Photo: Gamecock Equestrian Barn Manager Maggie Barton in action at a competition.
Maggie Barton is the kind of person who exudes quiet confidence. Barton never fails to bring calm to any situation. Her knowledge is extremely specific, and something which only can be learned after years of experience. There is no class which teaches you that “MTG” helps grow hair back faster than “Horseman’s Dream.” There are no books that disclose the best way to keep horses from tearing off their leg wraps. (Her method is Tapatío hot sauce rubbed all over the outside.) Barton learned her tricks like all great horsemen have; by listening to her horses.
Barton has been the barn manager for the University of S.C. Equestrian team for five years. She lives on the property along with her trusty sidekicks, her horse Ollie and loveable, tailless rescue mutt Sadie. Barton grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C. and started riding at a small local barn called Irish Oaks. Her family didn’t have a great deal of money, so she rode whatever mount she could find until one special Christmas she was gifted “Pistol Pete” (aka Peter). She rode him till she outgrew him.
These years of experience eventually led Barton to Germany, where she lived as a working student. During this time, she started to consider a career professionally within the equine world.
Barton knew she wanted to pursue her passion as an equestrian, and she didn’t give herself any other option but to be successful.
Barton described herself as “the little girl with braids that begged to ride a pony and as the teenager that then wanted to be a trainer.” When she realized as a young adult that she didn’t have the riding proficiency to be the level of trainer she wanted to be, her eyes shifted to management. She found her niche in the caring for horses, maintaining property, and managing staff.
Barton keeps riders on their toes. Her goal is to help riders develop an “all-seeing eye” for a variety of ailments. Any rider in her barn can spot different infections such as “rain rot” or “thrush” a mile away. Barton enjoys the collegiate side of the equestrian world. As a true believer in team dynamics, she tries to create that same feeling with her barn staff. In her barn, there is always someone cheering you on, giving you advice, or helping to pick you up when you’re down.
Barton’s love of horses isn’t enough to define her. She also is an amazing cook. She loves the beach, fitness classes, oysters and taking in sunsets at the farm with her pup.
Barton finds nothing more special than watching the women grow from freshman to seniors. She loves to look back and see what they’ve learned and accomplished through their four years. For that reason, Barton’s impact on Gamecock Equestrian will be felt for years to come.