Grand Prix dressage rider, trainer, and coach, and member of the USEF Development Program
Claire is a United States Dressage Federation Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalist, recipient of the USDF Gold, Silver and Bronze Freestyle Bar, USDF Horse of the Year award winner, and has competed in a total of 11 USEF National Championships, including the 2013 USEF Festival of Champions, the 2012 Developing Horse Grand Prix Championship, and the 2011 Pan American Games Selection Trials. Claire completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies at Baylor University, receiving her Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing, in 2009 and her Master's of Science in Education, Sport Management, in 2011. Claire has been riding and training full-time since graduation, starting with several years operating her own business in Central Texas. She relocated to the West Coast in 2014, working for Jan Ebeling in Southern California for two years before moving north to a beautiful private facility in Port Townsend, Washington. In 2018, Claire teamed up with Aaron Janicki of Janicki Dressage to work with him and his string of dressage sales horses, and she is now accepting clients under her own Darnell Dressage in Moorpark, California, roughly one hour from Los Angeles.
Claire began riding at the age of 2, and was riding dressage movements on her pony, Daisy, at the same time she was learning to read and write. Earning her Bronze Medal at age 13 and her Silver Medal at age 15, Claire has successfully competed several horses at the FEI levels. In 2016, she earned her Gold Medal and Gold Freestyle Bar on her own Calimar, whom she has owned since he was a yearling. Claire's primary competition horse, Harrold S, was named 2017 USDF Horse of the Year at Training Level and Materiale with median scores over 82%, in addition to Reserve Champion at First Level with a median score over 79%. In 2018, the pair was invited to the USEF Development Program and won the Foreign Rider Championship at the Pacific Regional Dressage Championships in British Columbia with scores to 75% at Third Level.
Claire teaches the classical training scale through positive reinforcement, which she learned from her mother, USEF 'S' Dressage Judge, Joan Darnell, and is evident in both the performance and attitude of all her horses and riders in training.