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Shirley Parkinson Professional Achievement Award: Clara Flor

Editor's Note: The following speech was read by Susan Reimer on Friday, Jan. 11, 2002 at the UPHA/AHHS Convention in Lexington, KY.
The Shirley Parkinson Professional Achievement Award is presented to a professional horse person who, in addition to training and working their horses, goes above the average professional to work for and promote the UPHA to others within the industry. They must be of an unselfish nature and posses a total dedication to the improvement and advancement of the show horse industry. The 2002 convention in Lexington mark the inaugural presentation of this award to a person who is also celebrating her 30th year as a member of UPHA.

On of her friends said to hear, "I can't think of a better person to receive the inaugural award than Clara. Hers was the first name that came to my mind when they told me what the award was for and everyone on the executive board agreed." To my understanding, she was the only candidate mentioned this year.

The recipient of the Shirley Parkinson Professional Achievement Award began her life as horse person in the heartland of southern Indiana; the world of the old Stone House Farms, Ruxer Farms, Marty Meuller, Don Harris, Dudley Abbott, and the Shively's DeLovely Farm.

In high school, CJ was a familiar figure on the Kentucky/Indiana county fair circuit, winning several high point awards, while training her own horses. Her professional horse training career started along with college at the University of Evansville, (Ind.). Graduating on the Dean's List with a double major in biology and chemistry, CJ also trained, showed and gave riding instruction at Sunset Hill Farm owned by Dr. Shirley Price.

Early on, CJ stood out with the competitive string of Hackneys, Morgans, and Saddlebreds, such as Uptown Lady, Crystal Starlight, Wauseeka's Virginia and Stonewall's Highland Ace (the equitation horse that later did so well for Jim B.), as well as the amateurs she instructed. It was here that CJ also met my husband, Brian, for the first time. He was just 13 years old and working with Al Todd at BennyBrook Stales in Columbia City when CJ and Dr. Price went to purchase a practice horse, the aged world's champion gaited horse, The Lancer.

In her senior year at college, CJ became eligible to join a relatively new group, the UPHA. Becoming a part of the UPHA was something CJ wanted to join earlier, but could not due to the 21-year-old age limitation.

After her college days, CJ went to work for Raymond and Lillian Shively where she discovered that there was a whole lot more to learn about the horse industry from stud management to road horses, as well as serving with other in UPHA Chapter 11. For several years CJ was Chapter 11 Chairperson and got her feet wet helping organize the first winter tournaments as well as the River City Classic Horse Show, where she later served as chairperson.

In the late 70's, CJ moved to Georgia to take a position at Bob Jenkin's Spring Hill Farm and Chatahoochie Plantation Stables. CJ's show sting quickly included the five-gaited stallion, Prime Sensation, WC Meadow Glitter, WC Spring Valley's Game Cock, and the road horse, On Time (Later renamed as Remington Steele).

Clara moved to Myrt Canady's Pal-O-Mine to begin workign with Al Todd and Brian Reimer., where they showed and worked such horses as King's Joshua, Dating Game, Happy 21st, and Broker's Choice. While at Pal-O-Mine, Clara served as an officer in Chapter 17 and served on the ASHAG board and as vice president.

During her time as an officer in Chapter 17, the Pro Am Benefit Horse Show improved from being a one-day horse show to a three-day show. Clara also helped to set up several show horse presentations at Perimeter Mall in Atlanta, GA. She also presented many regional champions during this time., such as Jake's Lamborghini, Anastasia, Cabbage patch Doll, Illustrations Son and Sands Of Turquoise. Clara has served as Chapter 17 board of the Pro-Am Horse Show where she was co-chair of the show several times, helping the show grow to its current four-day schedule.

While managing her own barn in Athens, GA., Clara taught evening classes in horsemanship for the University of Georgia Continuing Education Program. Representing UPHA Chapter 17, she helped establish the Atlanta Equine Import Facility for the 1996 Olympics. During this time, she also met and married, Doug Flor, who has become a familiar face and an invaluable asset to Clara's equine career.

More recently, with the help of other Chapter 17 members, Clara has been able to set the Pro-Am Horse Show back on track to become a premier, state-of-the-art, Georgia Saddlebred show at the Georgia National Fairgrounds. UPHA Chapter 17 promoted the Perry site hard, as the facility has all of the requirements needed for a top-notch show.

As Chapter 17 chairperson, Clara helped host the UPHA National Convention in Atlanta, set up several successful clinics (such as riding and driving clinics with Marilyn Macfarlane) and tournaments. She has judged grassroots shows throughout Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina, as well as helped to organize Saddlebred, pony and roadster demonstrations at the Georgia Equine Fair in Perry.

Over the last 10 years on the UPHA board, Clara has worked as a contributing member with great forethought and willingness to "pitch in and do whatever is necessary." She has assisted with many of the projects including the upcoming MASCUP program.

Over the last five years, Clara has fought two battles wth cancer. While this was prevented her from being as active as she has wanted to be as a trainer, it has not stopped her. In her first year back in the show ring, she took her three-year-old, Shelby Of York and showed in the UPHA Classic at Kansas City. She continues to actively serve as UPHA Chapter 17 Chairperson. As someone said recently, "She's just one of the people who does her job and does it well…and those kind of people rarely are recognized for what they do."

My husband, Brian, introduced me to Clara over 15 years ago. The friendship that began back then has developed into a working relationship as well. Yes, we work together daily and are still great friends. It is an honor for me to present the Shirley Parkinson Professional Achievement Award to my loyal, hardworking, and dedicated friend, Clara Krause Flor.

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