Kerry B Proud

(1991 – )
Owned by Nancy J. Bailey
Inducted: 2018

Photos

Kerry B Proud (popularly known as Clifford) has been an incorrigible prankster with a heart of gold ever since his out-of-the-box-stall career began in 2001.

This cheerful and curious Morgan gelding has been cracking open the traditional role of the horse as a vehicle and backyard hay burner. Clifford is an abstract artist who uses watercolors and a sponge to paint and signs his own biography, "Clifford of Drummond Island". Clifford is now a trilogy, with parts two ("Return to Manitou") and three ("Clifford’s Bay").

He has spent a great part of his life touring festivals and various events to promote the Morgan horse and literacy. Being house trained, he travels to schools, libraries and assisted living centers, painting pictures, and making an impact on everyone he meets.

Having a full-sized horse in a library provides a unique opportunity to send a message one will never forget. The focus of his program has been on empathy, with the idea that there are two ways to teach it to young people: 1) through reading and 2) through regular contact with animals. With a special affinity for children and people with disabilities, Clifford’s mission includes a look into the impact that animals have on people with disabilities and other needs.

Nancy had owned her first horse, Sharolyn, for only eight weeks when the mare was diagnosed with EPM and had to be humanely euthanized. Desperate for another Morgan, Nancy adopted Buckets, (now Clifford) who was born to a mother with no milk and had to be bucket-fed.

Having no experience training young horses, Nancy used a clicker and treated Clifford as if he were a puppy. The colt quickly learned a number of tricks, including playing fetch. His antics inspired the first book about him, and then his popularity inevitably followed.

In 2008, Clifford broke a bone chip off his left knee in a trailer accident and had a hard time overcoming the fear of traveling. Eventually, he recovered and has gone on to events all over the Eastern USA, signing books, doing meet and greet, and promoting literacy.

But this wasn’t his only challenge. In a sad and ironic twist of fate, in the fall of 2017, Clifford was stricken with EPM, the same disease that killed Nancy’s first horse, Sharolyn. Thanks to an immediate diagnosis and treatment, his recovery was rapid and by December he was paying visits to a senior center, painting Christmas ornaments for the kids.

"Clifford is one in a million", said Nancy. "He's proven to be many things – trail horse, babysitter, parade horse, practical joker, ambassador, trick horse, and best friend. His tremendous heart, good sense and love for people has opened up a door into the equine mind and shows how we are all connected."