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What if I Told You: You Are Ready To Learn and Practice Intermediate Mountain Trail Techniques?

Photo Above: Barbara H. Callihan and Chunky Monkey #BridlelessAndBareback — An Advanced Extreme Mountain Trail Technique.

Over the past several weeks I’ve had conversations with most of the graduates of the Introduction to Mountain Trail Clinics since October, and a common concern among those who have completed is that many of you feel you are not ‘ready’ for the Intermediate Mountain Trail Clinic, or that it might be unsafe for you and/or your horse.

Terms like ‘Intermediate’ can mean different things to different people, presenting a wide variety of concerns and questions such as:

  • What if I am not an Intermediate rider?
  • I can’t do the more challenging obstacles yet with my horse, what would I get out of this clinic?
  • My horse is not finished enough for an Intermediate clinic
  • My horse and I are not ready to master the more challenging obstacles
  • I still don’t understand or haven’t mastered all the basic horsemanship skills with my horse
  • Other riders and horses will perform better than me; I will be judged as ‘not good enough’
  • I’m concerned about the safety for me and my horse
  • I have difficulty remembering the instructions
  • I tire easily
  • I only ride on the weekends

So what is the answer to the question you’re asking yourself:
Am I ready for the Intermediate Mountain Trail Clinic?

The answer is Absolutely Yes!

If you’ve completed the Introduction to Mountain Trail Clinic, then I would like to suggest you are ready for the Intermediate Clinic, and here’s why:

  • The Intermediate Clinic picks up right where the Introduction Clinic left off, and riders/handlers will have the opportunity to work on cleaning up and perfecting their basic horsemanship skills
  • Registering for the Intermediate clinic means you want to continue build a bold, confident, and safe partnership with your horse
  • Registering for the intermediate Clinic means you are ready for your strengths to be strengthened and you are choosing to develop yourself into a more sensitive, aware, educated, and proactive equestrian
  • Registering for the Intermediate clinic means you are ready, willing, and eager to work with an equestrian coach to acquire and practice new intermediate skills — not that you already have mastered them
  • Registering for the Intermediate clinic means you have the desire to look at the possibility of approaching obstacles at the trot, extended trot, and for some riders even experimenting with the canterlope (canter/lope) — not that you are expected to master them
  • Registering for the Intermediate clinic means you have the curiosity to learn how to cleanly approach, complete, and exit obstacles
  • Registering for the Intermediate means that you are ready to support and be supported by like mind horsemen/women
  • Registering for the Intermediate Clinic means you are ready to face your challenges and experience your successes


Finally, I would also suggest that something magical happens when you take a leap of faith and commit yourself to step outside your comfort zone to trust those with the knowledge and experience to mentor you so that you can experience breakthroughs.

Mark H. Bolender is one of the most talented, insightful, supportive, creative, aware, truthful equestrian coaches that I have ever had the joy of working with. He is completely dedicated to your success and your safety. He draws from life experiences with a sense of joy and kindness that puts riders at ease even during the most challenging moments. His wife Lee, his partner during the clinics, quietly works with the individual riders to help them integrate the nuances of the techniques and skills while Mark is giving personal attention to individual riders. She is the eyes behind his back, always aware if someone needs more direction from Mark, and focussed on keeping all riders engaged and safe. Mark and Lee believe in your possibilities and will help you experience the trail ride of your dreams!

Almost two years ago, at a time when I was not being kind to myself in thoughts, when I was heavy in negative judgement, and when I could not appreciate my past successes nor could I see a future for myself that included horses, a quiet and persistent voice led me to Bolender Horse Park. It had been over 35 years since I had reached out to another equestrian coach, and I knew I was ready to become the student. Lordy I was scared. Yet, I knew in my belly that this man would not only reveal to me new awareness, knowledge, and skills but he would also inspire me to become my new best self. Two years later, he continues to be a powerful force in my equestrian transformation and inspires me to pay it forward through HHB Equestrian Trail Park of Southern Nevada.

If you trust Mark, I know he can make a difference in your equestrian journey. I encourage you to seriously consider registering for the Intermediate Mountain Trail coaching clinic on March 24 and 25 today. Get out of your comfort zone and experience great rewards.

Sign up on EventBrite Today, or contact me today to discuss your next steps.

Happy Trails — Barbara H. Callihan, Equestrian Coach and Trainer

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