With 16 teenagers and several horses in your care, it’s easy to imagine that a typical day can be pretty hectic.
But for Karen Clark, the barn manager of the celebrated nonprofit organization Dressage4Kids’ Winter Intensive Training Program (WITP), this responsibility is exciting.
“I’ve known Lendon Gray, the founder of Dressage4Kids, for many years, and when she told me about starting WITP, I said, ‘Sure, we will do it together.’ I wanted to be a part of the most important aspect of these young riders’ relationships with their horses,” she said. “Teaching them how to take care of their horses means that they will have sound and happy horses to compete. It has been fun, and I have loved to see how much knowledge these riders soak in.”
Omega Alpha Pharmaceuticals, an all-natural equine health supplement company, was happy to reward Clark as the most recent winner of the Omega Alpha Best Barn Manager of the Season contest. After carefully reviewing the nominations, Omega Alpha representatives felt that Karen Clark best embodied characteristics of an outstanding barn manager.
Gray, a dressage Olympian, as well as all of the riders who participated in this past winter’s Dressage4Kids Winter Intensive Training Program, submitted nominations for Clark, detailing how she had made an impact in their dressage careers.
“I didn’t know the girls had entered me in the contest,” Clark said. “I was so surprised and extremely excited that they did this for me. When Omega Alpha contacted me, I was thrilled.”
Clark has been the barn manager for Dressage4Kids’ Winter Intensive Training Program for the past three years. “I chose to do this because I had run my own stable for more than 25 years. Horse care is extremely important to me, and especially for the competitive sport horse. I felt that many young riders today mostly board their horses and are not exposed to the daily care of their own horses. I wanted to change that,” Clark said.
Gray praised Clark for her efforts.
“Karen oversees 16 teenagers, most of whom are in Florida for the winter without their parents,” Gray said. “They are in the stable from 6:30 a.m. to about 5 p.m., and take turns doing night-check. Karen does all the management of the stable, and oversees all horse care, vets, farriers, chiropractors, dentists and saddle fitters — she is a miracle!”
Omega Alpha Pharmaceuticals, based in Toronto, Canada, recognizes barn managers as the backstage superstars of the show ring.
“We want to reward barn managers for their dedication to their jobs, horses and riders,” Omega Alpha CEO Dr. Gordon Chang explained.
Omega Alpha has been a leader in equine health products and supplements for more than 20 years.
The company develops natural equine products through research-based science, specializing in natural formulations for enhancing equine health and performance.
Learn more about Omega Alpha at www.omegaalpha.ca or call (800) 651-3172.
ABOVE: Karen Clark, barn manager of Dressage4Kids’ Winter Intensive Training Program, recently won the Omega Alpha Best Barn Manager of the Season contest.