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UPHA Young Trainer Of The Year - Clark Clouse



 

 Clark Clouse (center) was presented

Young Trainer Of The Year Award

by Matt Shiflet (l) and Bret Day (r)

Photo by Jane Jacobs.

 

 

(Editor’s Note: The following speech was read by Matt Shiflet Saturday, Jan. 5, 2008, at the UPHA/AHHS Convention in Roanoke, Va.)


“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing then you will succeed.” This quote defines why the recipient of the 2007 Young Trainer’s Award was chosen. This year’s recipient possesses an undeniable love for these horses and the industry and is deserving of this award.

         

The Young Trainer Of The Year Award is given tonight to a man who describes his favorite part of the day as the morning when he can hear the horses eating. It is a man who has a great love for gaiting colts. It is a man whose proudest moment in the industry was this year when his junior exhibitor won the world’s championship. It is a man who is full of life and happiness and shares it willingly with others. We are honored to present the 2007 UPHA Young Trainer Of The Year Award to Clark Clouse.

         

It all started with his father, Tommy Clouse. Tommy was born in Richmond, Ky., and began riding when he was 12 years old. Throughout the years Tommy farmed and trained horses in Richmond. He married Connie and they had two sons, Clay and Clark. Clark began riding when he was very young. He debuted as a lead line star in his red and black racing silks riding his black road pony. His parents then purchased horses that had been donated to Morehead State University for Clark to ride. “Some were broke and some were outlaws and that’s what I would get to ride,” stated Clark.

         

He was also very involved in baseball and basketball. He played on all-star teams and was at a decisive moment when he was 12 years of age. Should he follow his gift of riding or continue with sports? When he was 16 years old, Clark worked for his father at the Richmond farm in the summer. He had a string of five head to experiment on. When his father saw he was going down the wrong path he would step in and fix some of the things Clark had done.


At the age of 16, Clark’s dream came true and he made his debut on a five-gaited pony named Jolly Boy. From there on, Clark was mentored by his father at the Richmond farm.


Clark’s father continues to be very important to him. Clark gives Tommy credit for teaching him how to rack a colt. Tommy jokes that Clark would rack everything in the barn if he could. Clark still calls Tommy every day to ask for advice or run ideas by him and Tommy still comes to the barn on Saturdays to see the horses work.


Over the years Clark has had the privilege of working many world’s champions and reserve world’s champions including The Perfect Face, Wild Wonderful, Zara Spook, Promise Me Fame, Déjà Vu’s Delight, Son, Moon And Stars, Whimsicality, Lady Lenaire, Cameo’s Carte Blanche, Hokus Pokus Dominocus, Legacy’s Super Idol and Gothic Revival.


However, some of those he has worked stand out. One of Clark’s earliest stars in the show ring was Cabaret Girl. He trained her as a two- and three-year-old and went on to sell her to the Streds. The next star was the mare Dream’s Desire. She was pulled out of a field and put back to work in the late ‘90s. Clark was 21 and the youngest at the time to win the Five-Gaited Mare Stake at Lexington.


Another five-gaited phenomenon came to Clark as a youngster. Glider’s Star was gaited by Tommy and went on to train with Clark. Always being the crowd favorite, she went on to win the mare class at the Kentucky State Fair with Matt Shiflet.


Lime Twisted Gin was owned by the Hundred Acre Wood Farm from Ashland, Ky. Throughout his career he has earned titles from Lexington Junior League and Louisville as a walk-trot and a park horse, including this year’s win of the Park Grand Championship at Lexington for the second consecutive year.


One of Clark’s greatest accomplishments came when he won the Two-Year-Old Three-Gaited World’s Championship with a mare named Radiante in 2003. Showing his versatility as a trainer, he then went on to win the Kentucky County Fair Five-Gaited World’s Championship with her for Elmo Lee Greer.


Other 2007 accomplishments include winning the reserve world’s championship county fair three-gaited class with Last Tango In Paris and winning the National Championship Five-Gaited Junior Exhibitor class with his new team The Decisive Moment and Suzanna Crews.


However, two of Clark’s greatest accomplishments of 2007 were Hoss and Memories Paragon. Colonel Hoss was the 2006 National Junior Exhibitor Five-Gaited Champion and Grand Champion. He was also the 2007 Five-Gaited Reserve World’s Champion of Champions with Justin Cowley.


Regardless of the success that this team has had, Clark and Justin’s relationship is what is truly special. They know how to speak to one another, and Clark will tell anyone that training Justin and Colonel has been a changing point for him as a trainer.


Justin states, “As a juvenile, Clark builds you with so much confidence. He allows you to ride different horses and he challenges you to always grow into a better, smarter rider. I think Clark and I get along so well because we are so much alike.” Justin and the entire Beachum family has opened Clark up to working successfully with juveniles and amateurs.


Memories Paragon though is the horse in 2007 that has taken a spot in Clark’s heart. Clark loves a challenge as you all may know and Paragon has definitely been a work in progress for Clark this year. Shelia states, “In the process of trying to get Paragon to trust him, he became Clark’s buddy. Paragon is the horse in the barn that our son rides, and he is the only horse that Clark says he would miss if he left. He taught Clark probably as much as Clark tried to teach him.” Someone asked Shelia if she was nervous watching Clark show Paragon and she simply stated no. She says, “I honestly believed that Clark could get him to do what he wanted him to do because I had seen the two of them bond.”


Paragon ended up as Reserve World’s Champion Five-Gaited Gelding and National Champion Five-Gaited Gelding. After seeing Paragon’s progress throughout the year, Mr. Steve Wheeler said that Paragon not only needed a great trainer but a real horseman. I think that defines Clark Clouse.


The turning point of the Clouse Stables business, which allowed all this success to happen, came about in 2006 when Clark married Shelia Sanders in the Grand Caymans. Once Clark and Shelia became settled in Kentucky, their business began to outgrow the Richmond farm. In January of 2007 they purchased their 41-stall facility in Versailles, Ky. To add to their expanding business Clark and Shelia also expanded their family. Carter Clouse was born in February of 2007.


Clark is as selfless as they come. He is willing to help anyone who is in need, and he is a man who lives for his family. He has a variety of interests that help him stay grounded including his love of sports, especially UK basketball. He enjoys going to dinner and the movies and he likes hanging out with his friends. However, his greatest love beyond his family is the horses and this industry, which he continues to give back to.

Clark you are a true friend and great sportsman. We are very honored to present the UPHA Young Trainer Of The Year Award to you.


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