University of Findlay and Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Western equestrian team coach Clark Bradley was honored Saturday evening, Oct. 26, at the Ohio Quarter Horse Congress with the 2013 Living the Mission Award.
Each year, the Southern Belle Invitational seeks to recognize outstanding professional trainers who exhibit behaviors that reflect the equine industry in a positive light in the Quarter Horse community. The prestigious award is presented each year in recognition of the professional equine trainer that demonstrates character, integrity and stewardship in their life and business practices.
“We search for professional horsemen and women that we believe are ambassadors to the community and reflect the equine industry in a positive light. These individuals encourage others to become involved in equine events so that they may recognize the positive rewards and impact that horses can play in their lives,” announced Connie Hill with The Southern Belle and OQHA.
“These are individuals who do the right thing even when no one is looking; they serve the equine industry and their communities outside the equine world with a servant’s heart and look to improve the community around them for their fellow man. These individuals place the welfare of the horse above the consideration for winning.”
Bradley, who has dedicated his life to helping horse enthusiasts achieve their dreams, is an OQHA Past President and has served for more than 40 years on its Board of Directors. His father, Stretch Bradley, was inducted in 1982 into the Quarter Horse Congress Hall Of Fame.
“Clark Bradley,” nominated one of his students, “has been an inspiration not only in the classroom and show arena, but also in life. He and his wife have been role models that have served students well when life’s stress creeps up as it does for all of us at one time or another.”
Another recalled the Clark home as always open: “He is our surrogate parent.”
“While I would not want my name revealed,” penned a Findlay alum and nominator, “I feel moved, compelled, to send this nomination for Clark Bradley. I am a Findlay graduate and there were times in my life during those years that I made some bad choices. Clark could have given up on me, a lot of people would have, my own family did. He never sugarcoated anything for me. He talked to me like an equal and his experience and wisdom made me the successful professional I am today. I owe my happy marriage, my intact family and my successful training business to the experiences I had from one of the greatest mentors in this industry, Clark Bradley. He literally changes lives by his involvement in the equine industry.”
For Bradley, whose timeless horsemanship earned him several top 10 finishes at this year's Congress, including the Ranch Horse Pleasure reserve championship title, the recognition was completely unexpected.
“It was a total surprise to me. We were sitting in the stands during a break in the Masters when my wife, Bonnie, told me to stop for a moment and listen to the announcer. I heard them say, '...the recipient is Clark Bradley' and thought, oh my...”
Since 2000, Bradley has coached five University of Findlay teams to the IHSA National Championship and AQHA High Point Western Team Trophy (2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010).