lessons and pay for her horses, her father was very instrumental in her work ethic. “It makes me appreciate all that I have,” said Cynthia. As a small child, her mother, who grew up learning to ride in New York’s Central Park, instilled her love of horses by taking Cynthia trail riding anytime she could.
Later, dressed in spurs and carrying a dressage whip, she was taught by one of the first Dutchmen who came to America, Captain Frederick Marsman at the Dana Hall Riding Center.
For 25 years, Cynthia has gone to Wellington, both showing and riding with available clinicians. She loves hunters, jumpers and foxhunting the best, but she has trained and shown in many disciplines. She not only loves the relationship that she has with her horse, but she loves the rush of endorphins that comes with the sport.
Having bought off-the-track Thoroughbreds and shown successfully against half-million-dollar horses, Cynthia doesn’t shy away from a challenge. However, when she lost her favorite horse to colic, she wanted to quit riding for good.
Thankfully, living in Aiken, South Carolina, she was surrounded by equestrians who understood what she was going through. Eventually, she bought her next horse, whom she appropriately named Blind Date, as she bought him online through Dreamhorse.com without trying him. “I always wanted a grey gelding!” she admits.
Cynthia grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts, but has traveled and lived all around the country. Her numerous accomplishments include running her own riding school and camps in New Hampshire; managing and training at Princess Anne Farms in Virginia Beach, Virginia; being secretary to the Pennsylvania Jumper Association, treasurer for the New Hampshire horse council, and co-committee chairperson for the New Hampshire Hunter Jumper Association (NHHJA) Medal Finals and Hunter Invitational horse show. She also earned her colors and led second flight as field master for the Wentworth Hunt Club. To top it all off, she has achieved a Level Two riding instructor certification with the American Riding Instructor’s Association. However, her accomplishments go much deeper on a personal level.
“I believe it’s important to give back,” said Cynthia, and she has done just that. She and her husband have given a home to many foster children, teaching them through the love of ponies and puppies. Whether it’s helping a foster child cope with meeting their father for the first time, or just helping them improve their grades from failing to all As, Cynthia reflects, “Using horses to heal people can be very therapeutic.” Although she now travels too much to have foster children, she’s on the Board of Advisers for a Christ Central Mission called God it Made Ranch in Cope, South Carolina.
Before becoming the National Account Manager for GGT Footing™, Cynthia worked for Sidelines for two and a half years, and she also worked for Phelps Media Group. Prior to dedicating her personal and career life to horse-related jobs, she spent 15 years in corporate America selling technology equipment to hospitals, lawyers and the U.S. Government.
Since working for GGT, the company has seen approximately 20–40 percent growth each year. Cynthia covers the East and West coasts and handles everything from advertising to press releases. GGT sponsors 13 Grand Prix in California alone through West Palm Event Management.
Cynthia’s goal is to continue educating equestrians about the benefit of good footing. She would also like to take the time to balance work with her own personal life, including time in the saddle. Cynthia admits that this is a challenge she’s still working on!
About the Writer: Kathryn Murphy recently graduated from USC Aiken with a bachelor of arts degree in communications. She is currently pursuing her dream of becoming a journalist.