Submitted by: Bolender Horse Park

Have you ever seen a miniature horse do a 360 turn on a balance beam? Or a Peruvian Paso climb a four-foot wall? Grab a friend and come watch the incredible International Mountain Trail Challenge Association’s  (IMTCA) Northwest Regional Challenge on September 28 and 29 at Bolender Horse Park in Silver Creek. This challenging sport brings together all types of riding, all breeds of horses and all ages of riders to see which horse/handler team can best traverse the incredible mountain trail course.

On Saturday, September 28, handlers and their horses will compete in 26 classes, including lead line (child on horse’s back being led by an adult), youth, pony and miniature equine, adult, open, and junior horse divisions. Classes include both in-hand (leading the horse) and riding.

On Sunday, September 29, the top three rider-handler teams in each division will move on to the exciting finals. Those with the highest scores at the end of Sunday’s rides will be awarded the regional championship titles for their divisions.

IMTCA Mountain Trail is the only equine sport where riders of all disciplines come together and compete. You will see English, western and even Peruvian saddles on the course! It is also the only place you see such a wide range of breeds – from Quarter Horses to Andalusians and Gypsy Cobs to Miniature Horses.

The human-equine teams will traverse all manner of obstacles including teeter-totters, swinging bridges, water, trenches, balance beams and more on the incredibly beautiful and manicured course of the IMTCA founders, Mark and Lee Bolender. “We are so pleased to be having the second Northwest Regionals Challenge here at Bolender Horse Park once again,” says Lee Bolender. “It’s going to be a fantastic two days of exciting rides and we welcome you to come out and see what this fast-growing sport is all about.”

Fast-growing is right. The IMTCA has horse parks in six countries, with several parks in the United States. Those that compete in the sport love it because it challenges both them and their horse. “Mountain Trail has brought the joy of riding and competing back into my life,” says Jeri-Dee McAferty, who will be competing at Regionals. She shares her horse with her granddaughter, Viviane, who will be competing in the youth and novice divisions. “The current trends in the horse show industry for most breeds have turned me away from horse shows. IMTCA works for any breed, style, and/or level of riding. From beginner to advanced it is never boring. Besides it is FUN.”

Classes start each day at 9:00 a.m. and it’s free for spectators. For more information about coming to watch, contact the Bolender Horse Park via their website.

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