June 2017 Issue - page 5

PENNSYLVANIA EQUESTRIAN
June 2017
Page 5
By Suzy Lucine
As a fifth grader growing up
in Montgomery County, PA, Matt
Stout struggled through his initial
trombone lessons. Little did he
realize that his love of making
music would lead his life down a
path that included travel abroad.
Last year’s journey brought
him to blowing through his coach
horn, proudly sounding a call,
co-written by his daughter, to the
Queen of England. Queen Eliza-
beth II and Prince Philip stood in
front of their private entrance to
Windsor Castle and acknowledged
Matt’s call with a Royal wave.
Matt continued playing the
trombone in the marching and
jazz bands through his senior year
at Whitemarsh High School in
Plymouth Meeting, PA.
Growing up, Matt’s neigh-
bors had rodeo-type horses. Now
and then he would ride, just for
fun, and went to watch them
compete in some rodeos at Cow-
town Rodeo in Pilesgrove, NJ.
Matt’s father, an over the road
truck driver, was approached by
John Hunt of Eden Valley Farm in
Spring City, PA, who was looking
for a driver for his horse van. His
father was nearing retirement and
didn’t want to take on a new re-
sponsibility. He told John that his
son had his CDL license and he
would recommend him for the job.
Not long after Matt started
driving John’s horse van, he began
helping around the barn and at
carriage events, leading horses and
cleaning harness. After about a
year and a half the trombone was
mentioned. John handed Matt a
coach horn, along with a book and
CD, and told him to give it a try.
“There are a lot of differenc-
es between playing a trombone
and a coach horn,“ Matt said.
“But many of the principles are
the same.”
Playing in Motion
From his experience march-
ing in the high school band,
playing the coach horn standing
on the coach wasn’t too difficult as
Matt had learned how to hold his
instrument and play while in mo-
tion, bending his knees to absorb
any shocking movements of the
coach. Standing on the coach, one
would assume balance would be
the biggest challenge, but Matt’s
most concerned about keeping the
mouthpiece from knocking out or
chipping his teeth.
“The more I’d practice, the
more even my tones sounded
while moving,” Matt said. “On
pleasure drives, I do have to be
on the lookout for low hanging
branches and wires. I’ve learned
to lean and duck while blowing
on the horn.”
Richard O’Donnell, now
President of the Devon Horse
Show and an accomplished coach
horn blower, also gave Matt lots
of hints and advice. He used to
play on Jack Seabrook’s and
several others’ coaches.
Matt Stout Blows
the Coach Horn
for the Queen
of England
(Continued on page 22)
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