Touch n GO Farm

Whitesburg Georgia

Carl Bessette PDF Print E-mail
In 1974 I had decided on a career with horses. The two "real jobs" I held after high school provided an income but little satisfaction. At age twenty I had grown up in a barn, ridden for over fifteen years and shown for eleven. That background offered me an excellent understanding of horses and their nature. Flo Lininger and Bobby Bectal did their best to teach me the fundamentals of riding but I knew that if I wanted to succeed as a trainer I had to acquire a better education. The first teacher in that process was Carl Bessette.

Tewksbury Farm in Pottersville, New Jersey has a long history in the hunter world. A-rated shows were held there for as long as I can remember. In the early seventies, Carl Bessette was Tewksburys resident trainer. He always produced elegant riders and qualified many for the Medal finals. My experience was exclusively in the show jumper ring where you ride hard, jump high and go fast. Carl introduced me to the discipline of hunt seat riding and equitation.

That same year, I accepted a job as the instructor at Hob Nob Hill and my students soon benefited from my lessons with Carl. He immediately improved my position and poise. His lessons included flatwork and some basic dressage. I began to ride my first shoulder-ins and leg yields under his supervision. I guess these were some of my first lessons in dressage. During private sessions with Carl I began to form a true concept of riding. An understanding of how dressage, gymnastics, seat, position and fences began to emerge. The work with Carl emphasized that I had a long way to go but I also knew I was on the right track.

I rode my horse Peter Plait during early lessons. Carl was immediately impressed with Peter's ability and enjoyed working with him. Eventually, I began to have trouble with the horse stopping in the show ring. Carl proposed a trade for one of his horses, Wells Fargo. The horse was gorgeous and appeared to be a born winner. The day of the trade I watched Carl jump Peter over a five-foot course without a flaw. The horse I would name Collectors Item came home with me.

Shortly after our exchange, Carl Bessette left Tewksbury Farm and moved to Florida.With his departure I lost a patient, talented instructor. Carl opened my eyes to the world of classical riding and technique. We only worked together for a little over a year but I knew I would never accept anything but topnotch instruction in the future.

Carl and I recently spoke for the first time in twenty-five years. Now seventy, he continues to jump several horses each day at his Little Place Farm in Wellington, Florida.

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