Touch n GO Farm

Whitesburg Georgia

Bob Bectal PDF Print E-mail
While I was riding at Hill Meadow, Howard and Flo Lininger divorced. Flo kept the farm and Howard maintained hack strings at Mt. Airy Lodge and Split Rock Lodge in the Poconos. Howard had a trainer named Bob Bectal who ran the horses at Split Rock and showed jumpers on the weekends. Bobby had a local reputation as a good rider who worked with George Morris for a while. In my twelve-year-old mind that qualified him as the best in the area.

Bobby knew me from the Liningers and the show circuit. He thought enough of my ability to ask me to show some of his horses in the junior divisions. At the time I didn't have a good show horse so I gladly accepted the offer. For the next three years I maintained a predictable routine in the spring and fall. When school let out on Friday, Bobby would pick me up and we would head to a show.

It was during those shows that I would take lessons from Bobby. He picked up where Flo left off. His understanding of jumping technique helped improve my form and he explained the gymnastic exercises he picked up from George Morris. Gradually, I began to realize that there was a system and methodology to jumping. Bobby wasn't classically trained but he helped me realize that there was more to jumping than riding by the seat of your pants.

Looking back, the greatest gifts Bobby gave me were encouragement and motivation. Most riding instructors tend to be conservative with young jumper riders. If anything, they will hold a youngster back when they see that the child has more guts than ability. During lessons Bobby would continue to raise fences higher than any instructor I knew. He allowed me to challenge the horses and myself. His coaching permitted me to jump the "big sticks" with some form and control.

It was Bobby who allowed me to ride Gemini 7. That horse and his support led to competition success at a higher level. No one ever mistook us as an elite team from a top notch training facility but we did pretty well showing horses who had full time jobs working a hack string. I feel fortunate that I sent a letter to Bobby in 2000 thanking him for all his efforts. He passed away a few months later that year.

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