Jacob Arnold Driving Clinic

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By Kate Bushman

Over the weekend of July 18-19, 2020 the Middle Tennessee Carriage Club (MTCC) hosted a driving clinic in Franklin, TN with Jacob Arnold, the head trainer of Hermitage Farm in Louisville, KY.    

Jacob’s early driving career got off to a impressive start when he was named the 2011 USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year. He has since participated in four FEI World Championships, including a win in the 2014 Single Horse Marathon. His most recent World Championship results come from the 2019 World Championships for Pairs of Horses in Drebkau, Germany, where Jacob placed sixth in Dressage out of eighty-three entries. This year Jacob accomplished a lifelong goal of winning a National Championship in the 2020 USEF Pair Horse Championships.

Jacob shared his passion for Driving Sport with eight MTCC members in hands-on lessons with their horses.  He enthusiastically worked with a wide range of horse sizes – from a small Shetland pony to a Clydesdale cross horse, and with a wide range of driver goals – from pleasure driving to more intense combined driving competition. 

Saturday’s lessons focused on dressage skills and assessing the horse’s and driver’s strengths and areas for improvement.  Jacob stressed the importance of the horse moving energetically forward into contact, and to not worry so much about headsets and bending.  He brought a bucket of bits along so he could let people try out some different styles and see if their horses would be more comfortable and controllable, but still forward. 

Sunday’s lessons expanded into cones course exercises and marathon obstacle driving strategies. The fundamentals of the dressage work (forward and into the bridle) logically extended into the cones and marathon lessons.

Despite being outside in 90°+ sun, social distancing and masks kicked in where appropriate. Everyone agreed: we’re looking forward to having Jacob back soon.  

Read more about Jacob Arnold at: http://teamarnold.com/JacobArnold-Portfolio.pdf  and at: https://www.uset.org/team-usa/jacob-arnold

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