Gina McKnight, Author, Freelance Writer, Equestrian, Blogger, and Poet! Welcome to my international blog about horses, writers, authors, books, cowboys, equestrians, photographers, artists, poets, poems, and more horses.
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Friday, December 14, 2012
Mark H. Bolender, Equestrian
Mark H. Bolender is a world-famous equestrian; instructor, competitor, trainer, author and much more. He is the proprietor
of Bolender Horse Park, Silver Creek, Washington, USA. He is also a leading expert in
Mountain Trail, Extreme Trail, and Competitive Trail, and a three-time National
Mark believes that good horsemanship is not about domination but leadership,
and having the horse volunteer for a partnership with the handler.
Mark & Checkers
When was your first
encounter with a horse?
rode a horse when I was 10. We were ½ mile from the farm and the
horse turned around and went home. I was not impressed. My
next ride was 6 years later and it was no better and my third ride the horse
ran away with the saddle on and was caught a month later. I was no
longer impressed with horses even though I love animals.
What is your favorite
training each breed and find that there is more difference within a breed than
between breeds each horse breed has certain strong characteristics that make it
a breed. I breed a few Quarter horses which I love and both of my
personal show horses are Quarter horses. They have great minds and a
good work ethic which I love.
Where do you like to
I love to
ride the rough mountain trails. We have some great trails in the
Cascade Mountains such as the Pacific Crest Trails. If I am riding
Checkers (Sir Rugged Chex) he is bridle-less which always amazes people. He
has been ridden thousands of miles in this manner.
What was it like to ride
in the Extreme Cowboy Race?
bridle-less in an Extreme Cowboy Race but I did not make the last round. It
was fun, but I was never sure what they were looking for. The rider
that came in second fell off twice.
Tell me about your
though I started riding when I was 39, when I bought my first horse I began to
show two years later. I picked up a few wins here and there in all-around
and reining, but my big break came at mountain trail where I won the all-around
and high point in 2008, 2009 and 2010 in Mountain Trail. I also won
the open aged futurity in 2008 and 2009. Checkers won it in 2008 and
I won it on a horse called Princess Contesta, a cross between a Paso Fino and a
Curly. I placed second on Checkers.
What is your current stable
several barns with a total of 37 stalls, three arenas and turn out
paddocks. The main barn is set up to host clinics and many social
events year around. Our outdoor Extreme Mountain Trail Course is
used throughout the year and is a very popular draw to the farm. It
is nice to have a covered arena but we find rain coats work fine for outdoors.
What is the most
important rule of trail riding?
Safety Safety and good manners. Safety means you hit the trail with
a horse that is properly trained.
What has been your worst
In 1996 I
was bucked off and broke my back. This was a big wake up call for I
lead a very active life. When you can’t move you have time to
think. I hired Steve Cornwell for seven years who taught me so much
about riding, showing and horsemanship. This was the best move of my life.
What has been your most
memorable riding experience?
get over the beauty of the rugged mountain trails. The wonder of
God’s creation can take my breath away. In 2011 we took Lee (Sampson) on her
first Cascade Mountain Trail ride along with some clients and friends from
Texas. I will never forget her large eyes when she could look 500
feet down on the trail. Since she is from flat land Florida, this
was a real experience in which she really learned to trust her horse as never
Any advice for novice
advice is never be too proud to ask for help. Get lessons, attend
clinics and read. Enjoy the journey and don’t get discouraged if a
few bumps and pot holes are hit along the way. If you don’t hit a
few then you are not moving.