Touch n GO Farm

Whitesburg Georgia

Gemini 7 PDF Print E-mail
The hack string gelding that went to the Harrisburg National.

About age fourteen I picked up another palomino partner. Gemini 7 was owned by Howard Lininger and worked the hack string at Split Rock Lodge Monday through Friday. Bobby Bectal ran the trail riding business for Mr. Lininger and knew of my love for jumping. Howard and Bobby asked if I would like to show Gemini on the weekends. Their motivation was to increase the horse’s value. I was just thrilled to have the opportunity to ride another horse besides Buttercup.

Friday afternoons after Gemini returned from his last hack, Bobby would pick me up at school and take us to a show. We competed in the Junior Jumper classes on the northeast circuit. With a trail horses’ disposition and questionable confirmation, Gemini made up for his lack of form with willingness and courage. Early in our work together I realized that he had a strange way of jumping. Ideally a horse will approach a fence and smoothly transition to a jump with continuous forward motion. Regardless of my positioning, Gemini would hesitate prior to each fence and sort of “pop” over in a vertical, rather than forward, motion. As long as I allowed him to jump with his own style he never let me down.

Our competitive highlight came when we qualified for the Harrisburg National Horse Show. Bobby took me to the event and I watched in awe as magnificently bred jumpers schooled in the famous arena. As a fourteen year-old kid from the country with little formal training, I didn’t feel we had much of a chance at a ribbon. Harrisburg has always been an East Coast circuit highlight. The Junior Jumper class alone had forty competitors. Gemini in his full winter coat and me in my ill-fitting outfit made for a less than perfect turnout. Nonetheless, we cleared the fences right along with the impeccably groomed champions. As the fences grew higher the crowd began to root for me and my partner with the unorthodox style. The cheers roared louder with each completed round. Much to my (and many others) surprise, when the class ended Gemini and I finished in third place. I felt a lot of satisfaction in knowing we had done well against superior horses. Looking back I realize that our success was due to a willingness to allow Gemini to jump in his own way…. a lesson I never forgot.

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