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.

Jun 01, 2020 Association News

USEA Horse of the Month: Talon Ted

While every story submitted to the USEA for the June Horse of the Month was unique and special, it was Teddy’s story that stood out. Therefore, the USEA June Horse of the Month is Talon Ted aka "Teddy", a 14.1 hand, 17-year-old Paint Pinto Gelding owned by Eran Murray and ridden by Eran’s daughter, Brooke Murray.

May 31, 2020 Grants

Apply Now for the 2021 Worth the Trust Scholarship

In 2000 and with the support of Joan Iversen Goswell, the Worth the Trust Scholarships were established to provide financial assistance to amateurs to pursue their education in eventing. The funds from the Worth the Trust Educational Scholarship may be used for training opportunities such as clinics, working student positions, and private or group instruction, or to learn from an official, course designer, technical delegate, judge, veterinarian, or organizer.

May 30, 2020 Educational Activities

MACTA Cross-Country Schooling Day a Success Amid COVID-19 Restrictions

The spring eventing season in the Midwest is always a toss-up due to unpredictable weather. Will it rain, will it be sunny, or will it be a snowstorm? No one knows! Mid-America Combined Training Association’s (MACTA) first cross-country schooling of the season was cancelled in March due to extremely muddy footing conditions and by the time our April dates came around, COVID-19 was in full force and we were unable to host our cross-country schooling and schooling show.

May 29, 2020 Eventing News

FEI Publishes Return to Play Policy as Equestrian Adapts to “New Normal”

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