RIDING WITH LARRY WHITESELL by Dan Simmons
Dan is a member of The Arizona Morgan Horse Club. Dan’s wife Letha is President of the Arizona Morgan Horse Club as well as an advisor for the Morgan Single-footing Horse Association. Dan and Letha raise both gaited and non-gaited Morgans and do a great job of promoting them all over the Southwest United States. See their website at www.ledanmorgans.com
AMHA, MSFHA and the Morgan horse breed made a pretty good impression among multiple breeds at a recent Larry Whitesell Gaited Horse Clinic in Arizona. Promoting the Morgan Horse! They love them!
“My wife Letha and I made plans nearly a year ago to ride in Larry Whitesell’s Cave Creek Arizona clinic this past weekend, November 11-13. Being relatively new to the gaited side of Morgandom, we were anxious to acquire some skills at riding and training gaited Morgans. I can say without any reservation, this was the best spent time and money we have ever committed to increasing our equine riding skills and knowledge! Letha didn’t have a gaited Morgan of age ready to go and took her almost five year old non-gaited mare Ayla, and I took my four and a half year old gaited gelding Rose K Sunday Star (Dia H Paladin x Mary Mels Snipper). Turns out Letha’s concerns about showing up with a non-gaited horse were unwarranted (in more ways than one; more on that later). Although Larry targets gaited horses for his clinics, the Classical riding approach he teaches apply to any horse. Larry studied under the masters of the Spanish Riding School and their 400 years plus tradition of expert riding skills, which is very difficult to even get admitted to; you have to be an accomplished rider to start with to even be considered. Larry says it has been his experience that when you learn to put a gaited horse in the correct frame and you ride it with the correct seat and aids, you will free it up to naturally gait on its own.
Letha and I had the only Morgans at the clinic and fielded a lot of questions about gaited Morgans from people at the clinic. These ranged from folks who didn’t know there were gaited Morgans; or thought all or most Morgans were gaited; or knew almost nothing about Morgans in general. It was a good opportunity to spread the word about our wonderful gaited Morgans. Larry mentioned that he had trained only four gaited Morgans in all the gaited horses he had trained over the years and commented they had really good minds. During the course of the weekend he twice commented about Sunday, who was performing very well in the clinic, as being a very nice horse. I never heard him say that about any other horse in the clinic the entire weekend. There were only ten riders plus some auditors and the horses included several Peruvian Pasos, a couple of Paso Finos, and a Foxtrotter and Walker or two.”
For the complete detailed story of this clinic with Larry Whitesell, please go to www.gaitedmorgans.org and subscribe the the MSFHA Gaited Morgan Magazine. Watch for it coming out in December, 2011.