Several of the students in Emily Shelton’s Black Fox Riding Academy enjoyed showing their Ponies Of The Americas at a local horse show at Tri-State Exhibition Center recently.
To ride and show horses is a dream for many young kids, especially girls. To dozens of these “horse-crazy” girls, Shelton, their coach, is a dream finder. Everyone knows that girls and horses make for a heady combination — and for some girls at least — the desire to love and ride horses is so strong as to be an addiction.
For parents of these horse-addicted girls, Shelton, who serves as riding instructor, professional horse trainer and successful show coach at Black Fox Equestrian Center here in Cleveland, is the answer to their prayers and the perfect choice to take them by the hand and lead them on the journey to help make their kids’ dreams come true.
Shelton, along with her parents, established Black Fox Equestrian Center in 2001 after she postponed her own horse-showing career to spend a yearlong internship with one of the top Appaloosa and Quarter Horse trainers in the nation, Rob Meneely. Rob and Mary Meneely of Meneely Performance Horses in Stockbridge, Ga., have been top trainers, clinicians and instructors for more than 30 years.
Rob is a nationally recognized horse expert and is seen and quoted often in equine publications and horse magazines. He is also a highly sought-after judge for AQHA, ApHC, and APHA breed shows both nationally and internationally.
Mary is currently the Western coach for the equestrian team at the University of Georgia, in Athens, Ga., where her team recently finished the season with the coveted title of College Equestrian National Champs for 2014.
Upon her return to Cleveland after her internship, Shelton chose not to focus on her own career and creating a name for herself in the equine industry, but rather to put all her time and energy into helping youth riders learn to ride horses correctly and eventually enter the show pen and compete successfully. She wanted to be sure students had a safe and proven-successful place to equip themselves to be champions in the showpen. She has never looked back, and is proud of the success she and her students have achieved together over the years. Shelton has had numerous high-point and other successful riders in her programs, in both national POA breed shows and local open shows.
Owning and/or showing horses is not inexpensive. Shelton is well aware of the cost to own and show a horse, and tries very hard to not only make her program successful, but affordable. By offering lease/show options in her program, she makes it possible for a student to show a capable,
experienced show horse without parents having to buy one and provide housing and daily care for a horse as well as all the tack — the equipment used in horseback riding — for the child to use in the show pen.
Girls in her show programs, B.E.S.T. (Black Fox Equestrian Team) and B.L.A.S.T. (Black Fox Local Academy Show Team) are given a mount that suits their ability, along with the tack necessary for one or both disciplines — English and Western — and taken to local, state and/or national horse shows where they can enjoy the sport of horse showing, build friendships with other youth, learn and grow as equestriennes and learn to be more mature and responsible as they care for and interact with, a living, breathing, 800-pound animal.
Riding lessons and show coaching are available by Shelton and Kristie Poteet at the Black Fox Equestrian Center on Tunnel Hill Road in southwest Bradley County. They give free therapeutic riding lessons for special needs kids, also, through SpiritHorseTN.org at Black Fox Equestrian Center.