Name: Kendra Clarke
Job Title: Owner/Trainer
Organization: Clarke Equine
Education/Degree Earned: BS Equine Studies and pursuing a Masters in Business Administration
If you are a 4-H alum, when and what clubs were you a part of? How did 4-H help you grow as a professional?
I was a part of the 4-H Bernardston Trailblazers in Franklin County, Massachusetts from 2006-2010. I was the President of our club, the President of the Youth County Council, and leader of our drill team. 4-H helped me to gain leadership skills for any career path, and horse skills for the equine industry.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
I train horses and teach lessons. I work 6 days a week, with my hours being from 7am – 7pm Monday-Friday and 7am-2pm on Saturday. I do not necessarily have training/lessons scheduled for all of those hours, and if I am not working, I am studying for my MBA. I do not own my own facility, but rather travel to where the horses live. I have a business relationship with a local barn, and they allow me to train using their facilities as well. I am involved in the management of many of my clients’ horses and act as a mentor and resource for them. I mainly train dressage horses, as I have trained on the FEI levels. I’m also a Level 1 Centered riding instructor and work with clients on rider biomechanics.
What is the most enjoyable part of your career?
I love being able to watch my horses and riders overcome challenges and grow. It is amazing to see the horses learn something new, get stronger, and healthier. For the riders, it is amazing for them to overcome fear, body restrictions and tension. In my training, I believe that “mindful riders create successful horses.”
What are some of the challenges you face in your career?
I face challenges of market saturation. There are so many trainers in PA and NJ, and not enough clients for all of us. I have had to find ways to differentiate myself from the rest. I have done this by being a traveling trainer and going through the Centered Riding program.
What was your favorite science class in school and why?
My favorite science class was equine exercise physiology, which I took at Delaware Valley University (PA) and Equine Biomechanics at Hartpury College (Gloucester, England). These classes showed what horses are capable of doing. It also showed me how different parts of the body affect one another as well as how diet affects the body.
Can you share advice for youth aspiring to join your profession?
I think it is important to get quality internships to learn horse knowledge. A business degree is very important and vital to the equine industry. Take chances and go for the big internships. Work the grunge work for minimal pay, because I believe that is where the best knowledge is obtained. I worked in England for a year and made $0 but learned so many important skills. When I was there, I took the chance on an internship that ended up allowing me to ride with three Olympians (Carl Hester, Conrad Schumacher, and Sandy Phillips). I would have never had this opportunity if I stayed where I was comfortable. Always remember to take bold chances and never look back!
Which of the following activities can help youth develop specific skills needed to succeed in your field?
- Public speaking
- Be in leadership roles at school and in 4-H
- Spend time in nature
- Stay physically healthy
- Keep a tidy/organized room
- Take notes
- Take care of a pet
- Cook by following a recipe
- Be self-motivated
- Be independent