show at Cottenham
Hi, I'm Sam
Clarke, 27 years old. I live in Cambourne (west of Cambridge)
with my fiancée, Steve. I am a scientist working for a Drug
Discovery Company based south of Cambridge.
I have been
riding since I was three and in my past I have worked (paid as
well as voluntarily) on BHS, polo, private and DIY yards.
Having experienced some very different approaches to horsemanship
(some I would never want to be involved in again) I have finally
found a way of horsemanship that suits me and, I think, my horses.
It was mainly fuelled after seeing
a Parelli Demo at Equus a couple of years back. I knew of Monty
Roberts and his approach to horses but after seeing two Friesians
(my favourite breed in the world!) working so gracefully online with
a beautiful connection and bond to their owner, I realised this was
something I wanted with my horses in the future. I met with the
usual comments of "it's just tricks" and "it's a
con" from a lot of closed minded people but I was determined to
achieve my dream.
After signing up as a Parelli member it was not
until January, 2004 that I had the best opportunity to actually
achieve my dream. I took on my best friend's horse, Kate, a 9 year
old bay TB mare by Le Moss.
She was a lovely mare but had issues
with loading, catching and would suddenly, for no reason, flip out.
All the challenges were there to work on but it was another twist of
fate (helped by Sîan with Bob) that I met Denise Nisbet and ended up
keeping Kate at her yard.
Denise is a fountain of knowledge when it
comes to Natural Horsemanship and helped me work through Kate's
issues. After about a month, Kate and I had the seven games pegged.
By March, Kate was loading herself into a trailer, even in the dark!
Kate was getting easier to catch and I was so pleased with her, we
had come so far.
2004, we went to our first show together where she totally amazed me
with how far she had come in such a small amount of time. She
took the whole day in her stride and we came away with ribbons,
which was more than I could have dreamed of. She stood by the
trailer between her classes and, when it came to go, she loaded
herself and we were on our way home!
Whilst at Denise's, I had the opportunity to take on and train
Glascia, a 16.2hh Coloured IDX. She was very green and was
frightened of jump poles.
I worked with Glascia to get her thinking more by teaching and
playing the seven games and after some trust building, she broke
through her fear of jumping poles and what a jump she now has!
We both made great progress in our learning and, due to Kate
injuring her neck, I worked with Glascia at a Rio
Baker clinic last summer which helped us both tremendously.
A lot happened last summer and after a few emotional
moments where Glascia was eventually sold to a great home and Kate
also moving to a new great home, I was offered a great chance.
Denise was moving back to South Africa and asked me if I would
consider taking on Beach and, after some time thinking it over, I
finally said yes!
Beach is a 16.3hh IDxTB and he is my dearest boy, I
love him to bits. I feel like we have a very strong bond and we get
where each other are coming from. I can't explain it but for those of
you that have it with your horses, you'll know what I mean, he even
knows when I have had a bad day!!. Beach is a chilled out gentleman
and I love working with him. Our ground skills are going well and I
most definitely love riding him. I find that Parelli is not always the
best way forward for Beach and we have started to look at other ways
of learning (eg ANH, Mark Rashid, etc.) to help us achieve our goals, no
matter how long it takes!
I have been fortunate enough for Denise to ask
me to manage her yard up until her house is sold and I am loving this
opportunity. I have also tried my best to offer the same sort of
advice and support for the current liveries in the same way Denise so
willingly offered hers when I came to the yard. This whole experience
has been so rewarding I cannot believe how lucky I have been.
Beach and I have been out and about competing at
Dressage, Cross Country and Showing. All in all, we have done extremely
well and I am so proud of our achievements.
* Courtesy of
See video clips of Beach:
Beach and I at playday practicing liberty
Cross country - Beach and Pike
As you aware, I took on Beach in November, 200404
from Denise. Denise contacted me in May, 2007 and asked me if
I would like to have Beach as they would not be returning to the
UK. I was so very humbled and truly honoured by this offer; I
of course accepted immediately. Beach and I officially belong to
each other as of the 22nd May, 2007. I am now the proud owner of
two very, very special horses.”
Update Dec 06
Since my last ramblings, we have moved the horses. We are
still in Little Gransden and keep the horses at a lovely 10 acre
field (for summer) as well a very secluded 4 acre field (for
winter). I am lucky enough to share these fields with Sharon
and her 2 horses Stilton and Mr Jones.
I have been on an incredible journey over the
last 2 years with a lot of highs and its fair share of lows.
With one thing and another I have followed paths that have opened up
some wonderful opportunities for me.
Enlightened Equitation Student
Due to Beach’s ill fitting saddle, I investigated saddles (treed and
treeless) which lead me to the door of Heather Moffett.
Heather has been extremely helpful advising me on many areas of
saddle fitting and after trialling her range of saddles I bought the
Suberpanel Fheonix. I have also been looking in to her style
of riding and I have now been accepted on Heather’s Enlightened
Equitation Teacher Training Program. I was due to start Oct 06
but due to a run of back luck, this wasn’t able to happen so I will
be starting my training with Heather in Oct 07.
I keep Beach barefoot and, after a series of poor trims after our
farrier retired, Sharon and I were left feeling very unhappy with
how are horses feet were looking. After further research into
trims and trimming (must be the scientist in me), Sharon and I
decided to try out an EP (Equine Podiatrist). Adi Pratt came
highly recommended and start trimming for us in April 06. I
was so impressed with the change and over all improvement in all the
horses feet that I am now training to become a fully qualified EP,
which I started in July 06.
In June 06, I took on a youngster originally called Flossy. She was
not a “Flossy” girl at all and after much deliberating we chose
to call her Trinity and it really does suit her!
Trin turned out to have a complicated past.
With one thing another Trin ended up being reported STOLEN
by her previous owners and, after a very traumatic time in both
our lives, everything was sorted out when my parents offered to
buy her for me. Trin is my Birthday and Christmas present
for the next 10 years and I so please that she is well and truly
mine ... what a fantastic present!
Trin is Dutch Warmblood X Irish Draught, born
in May 2002, currently standing close to 17.2hh. It turns
out that she is very well bred (her old passport showed “Breed
Unknown” as she was registered with the Horse Passport Agency).
After a few letters, I had contacted the gentleman that bred
Trin and I even managed tracked down the owner of the stallion
that Trin was by. I visited both parties, met Trin’s
parents, who were lovely, and their owners supplied me with all
the paperwork I needed to upgrade Trinity’s passport. I
have now registered her, including her lineage, with the Sport
Horse Breeding Society.
M, DUTCH WARMBLOOD, 2002
Trin has settled in brilliantly with our
little herd. Beach is very much in love with her and they
have pair bonded extremely well.
Trin was not backed when she came to me and I
have chosen to back her myself taking as long as it takes.
With that in mind, we have already started our journey together
and Trin is coming on in leaps and bounds (see
Since this was filmed, Trin has learnt to
trot and to be ridden in a saddle; she is progressing very well.
|Trinity at her first ever show
(The Melbourne Show 2007)
After a tough winter with two abscesses in her back
feet, Trinity is going from strength to strength, we are now hacking
out and we have started on her ridden schooling. We have done
a little bit of jumping and her canter work is improving (the joys
of having a massive field to practice in!!!). I managed to
film a bit of our first ever schooling session so if you want to see
how she is coming along follow this link: Trinity’s first
schooling session May, 2007.
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