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2001/09/18

Jackson Equestrian Center Provides More Than Training by Kevin DeBusk The Jackson Equine Center, in Jackson, Tennessee, is offering a variety of disciplines, breeding programs and education. Michelle Wilcox, a native of Beech Bluff, Tennessee, and her fiance Richard Weaver acquired the facility earlier this year. Michelle has been involved with horses for twenty years. "I got my first horse when I was five," Michelle commented. "I've raised Appaloosa and Quarter horses for the past five years. "This has been a dream of mine for at least ten years. We want this to be a full service equestrian center and we want to encompass all types of people. "Our biggest asset is anything equestrian we can do and that we emphasize the fundamentals. We're pretty diverse. We like to play with any breed. I'm western type, do breeding, mare care and foaling. Then we have Amanda (Adamson) who does English and hunter/jumper. She'll also do some dressage. We're going to send her off to a clinic to get level one trained. "In September we're bringing in another trainer. They'll be doing English and cross-country." Michelle said they were in the process of putting in the cross-country course. "Lessons are thirty dollars and for groups of up to four it's twenty-five." She said young student groups sometimes work best. Boarders have use of a barn with hot and cold water, concreted hallway for ease of cleaning and a fly system. "We have fifteen 12x14 stalls and one designed for breeding," she stated. "We have full and pasture board and do training. Full board is $300 and pasture board $150." She reviled they have access to ninety-nine acres from trail riding, one arena and three lesson horses. Each horse specializes in certain areas: one is strictly for youth; another for hunter and cross -country; and the third for western. Breaking and training horses is another area Michelle plans to concentrate on. "My specialty is weanlings," said Michelle. "I specialize in getting them ready for futurities. "I prefer horses that are six months old to work with but I'll take them from the get go," Michelle commented. "I start from the ground up and most of the horses we've raised already have their ground manners and know their leads before we try to break them." Standing, collecting stallions and shipping semen is another aspect they are offering. "We are standing a stallion I'M A TRU SKIP TOO," she remarked. "We are going to have a mini stallion station here, if we have another stallion or two here during the breeding season and that are interested in shipping semen. "I have a phantom that we use for collecting. I'm having another one built on the end of the barn and we're finishing the lab. This will allow us to have a full service semen shipping service." Michelle has shipped semen from her Appaloosa stallion I'M A TRU SKIP TOO all over the country. Safety is another area that the Jackson Equestrian Center stresses. "We'll be the first facility in Jackson certified in a legal aspect," she reported. "We're going to Texas for a week to get this certification. This will actually be certification as a safety instructor. This pinpoints all the safety aspects. "We require every rider to wear a safety helmet and we require those trail riding to wear safety vest, especially during hunting season. The introductory lesson we do for all riders is a safety lesson." With new ownership what can visitors expect? ""We want this to be very hospitable facility," Michelle stated. "Our signs read visitors welcome twenty-four hours a day. Even if they don't have horses we want people to stop by and ask questions. "We have huge plans in the next five years. We plan to have a covered arena and will expand the stalls as we grow. We have thirty-six acres and that is enough room to do what we want to do. "We're also going to have an open house, with vendors, vets and farriers September 22. We've contacted the different breeds about coming. We want to promote everybody in the horse industry. We're going to have discussions on horse topics and answer questions on the facility."

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