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May 03, 2011

Father and Daughter Give Healthy Horse of A Gift to Equestrians

The Carolina Equestrian team may wish to consider a horse-riding version of standing to do “the wave.” That would be a fitting show of appreciation to Marshall Gray and his daughter Chloe Gray, ’11, marketing.

Last year, as a junior, she and her father, of Tampa, Fla., donated Wave—Chloe’s personal show horse—as a gift to her Equestrian team and University Athletics.

Chloe, who graduates May 6, has been a highly successful team member all four of her years at Carolina during competitions on quarter horses that involve reining maneuvers. The idea to donate Wave for her team’s benefit came from her mother, Laura, who passed away nearly two years ago.

Gifts Are About Timing: The Grays’ Gift 'Rides on'

Traveling from Tampa to the stables housing Wave in Ocala, Fla., involved taxing travel. With Chloe preparing to graduate, she and her father felt the time was right to let her equestrian accomplishments "ride on" at Carolina through Wave.

“Wave has a booming personality and loves his new job as a school horse,” Chloe said. “He has taught me so much about showing at a higher level, and I am happy he has been able to share that with other members of our Equestrian team. “

“We donated Wave to South Carolina as a way of saying ‘Thank You’ for the stellar education and incredible experience of being a scholarship student-athlete,” said her father Marshall, who is division president of M/I Homes in Tampa. “This allows Chloe to leave a legacy behind of her days at the college.”

"He will be missed when I graduate, but I know Wave has a great home here at the University of South Carolina."

–Chloe Gray, '11, marketing

Wave, a strong Bay quarter horse, has performed at a high level both in practice and during reining competitions, which require horse and rider to execute 10 approved patterns. Reining patterns include slow and fast circles, flying leading changes, 360-degree spins done in place—and exciting sliding stops that serve as the hallmark of the reining horse.

Final Farewell: A Special Ride Shared

The Carolina Equestrian team sets high expectations each year, placing seventh during the 2011 Varsity Equestrian National Championships held in Waco, Texas. Wave made the trip and competed, as did Chloe and about 24 team members total in four divisions. The team achieved national championship status in 2005 and 2007.

In March, during Carolina’s last home meet of the season versus New Mexico State University, Chloe and her fellow seniors were honored during “Senior Day.” As the luck of the draw had it, she drew Wave from the list of available quarter horses for her competition.

Wave was donated in January 2010, and under the rules, a horse must wait a minimum of one semester before its donor can take the reins during competition. It was the only time Chloe ever rode Wave while competing at Carolina.

“It was a bittersweet ride but we won our point and I actually earned my final MVP from the ride as well,” she said.

Staying Connected With Carolina: Wave Remains at USC

As she prepares for her career, Chloe plans to stay connected to the National Reining Horse Association and will compete in a few events over the summer. She will always be involved with Carolina, and with horses—and will never forget Wave.

“He will be missed when I graduate, but I know Wave has a great home here at the University of South Carolina,” she said.

“It is an honor to know that each time Wave is ridden in a competition and it is announced that he was donated by the Gray family, it shows Chloe was able to not only make a significant contribution to the team for four years, but that her legacy will go far beyond that time,” Marshall said.

–Larry Di Giovanni, Development Communications