Corcoran: I was lucky enough to work for Mike Plumb, who was an eventer, an 8x Olympian, back when I was in my early twenties. I’ve never worked so hard, but I’ve never learned so much at the same time.
I had a horse that was sort of fidgeting on the crossties, and I kept trying to get him to stand still, and he would back up and lean up against it and then come forward again. And Mike looked at me and he said, ‘I really need you to help me teach this horse to stand still in the crossties.’ And then he said, ‘Do you know why?’ I said, ‘No?’ And he said, ‘How am I supposed to get this horse to stand still at X if I can’t get to stand still in the crossties?’ And I thought, I guess my job’s pretty important then, isn’t it?
Working for Karen and David O’Connor was also a constant learning curve. I have been able to go to six continents and multiple international events. And I remember one time we had a lot of the top younger riders with us, and they were asked, ‘If you could be successful or a good horseman, what would you be?’ More than half of them were saying, ‘Oh, I want to be successful, I want to be successful.’
And David kind of looked at them – he does this weird thing with his eyebrow and he sort of stares at you – and he said, ‘No, that’s not the right answer.’ And they asked, ‘What is the answer?’ ‘The answer is, he said, ‘If you’re a good horseman, you will be successful.’ End of story.