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THE SUNSHINE COAST NEWSPAPER COLUMN: UNDER THE RADAR AND UNDER ACKNOWLEDGED

By Graham Potter | Friday, September 7, 2018

Graham Potter writes a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast daily. Due to demand from those having trouble accessing the paper these columns are now also published on HRO courtesy of the Sunshine Coast daily. This particular story is an extended version of the story that appeared in the newspaper which was restricted due to space constraints

You see them … but you don’t really notice them unless something really drastic is going on which is really strange in a way because the horses they ride do stand out.

Such is the under-the-radar role of the clerk of the course.

Under the radar and certainly under acknowledged!

Watching Ryan and Courtney Tyrell, amongst others, at work in that role over many meetings at the Sunshine Coast it suddenly struck me how little I had understood or appreciated what work is put into a clerk of the course’s horse training and the rider expertise that is required to make them a suitable team for the job.

When you don’t know … you ask … and Ryan and Courtney were happy to educate me on the subject.

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“We source potential clerk of the course horses on their character,” explained Ryan. “It might surprise people to learn that they actually need to have a bit of mongrel in them … but they can’t be nasty.

“Some of those horses we lead at the races will lay all over them, bite them and push them around. They have got to be able to take a fair bit, cop it, and not get cranky but they also have to do enough to help keep that horse in line.

“At home we spend a fair bit of time teaching them our leg-aids. When we put our left leg on, they’ve got to move to the right and vice versa … right leg on, move to the left. Our legs are pretty much steering them.

“We also have to teach them a lot of neck-reining because you’ve got to remember we’ve only got one hand that we’re riding with.

"When we are using a neck-rein we are only using one hand to steer both ways … we don’t have the option like most people who ride left rein, left hand … right rein, right hand.

"We only have one hand available because we are leading a horse with the other hand so we hold the reins together and move them across their necks.

“They’ve got to be pretty finely turned in the sense that where-ever you ask them to go they have to respond to it and you’ve got to know they are going to be there for you.

Full article

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From Ryan Tyrell ...
From Ryan Tyrell ...

"I tell Courtney she’s got a unicorn because her horse comes out looking so pretty because she prides herself on having him look immaculate …
"I call my bloke (Clarkie) a dingo because you’d swear he just came out of the bush … but they all do their jobs."


Photos: Graham Potter
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