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Mary Ann Vaughn: It’s Never Too Late to Get the Job Done

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By Allyssa Baird

“I do this all by myself, so watching Holly Woods Dillin jumping over the rail and grabbing the trophy put the biggest grin on my face that you could ever see!” That’s 76-year-old Mary Ann Vaughn recalling her excitement after going 2023 US National Reserve Champion Half-Arabian Two-Year-Old Filly with GM Ali Shania, sired by Thee Desperado+ son, Aja Ali, out of The Color Of Fame bred mare, GM Color Nasma Fame+. Maryann bred, trained, and handled the beautiful chestnut tobiano pinto stemming from her humble home in Waller, Texas.


For 23 years, Maryann enjoyed American Quarter Horses. Once she was down to just two horses, one of them had passed, and the remaining mare was noticeably grieving. So, Maryann did what any sensible horse person would do: she bought her horse a horse. While searching for a companion, she came across a grey Arabian mare for sale. “It didn’t make a difference to me if it was an Arabian. It was just a horse,” Maryann says. “She was a Polish mare with a beautiful face. Once I started riding her, I couldn’t believe it. In my day, the 60s and 70s, you couldn’t have given me an Arabian because of how they were perceived.”

WA Silk Stockings and Mary Ann competing in the Great Southwest Show in Katy, Texas.

WA Silk Stockings, sired by Silkhan, out of Kenmar Majesta, was the mare to change it all. Maryann started riding and showing her locally, quickly realizing how smart she was and how she could do anything. 

Fast forward to today, Maryann still knows the local Quarter Horse guys and enjoys messing with them. “I take my Straight Egyptian stallion and pony my mares off of him or bring a horse to work cows, and they just shake their heads,” She laughs. “I have more fun dispelling the belief of Arabians, especially with the old guys around here.” 

 

Currently, Maryann owns Arabians, Half-Arabians, and Saddlebreds. While she still carries the old traditional Quarter Horse bloodlines in a couple of horses, she has transformed her program using Stallions such as her Straight Egyptian stallion, Aja Ali, and outside stallions like Allgood Avicii, Fire and Goldd, and Exxalt.

Straight Egyptian stallion, Aja Ali, sired by Thee Desperado+, out of a The Elixir daughter, The Ambrosia.

Showing at the US Nationals was exciting for Maryann, not only for the win but also for the people she shared it with. “I came to the show alone but was stalled with Western Cross Arabians, owned by Holly Woods Dillin,” she says. “They do a lot of performance, but Holly loves the halter horses, so she was in the stands and came into the win picture.”

Mary Ann, GM Ali Shania and Holly Woods Dillon at the 2023 US National Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Maryann doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. She is a superwoman who does it all by herself. Her friend, Robert Cass, states, “Maryann does it all from picking up and unloading 100 bags of grain and shavings. She does her own halter schooling, saddle training, and clipping, and I’ve seen her with a pair of hoof nippers if needed before the farrier comes.

 

She makes her own breeding decisions and is there for each foal’s first breath and their last when the time comes. She handles her stallions and mares simultaneously for live cover by herself. I can call her at 10:00 pm, and she’ll be cleaning stalls or 6:00 am, and she’s out on the tractor. 

 

I’ve never been to a barn where the stall door is a single chain across the front. No matter if it’s a stallion’s stall or mare and foal. She teaches them respect, and they all come up for scratches and hugs. She’ll get new people to fall in love with Arabians, and then they’re off to a local show and in the ring. She is always an ambassador for this breed.”

GM Ala S Dominick and Maryann at the 2004 Egyptian Event.

Arabian horses are it for Maryann, and she makes it her goal to change people’s mentality about them. “I enjoy changing people’s minds more than anything else,” she says. “I’m doing everything I can to bring in new people, and even bring my horses to shows and let others show them for the experience. I want them to understand that these horses have a brain, and they will give back the same respect if you are fair to them.”

Maryann is a testament. As she nears 77, she actively manages all the tasks that come along with 43 acres and several horses. “I’m healthy and not on any medications. This keeps me going, and I love it. I love the Arabian horse.”

Multi-National Top Ten and Regional Champion mare owned and bred by Maryann, GM Rlis Rihanna+.

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