Clarissa was named the 2022 Practical Horseman Trainer of the Year in recognition for her outstanding contributions to the equine industry as a trainer and coach. The Trainer of the Year award was created as a way to honor the unsung heroes of our sport—trainers who work tirelessly to improve the education of both riders and horses—with a special commemorative gift provided by Cosequin® Joint Health Supplements.
Clarissa’s students nominated her for the award by first writing an essay describing why she deserved to be named Practical Horseman’s Trainer of the Year. From the essays, 10 semi-finalists were chosen to submit a short video highlighting their nominated trainer.
In the video, one student said, “I have known Clarissa for 20 years now. I started riding with her when I was 7 or 8 years old. I mean, forget ‘Trainer of the Year.’ She’s been the ‘Trainer of my Life.’”
Clarissa, also known as “Chizzy,” runs her training business, Wilmerding Equestrian, focusing on horses and riders of all abilities in Califon, New Jersey. She is also the head trainer at Jenny and Greg Morris’ Hunts End Farm in Gladstone, New Jersey, and Ocala, Florida.
She grew up in Mendham, New Jersey, where she fostered her love of horses through the Somerset Hills Pony Club and the Essex Fox Hounds. Clarissa gained experience during seven years in England as head groom for acclaimed British eventer Jane Holderness-Roddam, who had given clinics at Wilmerding’s Pony Club. Holderness-Roddam won an Olympic team gold medal in eventing in 1978, won Badminton Horse Trials twice (1968 and 1978) and the Burghley Horse Trials in 1976. In England, Wilmerding rode in her first Advanced competition and she soon discovered a passion for breeding and producing young horses.
When she returned to the states, people were coming for riding lessons, in addition to bringing horses for training. Soon after, Clarissa’s business took off and she dedicated herself to training.
This week’s episode is brought to you by: Cosequin® ASU Pellets, the joint health supplement veterinarians and champions choose when performance matters, comes in a tasty pellet preferred by horses and horse owners. The ingredients have been shown in cell culture studies to be more effective in reducing the breakdown of cartilage than glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate alone. Learn more at cosequinequine.com.