The "Featured Clinician" article series is being provided through a partnership between Event Clinics and the USEA.
After several years living and competing across the pond in England, international eventer and Olympian, Clark Montgomery and his wife Jess, returned Stateside last September.
Clark is a fierce competitor, consistently finishing in the top spot at some of the biggest events in the world. In fact, Clark and his 2016 Olympic mount Loughan Glen dominated from start to finish at Pine Top CIC3*, their first FEI event since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. They ended the day winning by a stout margin of 13.3 on a 36.3.
Event Clinics recently caught up with Clark as he taught an eventing clinic over three days at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Md. to ask him about his training philosophy as a clinician and top rider.
With years of experience as a rider and as a teacher, Clark noted that he really enjoys the opportunity to impact each horse and rider he works with.
“Over the years, I have gotten away from teaching the big groups and the broad theory lessons and instead prefer to teach people on a more individual basis. I just ask that people arrive with an open mind and be willing to participate when challenged.”
For him, every day is about improving. “My clinics offer riders some very specific tips to lower their dressage scores and communicate better in their jumping. If the rider is willing to put themselves into a place of learning for a couple of days, that’s exactly what they will see happen.”
When it comes to teaching, Clark’s style is a direct and honest approach, but he emphasizes that improvements in riding don’t always come in leaps and bounds.
Watch a clip of Clark teaching a clinic.
“I’m not one to tell you that something is good or correct if it isn’t!” he said. “I tend to try to celebrate the baby steps along the way–believe me, there’s a lot of those.”
“At this recent clinic at Loch Moy Farm, I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with everyone independently. It allows me to focus on being able to improve each horse and rider,” continued Clark.
As an instructor, he is passionate about helping horses and riders reach their full potential. “When I teach, I really enjoy seeing people improve throughout their lesson and then ultimately see that progress transfer to their results in competitions.”
When asked what he thinks is important to focus on early season, Clark noted: “To me, early season is the best time to really work on things without the pressure of an event the following weekend. I am constantly focused with my students and my own horses on communication between horse and rider to create better ride ability. No matter what level or phase we’re in, dressage, cross-country or show jumping, communication is absolutely key.”
For more information about Clark Montgomery, visit his website at www.montgomeryequestrian.com. You can find more upcoming clinics with your favorite top riders at www.eventclinics.com or on the USEA's Educational Activities Listings.