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Elizabeth Tinnan and “Patch:” Finding Their Mark

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Since being introduced to the sport of mounted archery in 2014, Elizabeth Tinnan set out to share her love of the sport with others. In 2016, while she was healing from a broken leg and unable to ride, she created the Chattahoochee Horse Archers Club, and began advertising for clinics.

Little did she know that at one of these clinics, a flashy, pinto Tennessee Walking Horse would come into her life and become pivotal to her future.

While teaching a clinic at Rising Glory Farm, a Tennessee Walking Horse breeding and training facility in Lewisburg, Tenn., she was introduced to Patch, a black-and-white Tennessee Walker, who the barn owner had let her use for lessons. Bred and owned by Chris Carlough, “He’s Patched By Mac” first began his career as an all around riding horse, doing liberty work and demonstrations in the area. He had been named after his sire, “Mac’s Rising Rebel,” who was a breed Supreme Champion. At the clinic, Patch showed a promise in mounted archery, due to his steady way of going. From there, the rest was history.

Taking the reins on Patch for competition happened organically. Elizabeth had mentioned to Chris about a show that was happening, and Chris asked if she wanted to take Patch to try it out. Even though Patch had never competed in mounted archery before, Chris had faith in the pair. They would compete in Horseback Archery Eventing, which much like Three-Day Eventing, is made up of three phases. The first phase: Raid, is a fast, straight course. The second: Tower, a slower course that uses more arrows. The final phase: Cross-Country, where riders go through terrain with water, jumps, and 3D animal targets. With all this thrown at him, Patch took to every phase like a fish in water. Elizabeth chalks Patch’s easy transition to mounted archery to Chris’s initial training foundation, quoting that “Patch seemed to have been made to be an archery horse.”

Elizabeth mentioned that her favorite thing about Patch is that he is just so trustworthy and dependable. Because he is gaited, he can easily transition on his own from a canter and a gait, to make up for any uneven footing or sharp turns. After breaking her leg in an accident where another horse had fallen out from under her, riding a reliable and sure-footed horse like Patch, was what built her confidence back. “He’s a horse that can not be touched or ridden for weeks, months, or years, and he’ll be the same horse as when you put him out,” she said, “He is just so much fun.”

As they competed together, Patch helped Elizabeth realize just how versatile the Tennessee Walking Horse breed is. She even goes on to say that the Walker is the ideal horse for mounted archery. “If one has a good, square canter, its smoothness is ideal for shooting. What’s nice about the Walker’s canter is that they’re not trying to move forward fast, and need minimal help to maintain the steady pace.”

One incident came to mind, when asked about any hardships they came across during their time together. While crossing a stream out trail riding right off of the farm property, Patch’s back right leg went into a rock crevice underwater. Upon realizing that he was unable to free himself, Patch laid down and waited for Elizabeth and Chris to help free him. Elizabeth had to reach down into the crevice, free Patch’s caught shoe, and maneuver his leg out manually. While Patch had waited until they gave him the cue to stand, it wasn’t until he got up that they realized his leg was almost wholly degloved to the bone. Elizabeth beams that for Patch to be quiet enough to wait for help, and not panic, says a lot about his demeanor and how willing of a horse he is at heart. After that, Patch fully recovered and kept competing, but it would have been a different story if he hadn’t stayed so calm.

Due to the confidence that Patch helped instill in Elizabeth, they competed together for five years, winning several national competitions all over the country. On her own, Elizabeth has since gone on to compete and win internationally, in places such as Mongolia, South Korea, and France. This left such an impression on Elizabeth, that she now owns her own gaited competition horse, Banjo, and they now have several riders in their club that ride gaited horses. The club itself has grown to having 15-20 people per club practice, and are hosting local competitions. Rising Glory Farm, where Elizabeth is now based full-time, has even put in a full archery track on the property.

Patch is now, once again, back to being an all round horse for Chris on the farm. Rising Glory Farm has shifted its focus from horse breeding to livestock raising, and because of this, Patch is now happy to be out in the field, ready for whenever Chris would like to hop on. Elizabeth is so grateful for Chris, having shared Patch with her after a clinic had brought them together many years ago.

If interested in learning more about mounted archery, or Rising Glory Farms, please visit https://horsearchery.info and https://rgf.eatfromfarms.com.

 

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