Kristy Clarke has been clerk of the course at Byford trials since June 2017. We asked her a few questions about her experience with horses and her time at trials.
Age: Old enough to have four daughters and a grandson. My daughters Indianna and Stephanie both help out at the track, working on the track entrance gate for trials.
How did you get into horses?
When I was two years old my parents bought a farm in Toowoomba, Queensland, and it came with two palomino stock horses. My parents didn’t really know anything about horses – we just learned how it stay on.
What keeps you busy on weekdays?
I am stable manager at a thoroughbred stud in Serpentine. It is not a big stud but I prep some of the youngsters and I have broken a couple in for them and basically manage the farm.
What would you do on Sunday mornings if you didn’t have trials?
I won’t say go to church. Sleep in or go to a horse show or watch my daughter at pony club.
How many horses do you have?
I have four horses at the moment – too many.
How many horses would you have if you had unlimited funds?
Do you have anything else you want to achieve with horses?
I did have this goal of float training and being able to put any horse on the float but I think I might have almost mastered that, so I need a new goal. I am training my sister’s palomino quarter horse gelding to be a clerk horse at trials. We brought him over from Queensland and tried him as a clerk last year but didn’t really like the look of the track and started jumping fences so we gave him a break. I took him to a show jump day and he won both his rounds at 80cm. He is a work in progress. He has been back to trials a few times now with Estiarte and is progressing quite well.
What does it take to make a good clerk of the course horse?
All unicorns are grey horses but not all grey horses are unicorns.
It’s not easy to find and train clerking horses. The list of prerequisites is long
Grey gelding preferably
Between 15hh and 17hh
Not too old, not too young
Happy to stand quietly for long periods of time
Doesn’t kick or bite other horses
Good to lead other horses off and hold onto horses that are playing up.
Not scared of carts, crowds, bouncy castles etc.
Must go sideways as good as it goes forwards and backwards
Once you have all that established, you start taking it to tracks or trials and then country meetings.
I think I tried about four or five grey geldings before Eva gave me the grey thoroughbred Estiarte to try.
Timmy our bay thoroughbred gelding was pretty good from the start which was a blessing.
Who is the most annoying person you have to deal with at trials?
That would have to be Terry. Terry Atkins, definitely.