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The Academy Program: On A Roll!



The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeder's and Exhibitor's Association held two academy riding certification clinics in 2002. The purpose of these clinics was to test potential and current riding instructors on their knowledge of Level I Walking Seat. The test consisted of an oral and written exam. Forty-six instructors were certified:  Yvonne H. Aymett, Lewisburg, TN; Bill Barnett, Collierville, TN; Rollie Beard, Lewisburg, TN; Leigh Bennett, Alvaton, KY; Ann Burkhalter, Christiana, TN; Ross A. Campbell, Cullman, AL; Nicole Carswell, Morehead, KY; Mary R. Cato, Lawrenceburg, TN; Barbara Civils, Frisco, TX; Faye Lynn Coffey, Shelbyville, TN; Pamella Conklin-Watson, Shelbyville, TN; Michelle P. Craig, Readyville, TN; Freda R. Dean, Lewisburg, TN; Bobby DeFriese, Chickamauga, GA; Lani E. Dennis, Morehead, KY; Leslie Derrickson, Morehead, KY; Meg Faulkner DuChaine, Oxford, MS; Florence Hall Edwards, Dawson, GA; Ginele A. Giambi, Lewisburg, TN; Candy Green, Shelbyville, TN; Chantel W. Heintz, Lewisburg, TN; Liz Hestle-Gassaway, Wartrace, TN; Margaret A. Hickman, Shelbyville, TN; Michael A. Jobe, Jonesborough, TN; Alice Klein, Lewisburg, TN; Carol Lamberson, Ringoes, NJ; Karen Lyles, Crossville, TN; Sarah S. Manes, Stoutland, MO; Regan Mercer, Bell Buckle, TN; Jane Meredith, Roswell, GA; Megan Mullis, Good Hope, GA; Donna Roddy, Jamestown, TN; Dee Dee Sale, Lewisburg, TN; Teresa Shafer, Knoxville, TN; Melanie Skidmore, Tuscaloosa, AL; Vandy Starnes, Collierville, TN; Linda Starnes, Brownsville, KY; Marguerite A. Thomas, Murfreesboro, TN; Russ Thompson, Chino, CA; Carol Wakefield, Lewisburg, TN; Paul Whitehead, Mt. Orab, OH; Edie L. Wittenmyer, Marshall, IL; Sara C. Womack, Murfreesboro, TN; Ricky Womack, Murfreesboro, TN; Trish Wooten, San Bernardino, CA; and Kathy Zeis, Douglasville, GA.

All students of TWHBEA Certified Instructors are eligible to show at the 2003 Winter Tournaments. The first Winter Tournament was held January 11, 2003 at Charles and Betty Mosley's Highland Stables, Bowling Green, KY.

It was a tremendous success with 68 entries and over 100 enthusiastic parents, family members and friends cheering the riders on. The next Winter Tournament will be held at Roger and Laura Mauney's Midland Equestrian Center in Shelbyville, TN, January 25, 2003. Other scheduled tournaments are: Saturday, February 8 at Highland Stables, Bowling Green, Kentucky and Saturday, February 22 at Midland Equestrian Center, Shelbyville, Tennessee.  The Walking Horse Report will provide complete coverage of these events in upcoming issues. 

   Understanding The Academy Program: 

Through the Academy Program, riding lessons for children and adults are available at hourly private or group rates on both performance show horses and flat-shod horses. The instructing stable generally owns the lesson horses. However, certified instructors may work out of their own stable, travel to the client and use the client’s horse, or travel to another stable and use lesson horses owned by that stable. Riding lessons are usually given during the late afternoon and early evening so they do not interfere with the stable’s training operation. 

Riding lessons expose a larger audience to the smooth and easygoing Tennessee Walking Horse. One may opt to take riding lessons before making the decision to purchase a horse or without incurring the expenses of ownership. Academy Shows and Classes allow riding students to compete on a level playing field. Only those whom have never shown in regular shows and are currently enrolled in a lesson program may participate.  

At Academy shows, regular classes and equitation classes are offered. However, the criteria for judging regular classes are not based on the performance of the horse, but on showmanship. Showmanship is defined as the ability of the rider to exhibit the horse to it's personal best. This encompasses ring awareness, presentation of the horse and overall conduct. Every decision a rider makes in the show ring including: collecting one's horse, passing on the outside, good ring position and overall control of the horse, are important showmanship factors. A mediocre horse teamed properly and shown to it's best will beat a better horse shown sloppily. 

  The Academy Program will attract new participants to the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry. It will create a wider market for older, well schooled, three gaited horses. All of our horses can't be World Grand Champions nor is it realistic to expect a large percentage to be outstanding. This program will give performance show horses and flat-shod show horses of all ability an opportunity to compete and be of value in the market place. As this program grows, our breed will gain more respect in equestrian disciplines. 

For more information regarding the Academy Program contact; Jane Meredith, Chairperson for TWHBEA Academy Sub-Committee, 770-518-1914, Joni Jenne, Youth and Performance Show Horse Coordinator, TWHBEA, 800-359-1574 or Mark Taylor, Director of Sponsorships and Promotions, WHOA, 615-890-9120.

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