Written by Eclectic Horseman
1. How did you get involved with horses?
I grew up on a small farm and inherited my mother’s love of horses. My mom was so worried that I would not want to ride because I didn’t get on my first pony until I was probably two-years-old! She said I said horses smelled!
2. What one word describes your ideal horse-human relationship?
Enjoy comes to my mind; probably respect or love are more common answers, but I really enjoy my horses’ personalities and I want to ride ones that I enjoy riding.
3. What are your current professional goals?
I have no professional goals at this time other than to become a better horseman each day. It is a lifelong journey of fun.
4. Do you see yourself as part of a larger community of horse people, and if so, how do you fit into that community?
I am just happy to be one of the huge number of people who has the opportunity to spend time with horses.
5. What horse-related product do you use that makes your life easier?
I will not get on a horse without a helmet.
6. What is the most important character trait for a great horseman to possess? Why?
Love for the animal; I think a basic love for the horse precipitates the time, interest and patience it requires to work with them.
7. What do you get out of working with horses? What do you give?
Tremendous pleasure and satisfaction especially when you know there is a mutual understanding and feeling back. I give them my time and my care.
8. Who is a favorite horse of all time?
My first pony was White Wind and my first horse was Banjo. It’s hard to imagine having better ones, but I have been lucky and had opportunities to ride some great horses, and I am still finding some pretty fun ones to ride around our barn right now!
9. What horseman living or deceased would you most like to study with? Why?
I have always thought it would be so special to ride with one of the great horsemen from every equestrian discipline. I am still missing a few. I also thought it would be a hoot to learn how to drive a standardbred, but after getting run-off with driving a tiny little shetland pony to the cart, I changed my mind.
10. What is a very memorable horse moment?
Riding in my first saddle at age 12 after always riding bareback, and then reversing that scenario 40 years later.
Melanie Smith Taylor lives in Memphis, Tennessee. She raises and trains thoroughbreds for polo, hunter/jumpers and pleasure on her Wildwood Farm in nearby Germantown. Melanie is a former member of the United States Equestrian Team and culminated her career with a team gold medal in show jumping at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. She is a recognized judge for hunter/jumpers, hunt seat equitation and hunter breeding. She has also designed jumper courses and taught numerous clinics around the country. Melanie is happy staying at home more now to enjoy her many horses and ponies, dogs, geese and ducks!
This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.6