Upcoming CHP Events

marc staff 3bMarc Donovan: Program Director 

Marc came on board at the Carolina Horse Park in 2013 as organizer and originator of the highly sucessful Cabin Branch Event Series (now, War Horse Event Series). He took over the role of organizer of the recognized events in the fall of that year and is the Event Director of the Carolina International and Horse Trial. In 2016 he became Program Director of the Carolina Horse Park. Early in his riding career he showed Pony Hunters and competed in the Equitation divisions. Marc was a member of the Meadow Brook Hounds Pony Club, in NY, and received his "A" rating. After graduating from Emerson College, in Boston, he continued eventing to the CCI2* (currently CCI3*) level. Now a USEF "R" rated show jumping course designer, he brings multiple skills to his job at the Park. Marc has and continues to design show jumping courses for all competitions at the Carolina Horse Park, the AEC's, multiple FEI events, World Cup Qualifiers as well as horse shows and grand prix in the US and Canada. Marc's assisted Richard Jeffery at the National Horse Show and Richard and Conrad Homfeld at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. He has also designed the show jumping courses for the Gatcomb Park Horse Trials in the UK. In 2016, Marc was named to the USPC Academy of Achievement and the Professional Riders Organization honored him, at the USEA Annual Convention, as an "extraodinary individual that positively impacted the sport of eventing through dedicated service and support of horses, riders, and events". Having first come to Southern Pines in 1989, Marc now resides in Whispering Pines, NC.

irina staffIrina Shklyar: Chief Administrative Officer

Irina Shklyar is originally from the Eastern European city of Minsk, Belarus. She immigrated to United States at the age of 19 with her family and landed in Long Island, NY where she has lived for the last 20 years. Irina recently moved to Pinehurst, NC and is enjoying a peaceful lifestyle with her husband, two children and a new dog. Irina brings Risk Management/Finance/Banking experience to the Park as she had spent most of her career at Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, and General Electric. Irina is a great team player with excellent communication skills. She is very excited to join the Carolina Horse Park family and is looking forward to making a difference for the Park by leveraging her skillsets in the financial and management arenas.

shannonShannon Habenicht: Director of Development and Communications

Having grown up with horses - both at her home and boarding and showing at Cedarhill Farm (Charlotte, NC) as a child - Shannon got the horse ‘bug’ early and continuously. While she grew up riding the hunter jumper circuit, she now rides her horse, Dodger, just for fun on the trails. Shannon is at CHP quite often for horse trials with her daughter and brings an interesting perspective as a horse mom, equestrian and marketing professional. Shannon has been in the marketing and public relations field for over 20 years. She has a solid background in writing and running promotional events, as well as advertising sales, project management and client relations. Most recently, Shannon managed an equestrian publication for five years. She also founded a new equestrian virtual magazine - Around the Water Trough, an online gathering place for all things equine. 

cherylCheryl Davis: Facilities Director

Cheryl grew up in Acton, MA. She was active in the Groton Pony Club and graduated in 1979 from Cazenovia College in Cazenovia, NY. After college Cheryl worked for Emerson, Bruce and Leslie Burr at the Fairfield County Hunt Club in CT. She spent the next nine years caring for Leslie’s string of top hunters, Mystic Emperor, Master of the Game, Rule the Blues and Mirror Image, eventually accepting the position of Head Groom/Stable Manager. Cheryl traveled on the road with Leslie and her jumpers; Albany, Nightwork, Boing, and Sedac, and had wins in the American Gold Cup and American International. She was selected to accompany the USET as support staff during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and the 1985 European World Cup Finals in Berlin, Germany. Later, Cheryl worked as a Vet Technician for Dr. Richard Mitchell DVM at Fairfield Equine. There, Cheryl had the opportunity to leg up many wonderful horses returning to work after lay-up including, her favorite, The Natural. In 1995 Cheryl moved to Southern Pines and opened her own Morning Glory Farm, a lay-up retirement facility in Aberdeen. In 2013 she started organizing the schooling days and building jump courses at the Carolina Horse Park before joining the staff in 2020.

maggie staff 3bMaggie Cline: Volunteer and Administrative Manager


Maggie grew up on a farm in western Pennsylvania and spent her early days riding and showing in the hunter/jumper world. In college, she earned her BA in Equine Management and found her love of Eventing. Since graduating in 2012, she has worked in many aspects of the horse world, from hands on in the barn to behind the scenes at veterinary clinics. In 2017, she flipped a coin, moved to North Carolina and has called it “home” ever since. After a few more moves, she and her husband settled down at a small farm in Aberdeen, where they live with their daughter, two dogs, and one chestnut thoroughbred mare. She’s excited to explore her passions in the horse world as she joins the CHP team in September of 2021.

maggie staff 3bGay Stevens Bray: Programs and Logistics Manager

Gay grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland horse showing and fox hunting but also trying almost any other horsey endeavor that came her way including pony club, 4-H, and a little bit of barrel racing. After attending college in NC she has worked as a news producer, in the financial industry and in real estate… all the while remaining involved with horses. She has three kids, two dogs, horses of course! These days she just rides for fun and most of her horse time is spent grooming for her daughter who shows hunters.

abby staffDan Nesser: Cross Country Jump Facilitator

In 2004, Dan quit the rat race of owning and managing a large trucking company in Ohio to live a quieter life here in North Carolina. During that same year, Dan began working with the Carolina Horse Park in preparation for their first American Eventing Championship. Over the last 17 years, Dan has physically managed all events; in addition to being responsible for a large portion of the regular land and equipment maintenance. He has had the pleasure of working with five Program Directors at Carolina Horse Park, to include the current Program Director, Marc Donovan. In addition to those duties, he was instrumental in hiring the people needed to build the first four barns at the park, while also assisting with their construction. When the park was able to build an additional four barns, Dan led the charge for the entire project and, with the same hired help, nailed up every board! Dan keeps himself content these days on his property of six-acres, which is conveniently located five miles away from Carolina Horse Park. When not working at the park, he spends his time immersed in other projects and his pets. The first of Dan’s dogs was found at the Stoneybrook Tower. Here, Dan started feeding him, which led to the adoption of a new best friend: Chip (in reference to the acronym for Carolina Horse Park - CHP). His second dog, is an 85-pound, Labrador mix, who was also found at the park and adopted. He was appropriately named “Park.”

abby staffRicky McMillan: Assistant Facilities Manager

Ricky McMillan is from Aberdeen, North Carolina and joined the Carolina Horse Park team as its Facilities Coordinator in May of 2021. He was raised in the Five Points area and lives there now. Rick recently retired from his position at an electric company in April 2021, after 18 years repairing and installing overhead and underground electric lines on the frontline. His previous employer enjoyed his loyalty for over 20 years and Rick is ecstatic to extend that loyalty to Carolina Horse Park! Growing up as a member of a large family, he became educated in what it takes to raise livestock and cultivate the soil of the sandhills; all of which gave him the practical skills necessary to support the horse park and its events. He enjoys fishing, horseback riding and participating in other outdoor sports. Now that he has transitioned into a position with a more relaxed pace of living, he looks forward to spending more time at home spoiling his wife and their granddaughter.


Get in Touch with CHP!

Telephone: 910-875-2074

Email: Send CHP an Email

2814 Montrose Rd.
Raeford, NC 28376

Upcoming Events at CHP

Carolina Horse Park Galleries