GCDA President Noreen O’Sullivan Presents Stephe Clarke with the Premier Equestrian Award at the GCDA Symposium (JRPR Photo)
Loxahatchee FL (March 13, 2019) – Each year, many of the best dressage riders in the world gather together in South Florida for many reasons. The opportunities to learn and develop performance levels of both horse and rider are endless during the exciting winter season which provides exclusive access to professionals from all areas of the sport. 2019 is proving to be one of the best years ever, especially with presentations such as the Gold Coast Dressage Association Symposium featuring Stephen Clarke. The 2-day symposium took place following week 5 of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and was held at May Faire Oaks Farm in Loxahatchee, FL. Participants and their horses were eager to learn as much as they could from this renowned FEI judge, and Premier Equestrian was excited to present Clarke with their prestigious Premier Equestrian Award during this successful event. As a part of being named a Premier Equestrian, Clarke was presented with a striking tricolor ribbon and engraved Premier Equestrian Award commemorative plaque.
Regarded as one of today’s best international dressage judges, Stephen Clarke describes his philosophy, “I don’t like the word ‘judge’, really, because I’m not a judgmental person,” he explains, “but my job is to assess what’s going on within each of the movements, and then award a correct mark to it.” Clarke continues, “I keep it simple. I know when it’s good and when it’s bad and when it’s somewhere in the middle. It’s just a matter of giving a fair assessment.”
Clarke is British and has won several national championships as a rider himself. Over the years, he has showed all over Europe and was a reserve rider for the Olympic team in Seoul. He explains how it all began, “I started off as a show jumping rider, and then went into fairly high levels of eventing, and then naturally developed into the dressage arena.” Clarke continues, “It was very natural for me because, even with the jumpers, I used to train the horses to go in a gymnastic way. So, it was no big deal to gradually develop into a pure dressage rider. Then, I somehow got dragged into the judging side which I find fascinating!” he laughs.
For years, Clarke ran his own stable in England where he developed young, professional trainers, which is a passion he still has today. “Over the years, I’ve had a lot of people who used to come with their own horses and stay anywhere from 1 to 4 years. They learned the ropes and have all developed into professional trainers themselves, which I’m quite proud of.” He says that current team rider, Gareth Hughes has been with him for many years and serves as the perfect example. “I’ve been round the block and done everything many times,” Clarke reflects, “For me, all my interest now is the support and promotion of the next generation of dressage professionals.” It’s this devotion to the sport that Premier Equestrian honors and therefore they were excited to present the award.
“After receiving the award from Premier, Clarke commented about the many advantages dressage horses enjoy today and said “Nothing is more important than the footing”. The team from Premier Equestrian agreed wholeheartedly.
Premier Equestrian wishes for all disciplines of equestrians and horse lovers to have enjoyable experiences with their horses, in or outside the show ring. The company is proud to offer an affordable choice for first-rate American-made products that enhance the equestrian performance of its customers. For more information about Premier Equestrian and its full line of products including footing, dressage arenas, and arena groomers, please call 1-800-611-6109 or visit www.PremierEquestrian.com.