Meet the Coaches
Hunt Seat Coach
A South Carolina upstate native, Jamie grew up submerged in a horse-crazed childhood. She was the typical lesson barn rat before channeling her energy toward the hunter/jumper show scene as a teenager. Sustaining endless working student positions, Jamie earned the opportunity to show through her junior years in the hunter, jumper and equitation classes. While completing the Equine Business program at Clemson, she continued to develop her industry experience by working professionally riding and grooming for many reputable trainers in the southeast. After graduation, it took Jamie only a short time to return to her Clemson roots to become their Hunt Seat coach in January 2013. Years of hard work in the industry gained her the opportunity to ride many horses with great professionals— she expects the same diligence from her students. Her teaching style emphasizes the dedication to horsemanship and its way of producing safe, poised and effective riders.
Susan brings to the team 30 years of experience teaching and coaching students in all riding disciplines with an emphasis on western. During this time, she has qualified many horses and riders to regional and national titles within AQHA, APHA and USEF. She is the founding coach of two IHSA college teams, a previous IEA coach and the owner and operator of Wild Rose Performance Horses in Trenton, SC.
Vicki Merck began her riding career at a young age on a family horse farm in Oklahoma. She began showing when she moved to South Carolina at a young age, showing both western pleasure and hunt seat horse at local 4H and open shows. After graduating from the University of South Carolina, Vicki went to work for an AQHA all-around training farm. While there, Vicki placed 4thin the Western Riding at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. Vicki later moved on to become the head trainer for Storey Quarter Horses in Alabama where she managed their breeding, showing, and training programs. The Storeys showed both the AQHA and NRHA circuits and later decided to focus their program on reining horses. During her time with the Storeys, she qualified many horses for the AQHA World Show and coached several amateurs to world titles. After deciding to slow down from the busy world of horse showing, Vicki moved back to Seneca, SC with her husband and son. She began assisting Susan White in the coaching of the western team in the fall of 2019.
Dr. Vernon grew up in North Carolina's horse industry showing in local and A hunter shows, AQHA all around events and 4-H, and continued to show hunters in graduate school in Michigan. Dr. Vernon serves as the Director of the Horse Program at Clemson University, leading the activities of the Equine Center, SC 4-H Horse Project and the Equine Business classes within the Animal and Veterinary Sciences department. Dr. Vernon has helped to facilitate the recent growth of the equestrian team at Clemson, increasing riding opportunities and improved training facilities.