Leaving Tomorrow For Friendsville, Tenn.

I wanted John, my non-horsey husband, to understand just how excited I was about riding in Melanie Smith Taylor’s TaylorMade clinic this week.

Imagine, I told him, basketball wasn’t just something you liked to do on Saturday mornings, but your greatest passion. Imagine living for the next game, replaying every previous game in your mind a thousand times in excruciating detail, devouring even the most obscure games between Division Three teams, spending hours surfing the internet for basketball information, blowing your extra – and some non-extra — dollars on basketballs, basketball clothes, basketball buffers and basketball lessons. Now imagine you had the chance to spend four days with Michael Jordan, with him teaching you how to shoot hoops.

“I still think your nuts,” he said.  “But I guess the clinic is better than the loony bin.”

John’s nursed me through too many injuries to fully embrace my passion/obsession with horses. But he understands how miserable I am when I don’t ride, so off I go tomorrow morning to Friendsville, Tenn., with his blessing and our joint check book.

I just finished packing: four pairs of breeches and my version of tasteful polo shirts (lime green, electric blue, etc). All Ebay buys so I can save my pennies for horse shows. I’d never wear such subdued clothing in my daily life, but when in hunter land….. Next time around I’m going for the sequins in Western pleasure classes.

The clinic officially starts Thursday morning at 7. But there is a riders’ meeting tomorrow at 5 pm. My plan is to post every evening and include a list of the best things we learned that day. There are 22 riders, tentatively divided into four groups. Things could change after we complete our Byzantine riding test. Good thing my trainer, Gordon Reistrup, has been putting me through similar drills, otherwise I’d be panicked about riding it. 

Here it is:

EVALUATION RIDE –DAY 1
(Use options as desired )
#1-8 designate where transitions are to be made
1. Lead horse into ring . Mount from ground or mounting block.
2. Walk on loose rein down short side of arena between 8 and 2.
3. Establish contact at 2 and show more energetic walk to 3.
4. At 3 Halt and back FOUR steps.
5. Continue at posting trot .
6. Sitting trot at 5 followed by a small circle.
7. From 6 to 8 show right leg yield staying parallel to track towards center of ring then left leg
yield back to track .
8. Posting trot at 8.
9. Halt at 1, Turn on Forehand to change direction.
10. Return to posting trot showing more energy or lengthening of stride between 8 and 6.
11. Sitting trot at 6.
12. Small circle at 5 followed by halt at 5.
13. Turn on Forehand at 5 to change direction.
14. Walk forward five steps to left lead canter departure.
15. Canter serpentine of 4 loops showing either simple or flying changes of lead as you cross
center line. You will end up going to the right.
16. Halt at 1 followed by Turn on Haunch or walk half turn.
17. Walk forward five steps and repeat Turn on Haunch or walk half turn in opposite direction.
18. Pick up posting trot at 1 and trot three cavaletti on next diagonal line.
19. Transition to canter over 2 rails 48’ apart on same line.
20. Transition to posting trot at 5 and trot either the crossrail or 2’ vertical.
21. Continue at canter over either 2’6” or 3’6” oxer.
22. Halt on straight line at 1 and center your horse.
23. Leave arena on loose rein.
© 2012, Taylor Made Horsemanship

Happy Trails

Jody

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About jodyjaffe

Author of the Nattie Gold equine mystery series which was featured in People Magazine and translated into a variety of languages I can't read. Co-author of "Shenandoah Summer," and "Thief of Words." As a journalist, I was on the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for the PTL scandal in which I profiled Jessica Hahn.
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One Response to Leaving Tomorrow For Friendsville, Tenn.

  1. Have a wonderful time! Yesterday when I tried to read, computer told me it had inappropriate content. Can’t imagine what that would have been unless it was the Western sequins. Ride on!

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