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 13, 2021 Volunteers

Volunteerism with Come Again Farm and Lee Ann Zobbe

It is the eventing programs like Lee Ann Zobbe’s program in Area VIII that help keep the sport alive. In addition to teaching students how to ride, Zobbe the manager and coach at Come Again Farm, also teaches her students how to volunteer. Whether her students are 11 years old or 70 years old, volunteering is an integral part of her program located in Sheridan, Indiana.

Apr 12, 2021 Young Riders

Adequan®/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge Adds Two New West Coast Legs

US Equestrian is pleased to announce the addition of two new 2021 dates for the Adequan®/USEF Eventing Youth Team Challenge (YTC):

Apr 12, 2021 Competitions

Inaugural McKinlaigh Cup and Twin Rivers CCI4*-L Title Goes to Amber Levine and Cinzano

"Too plain" is not a description that fits today's wire-to-wire winner of the Twin Rivers Spring International's inaugural CCI4*-L. But that's what Amber Levine heard five years ago after importing the now 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Classe VDL x Walta) as a sales prospect. So, she kept him. His long-delayed debut at the CCI4*-L level proved the wisdom of that decision.

Apr 12, 2021 Competitions

USEA Podcast #281: Giddy Over Kentucky

This year’s pre-Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event USEA Official Podcast isn’t a traditional preview show, but rather Host Nicole Brown and the team of Max Corcoran, Rob Burk, and Diarm Byrne are discussing their favorite Kentucky memories as everyone gets giddy for the 2021 event!

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA