Sep 13, 2019

Featured Clinician: Max Corcoran

Max Corcoran (right) during Mr. Medicott's retirement ceremony. RedBayStock.com Photo.

Max Corcoran has taken her dedication to the sport of eventing to the next level. As a professional groom, event organizer, popular clinician and now USEA President-Elect, is there anything she can’t do?

Event Clinics caught up with Corcoran during a relatively quiet week following the success of the Great Meadow International event in The Plains, Virginia, which Corcoran helped to orchestrate.

“My career has chosen its own path,” Corcoran says. Between freelance grooming jobs, organizing esteemed international competitions, and gracefully taking on new responsibilities at the USEA, Corcoran finds time to teach unmounted grooming and horse care workshops to interested riders nationwide.

“I just love to give back, and I enjoy teaching people how to make their horses better.”

Photo courtesy of Max Corcoran.

Following an 11-year stint as a staple of the O’Connor Event Team as both traveling groom and barn manager, Corcoran uses her experiences as a platform to connect with riders of all ages and levels.

“At the beginning of a clinic I always try to ask people what they want to get out of the day. For the most part, I teach adult amateurs and kids, but I’ve had a few young barn managers, which has been fun. Everyone has a different reason for coming to a clinic and wanting to learn.”

“The best thing about teaching clinics is that even though I am the one teaching I take a lot away from the people I’ve taught and their experiences. You just keep learning.”

Through anecdotes and details, Corcoran hopes to share with her students more than simple tricks of the trade. “I just want to make horses’ lives better, and if I can do that through information then that’s what I will do. There’s so much we can do to improve the longevity of their careers. It’s our moral duty to look after these horses. We ask them to do things that are not natural, so it’s our responsibility to look after them. Ideally, I’d like to see less of injuries.”

Corcoran believes that information and mindful horsemanship can help to make fewer injuries a reality. “It’s about management. It’s about noticing if the ground is hard or soft, asking if your horse is fit enough, or if you are fit enough. A horse going Novice or Training is sort of like someone who runs a 5K. So, stretch before and after. If you run too many 5K races a month you will get hurt, and it’s really the same for horses.”

Photo courtesy of Max Corcoran.

Through the teaching impact of her clinics, and looking ahead to her time as USEA President, Corcoran hopes to educate riders and ultimately see some of the best practices from the top levels of sport become more of the norm at the grassroots.

“I’m competitive, but I don’t like to compete with the horses. As a groom, I always say that I’m their nanny. I get the horses up in time, bathed, groomed, fed, et cetera. At the top level especially, you’re a manager. I love high performance; being part of a team, watching those horses. You’d like some of that to trickle down,” Corcoran says.

The path to experience at the high performance level hasn’t exactly been linear for Corcoran, who played ice hockey in college and worked for an investment company in downtown Boston for a number of years.

Having grown up foxhunting, Corcoran found herself working alongside Robert Costello, who would ultimately compete through the five-star level. “I grew up riding at the same barn as Bobby [Costello]. I took riding lessons and didn’t have a horse. Bobby started taking me to local horse shows with him - it worked out for both of us - I learned and saw a lot, and he was like ‘look, free help!’ The two of us toted along and ran the barn together, we were like brother and sister.”

USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

The pillars of Corcoran’s teaching style reverberate in the advice she offers to aspiring young professionals. “I was pretty lucky that from an early age I had people who told me to listen, watch, do, be-involved-with, and absorb what was happening around me. That’s what I would tell anyone who wants to be a groom.”

Beyond observation, Corcoran shares some concrete advice for day-to-day life as a professional groom. “Never leave home without a sleeping bag, flip flops for dirty showers, a hammock, and a towel. You never know when you’re going to be somewhere for a long time. The horses are always going to come first, but at some point you have to look after yourself a bit!”

You can find opportunities to #learnfromthebest in an upcoming grooming clinic with Max Corcoran at www.eventclinics.com.

Apr 12, 2024 USEA Foundation

Applications for The Event at Rebecca Farm Travel Grant Due June 1

The Event at Rebecca Farm (Kalispell, Montana) is renowned amongst members of the eventing community for its exceptional competition venue, genuine hospitality, and stunning backdrops. The Broussard Family Charitable Foundation and USEA Foundation are excited to share that travel grants to this iconic venue are returning once again for 2024 to assist riders traveling to Montana to compete in the CCI3* and CCI4* divisions at this year’s competition which takes place July 17-21.

Apr 12, 2024 Resources

Heads Up Competitors! Important Information Surrounding Entry Form and Liability Waiver Requirements for USEA/USEF Eventing Competitions

When aiming to compete in a United States Eventing Association (USEA) recognized competition (national competition or international competition), licensed or endorsed by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), understanding and fulfilling the specific requirements for entry forms and liability waivers is crucial.

Apr 12, 2024 Emerging Athletes U21

USEA Names Athletes for 2024 EA21 Regional Programs

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the athletes selected for the 2024 USEA Emerging Athlete U21 Program (EA21). USEA Young Rider program members aged 21 and under are eligible for the program. The purpose of the USEA EA21 Program is to identify and provide consistent quality instruction to the next generation of elite event riders.

Apr 11, 2024 News

Weekend Quick Links: April 13-14

Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Real Estate Partner of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Competition & Training Apparel of the USEA

Official Horse Boot of the USEA