First, let me apologize. This post should have been published many, many weeks ago. And again, I am going to use the predictable excuse... I've been so busy! However, I want to fill all of you in on another important aspect of my week in Tennessee before moving on to what is currently going on with my horses.
Maria and Arielle, fellow Harry Whitney students, own a farm right up the road from Mendin' Fences. They have a lot of experience in vaulting, which is basically gymnastics on horses. One evening they asked if I would be interested in coming out one day after the clinic was over to learn about vaulting, and naturally, I said YES! I have always had an interest in vaulting, so I jumped at the chance to learn more.
When we first got to their farm, after unloading their horses from the trailer, Arielle described and performed the 6 compulsory moves on the vaulting practice barrel. I then got on and she walked me through the moves again: rider's (or basic) seat, flag, mill, scissors, stand, and flank. Once I was comfortable with them on the barrel, we headed out to the arena with big Thor (their Clydesdale vaulting horse).
Arielle hopped on first and showed me the moves again while Thor walked out, then it was my turn. I went through all the moves at either a walk or with Thor standing still. I learned how to dismount properly, and also how to do "run outs" (where the vaulter runs out to get in stride with the horse so he can mount). Arielle and I did some doubles moves, and eventually I got to where I could stand on his back without holding onto Arielle as he walked.
All in all, it was REALLY fun and I really enjoyed getting the chance to learn more about vaulting. I am so thankful Arielle and Maria offered to have me over to learn. I have been looking into teams in the area, but the closest I know of is Blacksburg. I'll keep searching for teams in Roanoke, because I am very interested in being more involved with it.
Harry is a close family friend of Maria and Arielle, so he came out that afternoon and used his photography skills to take these cool pictures while we vaulted!