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MAKING A DIFFERENCE one rider
and one horse AT A TIME

Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun! At the beginning of my career as an equestrian clinician, I was in awe of the great Martha and R.E. Josey. At that time, they boasted over 10,000 riders through the Team Josey program. Wow, I thought, “How is there room in our industry for another barrel racing clinician, and how do I compete with the Josey legacy?”

Today, thirty years later and well into my career as a clinician and performance coach, I have entered the lives of close to 12,000 horses and riders throughout 40 states, four provinces of Canada, Australia, Europe and South America. It is tough for any clinician to make a big impact technically in a few short days, but it is an opportunity to make an impression in someone’s life. I am grateful to have that opportunity, and as I hone my personal skills and presentation, I continue to take my platform of equestrian education and individual support very seriously.

Sharon Camarillo with Virginia Berry
Sharon and Donna Irvin

As a Traveling Professor for Black Hawk College, I have even more opportunity and resource to make a difference in my student’s lives. It is an honor to work with Donna Irvin, Professor of Equestrian Science at Black Hawk, to partner in educational resources, whether it is in recruiting students for the equestrian and academic program or working with passionate barrel racers at the beautiful and state-of-the-art facility in Kewanee, Illinois.

My students inspire me, and anytime I can thank them for their interest in my program and their personal dedication to their horses, I do. Each in their own way has fascinating stories of both success and challenge. Our recent program at Black Hawk College is just one example of the lives we touch. At 11 years-old, young Lexi Mentgen is just beginning her horsemanship and competitive journey. Big blue eyes and curly blond hair gives Lexi presence, but her passion for her horse and interest in the sport of barrel racing endures this young cowgirl in the making to anyone who has the opportunity to work with her. Albeit the youngest, Lexi was just one of several young riders who demonstrated their passion for the sport. Shannon Jones, after her first clinic experience, took our advice and researched additional riding resources to build on her equestrian education. She chose introduction to dressage and on her second trip to the Performance Horsemanship Program at Black Hawk, entered the arena with poise and presence and an admirable understanding of her horse. After 35 years away from horses, Terri Wilson from Greenfield, Indiana, choose the Camarillo Clinic as the program to help her transition back into the world of horses and competition and has been back four times.

“I was at least 50 pounds over weight and was riding a horse that was hard to handle. I realized that without help I would not have the ability to stay in the saddle, let alone safely compete. Applying the skills and philosophies I have learned from Sharon, Cheryl and Donna, has given me what I need to successfully live my dream as a barrel racer.”

At 70 years-young, Jerry Follas attended the program to learn how to get his horse introduced to the sport. “I just love the sport of barrel racing,” stated Jerry after his second clinic. Yvonne Skinner shared the fact that after 30 years of training horses for her children, she was taking time for herself.

Each of our Performance Horsemanship and Next Level riders duly noted their designated performance evaluations and worked diligently in improving their skills and performance.

What I enjoy most is the fact that what I do as a clinician is not just about the horsemanship. Working with the horses, building confidence and skills, answering questions, and solving problems revolves around the commonality of the horse, but touching lives, honoring commitment and passion, and sharing resources for success is what is most rewarding to me. What I hope my legacy reads is that I made a difference one rider and one horse at a time!

Happy horsemanship, ride safe and smart and remember to join with me in enjoying the process and the journey!