Clifford the Big Red Horse


Clifford with the Cornell University Equestrian Team at his 20th birthday celebration. Photo by Lisa Cameron

For 14 years, “Clifford” has been an IHSA star representing Cornell University as an athlete, a teacher, and an institution. For the Cornell University Equestrian Team coaching staff, Clifford is more than just another horse: he is a colleague. In Spring 2019, Clifford’s happy and healthy retirement came sooner than anticipated, at 23 years young. 

During his tenure at Cornell, this 16.3 hand warm-blood gelding—donated by trainer Gary Duffy—was ridden by numerous IHSA hunt seat champions, taught countless riders from the Walk-Trot to Open divisions, and even helped vaulter Megan Benjamin prepare for the FEI World Equestrian Games. Clifford helped to prepare CUET for many wins at the Ivy League Championship Show, their first IHSA Regional Championship in 2011, and the team’s first appearances at Zones and Nationals. Clifford competed at IHSA Nationals nine times, and during each year he was in contention for Horse of the Year awards. In 2012, he was named the Leading Hunt Seat Horse at the IEA National Championships. His versatility led to success from Open fences to walk-trot. Clifford helped Cornell's program grow from a once-small club sports team into one of the most consistent and competitive Varsity athletic teams at Cornell University. Clifford's induction into the IHSA Hall of Fame honors his contributions to this important association.