Born and raised in rural upstate New York, Gloria Austin serves a President of the Equine Heritage Institute, Inc. and lives near The Villages, a popular and unique retirement community just south of Ocala, Florida, the horse capital of the United States. The Equine Heritage Institute, Inc. is established as a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit operating foundation whose mission is to educate, celebrate and preserve the history of the horse and its role in shaping world civilizations and changing lives.
Carriage driving is Gloria’s passion and study of the history of the horse and its impact on society is her life’s pursuit. As she tells those who listen to her lecture, “We have had over 6000 years of history with the domesticated horse and only 100 years with the automobile. The quest of the Equine Heritage Institute is to tell the world of those 6000 years.”
Gloria raised a family and completed her education while living in Rochester, New York. Her handicapped son lives in a home in upstate New York and his disability prompted her acquisition of a Masters Degree in Public Administration and her early work on a community plan for the repatriation of the disabled persons from institutional living to community-based services. Her daughter and six grandchildren currently live close to her in Central Florida.
After a career coordinating government planning of services for the developmentally disabled in upstate New York, Gloria opened the New York City area offices of Paychex, Inc., a company that provides payroll and personnel services for small-to-medium sized companies. Retirement brought Gloria to sunny central Florida to enjoy her horses the year-round and to work tirelessly on letting the world know of the horses’ contribution to man’s culture.
Her early riding experiences set the stage for a life-long interest in the horse. “Age,” as she states, is what led to her expanded interest in carriage driving. As she explains “I can just sit on the box seat and enjoy my horses.” Her love of history spawned her interest in collecting the most comprehensive grouping of carriages in the world. The collection is on display at Grand Oaks Resort, in the Florida Carriage Museum. The collection tells of the importance of the contribution of the horse when put to wheeled vehicles.
Gloria drives horses in both the United States and in Europe and holds many championship titles, including North American Four-In-Hand and Coaching Champion. She presents Friesian, Andalusian, and Kladruby horses in harness to many of the Museum’s antique carriages. Her love of all horse breeds and disciplines have led her to study ridden dressage, and become a rider of both an American Paint and Paso Fino horse.
Gloria has won many awards from the Carriage Association of America for carriage restoration and has horsed and presented unique carriages at numerous special exhibitions. The staff at the Florida Carriage Museum and Resort presents an annual pleasure driving show and many special horsed exhibits related to the historical and current day use of the horse.
Gloria is a member of the board of directors for the Carriage Museum of America and Honorary Director of the Carriage Association of America. Her handicapped son has lead to her participation as a trustee on the board of the not-for-profit Golisano Foundation, Inc. As owner of the Medical Healing Arts Center, Inc. that integrates both Eastern and Western medicine, she is acting on her interest in providing persons with the absolute best both cultures offer in health care and preventive medicine. She also belongs to a number of private carriage driving clubs in both the United States and Europe.
If you would like to follow Gloria’s adventures or see her amazing carriage collection please visit her site at www.GloriaAustin.com.