60 Second Q&A with Missy Clark, Top Equitation & Hunter/Jumper Trainer

Missy Clark has been training students for many years. She owns North Run with John Brennan in Warren, Vermont, where they work with some of the top junior riders in the country. In 2007, student Kimberly McCormack won the ASPCA Maclay National Championship. Clark also coaches Hillary Dobbs, who was the Leading Open Jumper Rider at Washington last year. Dobbs currently is competing at the grand prix level and recently was named to the United States Nations Cup Team in Wellington, Fla., winner of the gold medal.

How long have you been showing at WIHS?

Forever! I remember when we were at the last place, the U.S. Air Arena. It’s been over 20 years. However long the show has been going on, I’ve been there. I showed there myself as a kid. It’s been a long time.

What are some of your biggest accomplishments?

We have won the WIHS Equitation Finals three or four times and last year Hillary Dobbs was leading Open Jumper Rider. Her open horses were Corlett, Quincy B, and Marengo. We also have had junior jumper championships and junior hunter champions. Last year Take Away, a junior hunter, won the High Performance Hunter Classic with Cortie Wetherill. That was a new class, so that was fun.

What do you like best about competing at the show?

It’s actually one of my favorite shows. It’s in such a great location—being in the middle of the city is fantastic. The show that they put on is just a great event. They get a crowd—it’s almost like being in Europe. There’s great support from spectators and so there’s a lot of energy. It’s a great atmosphere to compete in. The horse show ring is great. They do such a nice job. It’s maybe a little hard to get used to, but they do everything they can do to cut off traffic, seclude the area, and make it very convenient. It’s really one of my favorite shows.

Are you planning to come this year?

I am planning to come. It’s hard to say right now because you have to qualify, but we’ll probably have Hillary in the open division. There will be a couple in the amateur-owner jumpers and four or five junior jumpers. I’ll probably have five or six students in the equitation finals. We’ll have about 20 horses there.

Do you do anything special to prepare for the WIHS Equitation Classic Finals?

Not really, because we’re doing it all year. It’s an interesting class because of the two phases that are involved. One is over a hunter course and the other over a jumper-type course. You have to compete in the classes all year to qualify. You’re pretty cued up, and you’re already coming off the other medal finals. You’re in the groove.