We Ride Sport and Trail Magazine October 2018 - Page 38

adies Nights and Ladies Weekends at Bolender Horse Park in Silver Creek, Washington are magical!

I have been to many because it’s lots of pure fun to share your love of horses with your girlfriends.

L

I have been to many because it’s lots of pure fun to share your love of horses with your girlfriends.

To begin with, Lee and Mark Bolender are very welcoming from the moment you step foot on their Horse Park. Everyone tacks up together for the most part and eagerly heads to the course where Lee and Mark are there to teach and assist. The many obstacles are extremely well built, safe and inviting to the horse. In the beginning of a session, occasionally a horse has a tough time getting used to an obstacle but Lee and Mark, and any of their assistants who might be there as well, have the “patience of Job.” In other words, they let the horse take as much time as he or she needs to get use to an unusual obstacle. They want the horse to figure it out by him or herself, which makes the rest of the obstacles come easier for the newcomer.

Ladies Nights and Ladies Weekends

A New IMTCA Course

Bedford, Virginia

By Mark Bolender

38 / Sport and Trail Magazine

I love watching the horses become familiar with the course. They become proud of themselves! Happy horses are the best!! We always start by hand walking the course and from there we ride. We will walk through the course first, then trot. Some people like to canter through the course eventually, but it is always up to the rider as to what they are comfortable doing. I’ve ridden Hunters and Jumpers my whole life and to be honest I’m most comfortable trotting the course for now. I’ll canter too, but I think because I spent most of my life cantering over perfectly flat ground to the jumps in a show ring, the rolling hills are still a bit of a feat for me, but that is good. I have something to work towards! There is always more to work on at Bolender Horse Park.

My girlfriends and I seem to mostly like riding through the water since we don’t experience that too much on the trails around our homes. When we do come across a stream, the practice at the Bolender’s has come in very handy!! My horses don’t look twice at crossing a stream or shallow river any more. All of the obstacles at the Bolender’s have made riding in the wilderness a piece of cake! My horse easily tromps through heavy brush, nicely steps over fallen logs and can slowly turn on a dime to get out of a situation. He can walk a very narrow raised path, thanks to their low and safe balance beam and much more. Best of all, he has learned to know exactly where his feet are.

The obstacle course is good for ALL horses because it builds confidence and like I said above, they pay close attention to where their feet are because they have to! My friends and I also love to end the day calmly trail riding through the beautiful huge pastures and trees to relax. From there, after putting the horses away in very nice stalls for the night, its cocktail hour, complete with appetizers that we all bring along to share. In the summer months we usually do this outside on the patio.

IMTCA in Sherwood, Oregon

By Sallie Cutler