SSHoF logoDr. Hilary Mary Clayton

Builder (1998)


Hilary Mary ClaytonHilary was a professor at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, at the University of Saskatchewan, from 1982 until 1997 and during that time, became one of the world's leading authorities on dressage.

She was born in Sheffield, England, grew up in a rural area, and as a small child, had an affinity for animals. Riding lessons were a natural progression, and like most young riders in England, she was an avid member of Pony Clubs.

After finishing high school, Hilary studied veterinary medicine at Glasgow University where she was also captain of the university riding team and participated in many European competitions. She graduated as a veterinarian in 1973 and then returned to Glasgow to get her PhD.

Hilary soon became involved in the Saskatchewan horse scene and was team manager for Saskatchewan at the 1983 Western Canada Summer games at Calgary. Her first brood mare purchase was Siggy and they competed successfully in dressage, hunter and jumper events in both Canada and the United States.

Hilary became chief instructor at the Rusty Spurs Pony Club, and later the Willow Ridge Pony Club, always emphasizing the fun and enjoyment of riding as well as teaching children the responsibility of caring for the horses. She became a certified equestrian coach, starting a long-term involvement with the National Coaching Certificate Program. She wrote a book, Conditioning Sport Horses, now used in colleges and universities all over the world.

Hilary was chosen by the International Olympic Committee to lead the biomechanical research team in the dressage competitions at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and headed the research team again at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Among her many international trips was one to Inner Mongolia, where she rode a camel in 1991, and others to China, Argentina, Australia, France and The Netherlands. Hilary was established as the first incumbent of the McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University in 1997.