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National Conference: Of Horse, Human and Nature Presented by MCH and UMW

June 17, 2021

The Montana Center for Horsemanship, in partnership with the University of Montana Western, is hosting the first national Natural Horsemanship conference, Of Horse, Human and Nature, September 9-11, 2021. This public event is focused on Natural Horsemanship education in the 21st century.

This conference will bring to the Beaverhead/Dillon community, the state, and the region, leading speakers, presenters, and experts in the equine arena – individuals renowned in their fields, dedicated to education and the relationship between horse and human. We hope it will be an economic boost to our community and to the region, promoting education and the many facets, career directions, economic, social, and cultural benefits of natural horsemanship, ranching, outdoor recreation, and the equine industry.

The EQUUS International Film Festival, which features professionally judged, award-winning films and works-in-progress will be incorporated into the conference this year. Many of the filmmakers and screenwriters will present and share backstories of their films. EIFF was established in 2011 as one of the first all-equine film festivals in the world. Its mission is education and inspiration to advance the well-being and welfare of the horse and to promote the horse-human relationship. Filmmakers and the principals of some films will be attending from around the world.

In collaboration with the University of Montana Western, special discounted registration fees for faculty and students of UMW as well as other educational and youth institutions are available. Visit the link below to learn more, register, and purchase tickets:

Featured Speakers & Guests 

  • Featured Keynote: Dr. Temple Grandin, world-renowned animal behavior scientist, will lead a tour of La Cense Ranch on Thursday, September 9th following her first keynote on Sustainable Ranching and humane livestock handling. Dr. Grandin will give a second keynote on Friday on animal behavior, equine assisted learning, and autism. In connection with Dr. Grandin, we will be offering CEU credits. Please contact us if you are interested in applying for continuing education credits.
  • Featured Keynote: Dr. Barbara Baker, President & CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. An NBHA Senior World Barrel Champion and DVM, Dr. Baker introduced natural horsemanship into the zoo to support and advance the management of exotic wildlife.
  • Packing & Outfitting Symposium on Thursday, September 9th, presented by the equine team from the US Forest Service, bringing the famous Nine Mile Pack String from the historic Nine Mile Ranger District. The USFS will also have career and seasonal training and employment information, especially valuable for students and community members.
  • Bernice Ende – Long Rider:  As of spring 2018, Bernice Ende has ridden more than 29,000 miles solo on horseback around the United States and Canada, including an 8,000-mile ride from Montana to Maine, then to Puget Sound, and back home to Montana. The Long Riders Guild has recognized Ende as an outstanding ambassador for long-distance exploration on horseback.
  • Jeanne Rosenberg, screenwriter for the original Black Stallion feature film, one of the most iconic horse films in cinema history.
  • Ashley Mancuso, Yoga on Horseback, USDF Grand Champion and award-winning filmmaker
  • Scott Knudsen, AQHA Ambassador and “Cowboy Entrepreneur”
  • Nancy Zeitlin, featured in the film, UnReined, finalist for Best of Festival:  This is the story of Nancy Zeitlin, an Israeli Equestrian champion who spent 10 years building the Palestinian Equestrian Team.
  • Lauren Reischer – USEF and Gallop NYC – Advocate for therapeutic riding:  Lauren was born with cerebral palsy and unable to walk. Placed on the back of a horse as a young child, it was the first-time riding that allowed her legs to begin to move, which eventually allowed her to learn to walk with the aid of crutches. For Lauren, horses became integral to her life. Her father, Sol Reischer, along with Alicia Kershaw, are founding members of Gallop NYC, one of the nation’s leading therapeutic riding programs. Lauren went on to excel in horsemanship, achieving recognition at the highest equestrian levels. She is also a former Captain of the Brown University Equestrian Team.
  • Dr. Michael Yellow Bird, Dean of Social Work, University of Manitoba, Mindfulness and Horsemanship 
  • Joe Misner, Director of Wild2Ride- One of the nation’s leading wild mustang trainers, Joe has developed some of the most effective natural horsemanship programs for veterans and others, whose lives have benefited from the programs he has created.
  • Eric Hoffmann and Iola Else, Natural Horsemanship Education – La Cense Method
  • Brigid Reedy and Olivia Jones, current and former Natural Horsemanship students, performing and presenting.
  • International photographer Antonia Wolf, with a breathtaking exhibition – Wild Horses, Living Wild & Free
  • Julie Robins of the Saratoga War Horse Project and a leader in Natural Horsemanship Training
  • Suzanne Miller & Brendan CarpenterGalloping Through Cyberspace
  • Tentative: Caroline Godin – Haras de la Cense/Online & Virtual Natural Horsemanship Education, Galloping through Cyberspace
  • Representatives from E3A (Equine Education Association), Path International, Art of the Cowgirl, Backcountry Horsemen, Montana Reins of Hope, Frontier Anglers, Skydog Sanctuary, Triple Crown Feed, Stockman Bank, William E. Rideg, Equine & Animal Attorney and Legal Specialist, Humane Society of the US Equine Division, US Forest Service, M2B Ranch Music, and many others. The full conference schedule will be available soon.

These are some of the many dynamic guest speakers and organizations attending, presenting, or exhibiting during the three-day conference. There will also be a variety of tables, booths, exhibits, a silent auction and raffles, and hosted food/drink. If you, your business, or organization would like to participate, please call 406-925-3270.

For questions about the conference, please contact MCH Director of Development, Communications and Strategic Partnerships, Janet Rose: ([email protected] or 406-925-3270).