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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dr. Hilary Clayton Wins Two National Dressage Awards

Hilary Clayton PhD MRCVS, McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, proved once again this year that she was talk the talk and piaffe the piaffe, as she won two US Dressage Federation/Arabian Horse Association first place awards in Fourth Level and Prix St Georges levels.

In both upper level standings, Hilary was riding her talented MSU MAGIC J+//, an Arabian gelding bred by the Michigan State horse breeding program and selected by Hilary for training in dressage based on his movement, rather than his conformation.

Lest you think that Magic is a one-horse wonder, Hilary also won the national championship at First Level with her young horse, MSU FANFARE+/, another campus homebred, who also placed third nationally at Training Level.

Both horses have won national championships in the past few years.

Dr. Clayton competes the horses both at breed shows and at open shows. She keeps the horses at home most of the year and cares for them herself. During the rough Michigan winters, the horses live on campus, where they can be ridden indoors.

Five years ago, Dr. Clayton was seriously injured in a trailer mishap while loading her horses. She has made a remarkable recovery to be able to ride again, let alone ride at the upper levels. I had the pleasure of grooming for her at the Michigan Arabian Horse Show in May...and I'm glad I don't have to compete against her!

By the way, Hilary has kept both these horses sound and competing at the very top of national levels without ever having shod either horse. Her farrier is Kappi Roghan, who applies what they term a "physiological trim" which Hilary has been analyzing in her laboratory with hoof anatomy expert Robert Bowker DVM.

I wonder what she does in her spare time...

By the way, Hilary is one of several generous contributing editors to Hoofcare & Lameness Journal. She is also author of the books, Conditioning Sport Horses, and The Dynamic Horse, both available from

Congratulations, Hilary!

Photos courtesy of Dr. Hilary Clayton.

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