For Jack Walnes, riding with Carol Kozlowski has helped him pursue his passion of training green horses that just might have the physical and mental strength to handle three-phase competition.
|Jack Walnes and The Country Gentleman|
“I always buy young horses, with potential, in the hope they will like eventing,” Walnes said, after finishing a class in Kozlowski’s gymnastics clinic on April 9 in Avon, NY.
An Avon resident himself, Walnes said he couldn’t train the youngsters without Kozlowski’s help. She is experienced in training young horses, and most of those she rides in top-level events she trained herself.
Walnes has ridden with Kozlowski for eight years. On Saturday he was riding The Country Gentleman, a towering bay thoroughbred, started as a yearling by Aaron and Charity Donnan of Piffard, NY.
“He’s a neat, neat horse,” Walnes said of the young gelding.
Walnes, who started riding in France in the 1960s, rode The Country Gentleman in a late morning class that Kozlowski described as a beginner novice level.
As with all her classes, from intro on up to the higher levels, Kozlowski started this one with flat work, warming up the group and focusing on equitation and the importance of collection.
“Horses that are strung out become projectiles,” she told the class.
|Kozlowski teaches young riders.|
While in the beginning lessons, Kozlowski focused mostly on getting ponies over the fences, the more experienced riders in later classes were expected to show good form, proper contact and subtle aids.
“Try to get stride, then ride like a girl,” Kozlowski called to Walnes after he rode a strong line of fences. “Because you’re a guy and your strong and can go to your aids doesn’t mean you should do that every time.”
Walnes plans to ride The Country Gentleman at an event in Ohio in May.
He and his wife, Linda, were not the only riders at the clinic who have schooled with Kozlowski for years. Debbi Busta of Cleveland, OH, trucked in with two Connemaras for the clinic.
“I have been riding with Kozlowski’s for 25 years,” she said, adding she drives from Ohio every other week for a lesson at Mothersfield, Kozlowski’s facility.
|Busta on Sandy, waiting her turn to jump a line.|
In Saturday’s class, Busta was riding a handsome, 18-year-old gray named Shammer Sandman (“Sandy”) who has competed at preliminary level in the past. Busta was riding the horse for its owner to help keep him in shape while the owner planned a wedding.
“Carol said, ‘You have to ride other horses,’” Busta said, “So, he’s teaching me.”
Busta said she was pleased with the outcome of the lesson.
|Kozlowski watches a student ride a line of fences.|
“He changed his way of jumping,” she said of Sandy, after the class. “Instead of just rushing, he was pushing from behind.”
The clinic continues Sunday, and auditing is free.