by Mary A. Palmer

BUSHNELL, Fla. - On Saturday, April 25, 2009, Tracy Pinson and Wayne Conkle of Darby Oaks Stables hosted a versatility clinic. There were 22 horse and rider combinations attending as well as over 20 auditors. The participants were instructed in side-passing, backing, cantering and several obstacles which included a water obstacle, bridge, trash, ditch, mats and tires. Pinson discussed de-spooking and de-sensitizing your horse, instilling confidence, how to safely approach obstacles and teach your horse to maneuver them safely.

Diane McMurtrey was also on hand to explain about the different versatility programs available through TWHBEA. McMurtrey, a certified versatility judge, also put each participant through a mock trail course, and then provided their scores and suggestions. Mounted Police Officer Lt. Sean Watson of the Bushnell Police Department was also available with his mount, Sgt. Ginger, to discuss the roles of police horses.

The participants broke for a country-style lunch from the Speckled Butter Bean Country Style Buffet. For those participants who stayed over a trail ride was held at Croom Forest on Sunday morning. Everyone agreed it was a great weekend of good food, horses and fun.