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Horsemanship Clinic at Trinity Farm


By Melanie Smith; photos by Jenna McNair

On the first weekend in June 2020, Melanie Smith Taylor and Robyn Miller teamed for a three-day clinic (June 5-7) for riders at Trinity Farm in Lakeland, Tenn. Here’s how Melanie described the clinic:

“Robyn Miller and I have been teaching three-day clinics together for the past 1½ years. Robyn, with my assistance, leads the groundwork and flatwork sessions the first day. She reviews the lessons learned each successive day before I take over and continue flatwork and then jumping exercises.  

“The main focus of our clinics is to bring awareness to the rider about the influence he or she has on the horse's balance.  How riders interpret the horse’s body language and use their own body language through their aids to speak to the horse determines the success they have as a partnership. 

“Through specific groundwork and flatwork exercises, participants learn to help their horses develop better engagement of the hindquarters, which allows the horse to travel correctly when ridden – regardless  of the discipline. Then through a series of exercises, including rails on the ground and jumping, the pieces are put together to tie in the movements from ground to mounted to jumping. 

Our overall goal is to help all riders develop a better relationship with their horse and become true partners that bring willingness, relaxation, suppleness, balance, and safety to every ride.

“The clinic at Trinity Farms was limited to two sessions of 8 riders each because of the expected hot weather. We had a lot of fun teaching the riders young and old on horses and ponies tall and short. The groundwork was a new concept for most and it was rewarding to see everyone so enthusiastic and willing to learn new things to help their horses.”

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