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The showjumping community mourns the loss of Clark Shipley

Sunday, 23 August 2020
In memoriam

Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping Very sadly, Clark Shipley has passed away. Photo © Jenny Abrahamsson for World of Showjumping.

Very sadly, Clark Shipley – well-known in the showjumping world as long-time groom for Beezie Madden – has passed away at the age of 61. 

Beezie and John Madden have released the following statement on their official Facebook account: 

“Clark Shipley, longtime member of the John Madden Sales family, lost his battle with cancer on August 22nd 2020 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, New York. Clark was 61 years old.

Clark grew up in rural Iowa, learning about horses through the world of harness racing. He had horses in his blood and went to work for his uncle, Iowa Harness Racing Hall of Fame’s Mike Arnold. Eventually Clark struck out on his own, racing and training Standardbreds, where he met his longtime girlfriend Sue Schlegel. 

Clark joined the JMS family in the early nineties and often joked about how he was hired. In his own words, “What I tell people is that they wanted Sue so bad, they took me. I was the ‘player to be named later’ in the baseball trade,” Clark would say. 

But of course Clark became the behind the scenes backbone of the team. Clark brought the balance and the fun to the high pressure moments that come with international travel and high stakes competitions. With top horses like Authentic, Simon, Cortes ‘C’, Darry Lou, Desilvio, Breitling, and countless more, under his care, Clark travelled the world, bringing his common sense attitude along. 

Clark was known for his love of dogs, Harley Davidson motorcycles, Dr Mcgillicuddy’s Mentholmint, and quiet mornings in his chair in the barn, drinking his coffee and reading the paper. Clark was always quick with a joke or story, often inappropriate, and not shy about sharing his opinion. He loved the horses best of all. 

Even after a lifetime of experience Clark would speak about how a horseman is always learning, saying to the Chronicle, “you meet a lot of people and see a lot of different things and ways of doing things everywhere you go. If you ever think you know everything, you’re in trouble. You can always learn something.” 

If you had the honor of knowing Clark, take a shot of Doctor or Jack Daniels tonight, and take an extra quiet moment at night check or morning feed to appreciate the horses and dogs in your life.”

McLain Ward also paid tribute to Shipley – writing: 

“Clark was a true professional and a good friend to our entire Cast Hill family. So sorry to hear this news. We all traveled the world together and accomplished some wonderful achievements with Clark. I’ll never forget the adoring nickname he gave Sapphire, she was always bucket head. Godspeed Clark and our condolences to his family, and the entire JMS family.”

At World of Showjumping, our sincere condolences go out to Shipley’s family, everyone at Team Madden and all those that were close to him and loved him. 


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