Clark Bradley, riding instructor in the Western Equestrian Studies Program and assistant coach for the western Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) team, has made the decision to retire from his position at the University. Though his retirement was effective as of Jan. 1, he has committed to continue serving as the assistant coach for the IHSA team through the 2021 spring semester.
Bradley began teaching at, then, Findlay College in 1977 as an instructor in the Equestrian Program under the program’s founder, and Bradley’s longtime mentor, Dale Wilkinson. Having been an integral part of the University for a total of 33 years, he has made an incredible impact on the program, students, fellow faculty, and the equine industry as a whole.
“When I first came, Dale [Wilkinson] was more into cutting and reining and I brought in more of the pleasure and horsemanship to the program,” Bradley explained. Along with the addition of more avenues for students to explore, he continued to say, “The industry and our program have changed. We’ve been pretty upbeat on keeping up with trends. It’s been pretty rewarding to me to see the progress of students and our horses.”
Bradley helped many students enter and thrive in many facets of the equine industry and helped coach the IHSA team to several national championships and reserve national championships.
“After years of working for UF as a riding instructor and a lifelong career in the horse industry, Clark’s retirement is most certainly well-deserved,” said Meri Marsh, director of equestrian studies and equine management. “His contributions to our programs are endless, and his influence on the education of so many western equestrians is immeasurable.”
Outside of the University, Bradley has accomplished so much and has helped mold the equine industry into what it is today. Some including 2001 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Professional Horseman of the Year, National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Hall of Fame inductee, and All-American Quarter Horse Congress Hall of Fame inductee to name a few.
“Industry has changed a lot and improved so much,” Bradley said. “The quality of the horses and the quality of trainers have both gotten so much better and our students are very competitive professionally.”
“While we will all miss seeing him every day, we are also happy for Clark, knowing that he has reached this valuable milestone in his career,” Marsh said. Though he will no longer be actively instructing at the barn, he will forever be a part of the Findlay equestrian family and University community.
Details of a future celebration to appropriately honor his retirement will be forthcoming.