We were saddened to hear about the passing of Mary Ann Baseheart, the owner of Wise Choice Tack (along with husband Dave). Wise Choice is a staple in the Lexington, Ky., horse community; despite being such a horse-crazy area, it’s really the one and only place to find a variety of eventing tack and apparel. The Wise Choice trailer is faithfully at each Kentucky Horse Park event to supply competitors with last-minute needs; and even if you aren’t from Kentucky, you’ve probably browsed their booth in the indoor at Rolex. Mary Ann was always at the store to greet you with a smile and an offer to help; I was just in there a month ago looking for a new helmet and she determinedly dug through boxes trying to find my odd size. It’s hard to believe she’s gone; she will be very missed. Thanks to Angela Sallee, a former employee, for writing this tribute.
Last Thursday, the central Kentucky equestrian community lost an important member. Mary Ann Baseheart started Wise Choice Tack and Supply in 1994. The store was named after Mary Ann’s first horse, and the store became an extension of Mary Ann. Many people sometimes say, “Oh, go to Dave’s, he will have it,” when they really don’t realize that store was Mary Ann’s dream and her baby.
Upon getting the horse bug, I, like many young girls, made my maiden voyage to Wise Choice to be completely outfitted for my new passion. Mary Ann scooped me right up and outfitted me in breeches, boots, helmet and continued to do so until she passed. In 2008, I was lucky enough to be chosen as “one of Mary Ann’s girls,” one of the chosen few who got to work at Wise Choice.
I probably learned more working with Mary Ann on how to run a business than in my business classes at the University of Kentucky, and I even did a sales project about her and the store. My time at the store came to a close in 2011, and looking back I cherish so many memories and met so many great people because I was given the chance to work there.
Mary Ann was one of the first people I told about my engagement, and we would spend hours scouring bridal magazines, and she ultimately helped me select where I should get married. We saved a small kitten from Georgetown Road who became the beloved store cat, Paul Neuman. I loved listening to stories of when she was a model in New York and worked with Dave at Duck Head Apparel. Daily I would go to the store next door and get us bologna and cheese sandwiches and Bugles, and she loved her Diet Pepsi.
Walking into the store won’t ever be the same, but Mary Ann touched so many young riders’ lives. The outpouring on Facebook has been amazing to see with everyone’s stories of how Mary Ann helped them in the riding careers. Our thoughts are with Dave; Trent; Joy; and her granddaughter, Josie, as they go through this difficult time, but they should take comfort knowing what a positive and strong impact Mary Ann had on the equestrian community. Whether hunter, eventer, dressage or pleasure rider, we will all miss her the same.