Who is this Clayton Fredericks guy and why is he always giving us a thumbs up? Jenni Autry has the scoop.Photo by Samantha Clark.
Clayton Fredericks is in the running to be named the new Canadian eventing team coach, according to a press release published this morning by the Royal Horse Show. If Clayton is tapped for the job, he’ll be taking the reins from David O’Connor, who officially becomes the U.S. Eventing Chef D’Equipe and Technical Advisor next year. “When the job was initially mentioned to me I hadn’t really thought about retiring from riding and focusing solely on coaching, but I suppose a few things fell into place,” Clayton said. “It happened that I was looking to do more coaching, plus I was already planning to open a facility in Florida. I was told by a couple of the Canadian riders about the job and said that I would be interested. So Canada gave me a call and said they’d heard that I might be interested. I said, ‘Yes, absolutely.’”
Clayton indicated that Equine Canada intends to make a decision on who will coach the team by the end of the month, so we could be learning the news any day now. “No one has made a decision yet,” Clayton said. “I believe there are quite a few strong candidates. I’m a little bit in limbo about what I’m doing, because it really depends on what happens with that job. If I get that, then I will be committed to giving them 100 percent.” Giving Equine Canada 100 percent means that Clayton will retire from competing to focus solely on coaching. This announcement comes just days after Clayton finished second in the Fair Hill CCI2* on Pigrela Des Cabanes, a horse he has been training for a South African client, with the end goal of qualifying for the World Equestrian Games.
Clayton recently moved into his new U.S. base at Oak Lane Farm in Ocala, Fla., owned by Chuck and Anne Koch, which sets him up perfectly for a role as Canadian team coach, he said. With more than 600 acres and a cross-country course in the works, Clayton plans for the farm to play host to prestigious events in the future. “The scope of things really depends on the amount of people who want to come and be involved,” Clayton said. “There’s plenty of room for people to come and base with me.” Clayton said Sinead Halpin may be joining him at Oak Lane for the winter, and Michael Pollard is considering stabling with him for the winter as well.
Clayton would bring a wealth of experience as the coach of the Canadian eventing team. A team silver medalist at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and a member of the Australian eventing team in London this summer, Clayton’s competition history is peppered with accolades. Twice a World Cup champion — in 2005 and again in 2008 — Clayton also won an individual silver medal and team bronze medal at the World Equestrian Games in 2006. On U.S. soil, Clayton won Rolex in 2007 aboard Ben Along Time. Clayton also served as Hong Kong’s Chef d’Equipe at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea.