Hi and welcome to our blog. Stay in touch with everything about the American Horsewoman’s Challenge. Check in regularly to hear about the people, the happenings, and the sponsors.
In 2014 we launched the first American Horsewoman’s Challenge. It was a competition like no other. Longtime horse men and women shared that they had never before seen an equestrian event such as this. The partnership, willingness and connection between horse and human brought many close to tears.
Competitors were amazed at the spirit of cooperation, support and camaraderie with their peers. Fans were treated to not only the competition, but daily educational workshops conducted by internationally recognized clinicians. And more than 52,000 people followed the Challenge through social media, webcast and in the stands, during the competition weekend.
This first-ever event was successful because of the determination of the competitors and the Challenge staff and volunteers, as well as the support of a few visionary sponsors. But to do it again, WE NEED YOU!
The Challenge is still in a start-up phase and needs immediate funding to sustain the initiative and continue to give horsewomen this incredible opportunity to grow and excel. That is why we have launched a grassroots crowdfunding campaign.
Crowdfunding is a popular Internet-based funding strategy for entrepreneurs and start-up companies to access capital that is not available to them through traditional funding channels. For people like you, who believe in the American Horsewoman’s Challenge and the opportunities it provides, crowdfunding allows you to help keep the dream alive and receive special gift considerations for your support.
You do not need not be a large investor. In fact, most crowdfunding contributors are small investors who believe in a project’s mission. The Horsewoman’s Challenge campaign has contribution levels from $30 to $10,000.
Corporate sponsors, who are tasked with being good stewards of their company’s marketing dollars, are rightfully cautious of young startup events, so we need to prove to potential sponsors the incredible interest in the Challenge and our commitment to its continued growth and success. The crowdfunding campaign is your way to make a statement and have your voice be heard, loud and clear.
Our goal is to raise $60,000 to help cover competitor prizes, facility rentals, sponsorship marketing, judging fees, staffing and travel. Sponsor revenues will be used for event entertainment, bigger competitor prize packages, and broader media efforts. But, we cannot make it without you.
Your investment in the Challenge not only supports and honors the women of the horse world, but gives the competitors educational support and career opportunities they do not have otherwise. This year, two “unknowns” were thrust into the national spotlight by their winning performances and are benefiting from the publicity and recognition. Even those who were not top winners are seeing the benefits their participation has generated for their training and teaching businesses.
Please join us in continuing to provide these opportunities for North America’s horsewomen.
Help keep the dream of the American Horsewoman’s Challenge alive!
Contribute big or small, anything helps and all is appreciated.
The Challenge Team
Well, it’s been quite a few months since I blogged. Six months has just flown by, despite my best efforts to slow it down… and I wasn’t even training a young horse. Seems I have been doing allot of Facebookin’, Web radio interviews, sponsor/exhibitor pitching and planning every little piece of minutia required for the Challenge.
Of course it is another midnight and I’m up again for the next few hours. Seems like a routine since I came up with this crazy idea. It’s a routine I hope ends soon. What a beautiful vision 7 – 8 straight hours of sleep is. I can only hope and pray.
Would I do this again? You betcha! Do I have any regrets? Well some. Hardest has been the slow adoption by the marketing partners. Living in the digital, entrepreneurial Northwest you come to expect that a good idea get’s embraced and acted on before the rocket takes off. Having worked in marketing communications for 30 years, for all kinds of BIG and small companies, you’d think I’d know how conservative folks can be. I don’t fault managers for being cautious, that’s their job. But I surely respect and want to honor those companies like Tarter Farm & Ranch, Spalding Labs and Parelli Natural Horsemanship that saw the vision and came on early. Cowboy Dressage and Craig Cameron Horsemanship saw it too. The typical, traditional equestrian event fare is easy to embrace, but what’s this thing, just for women, that’s never been done before?
I know others will “get vision” when they see what we all accomplish the first weekend of October in this Year of the Horse Woman.
I also have to thank those who have encouraged me, supported me, put up with me and comforted me for the last year and a half. My life partners Karen and Kira. My chief sounding board and business crutch, Dorothy, without whom I could not have taken this bold, new business adventure. My sons Patrick and Brendan. The dedicated interns who slaved away to get get “real experience.” And the boarders and students of the Northwest Natural Horsemanship Center who have helped “keep things going” while I was sometimes a bit distant. Thank you all.
I know that the great financial and emotional burden that the American Horsewoman’s Challenge has brought to bear WILL be rewarded. Not because everyone keeps telling me so, but because I know it is the right time, the right place and the right thing to do.
I do not talk much about my belief systems and religion, but I do tell those who are interested that I believe that the afterlife is the present life you live while you are here. What I do now and how I influence, educate and inspire others is my afterlife that is carried forward and lives on in the ones I touched and the ones they will touch, having been influenced my me. So, if I die of exhaustion, somebody carry on…please :)
I want to wish all the competitors and their equine partners a safe journey this coming week and thank you all for trusting and encouraging all of us here at NWNHC. We will continue to do our best to honor your commitment and earn your respect so you can pass along these lessons to those humans and horses you touch in your lifetime.
Good night. God speed.
It’s been a very busy last month and things are going well with Moonshine!
I keep most of my updates on facebook but did want to share some local publicity I got in our small town paper!
I am so excited to meet the other women and share stories of this amazing journey we all have been through in the last 6 months! Safe travels everyone!
Well Stretch and I are drawing near to the pinnacle of our journey. We leave next Tuesday for Oklahoma! There is a lot of excitement in the air, with the team and I making our final travel arrangements.
Looking back to the beginning and the progress Stretch has made, I can honestly say that no matter what the results are in Oklahoma, Stretch is still a winner in my mind. He has endured an incredible amount of stress for a three year old and has given me all he has. I was reminded of this the other day when I was talking to my shoer about some of his liberty training falling apart. My shoer said, “Don’t fret about what he isn’t giving you, but remember all the things he has given you when you didn’t deserve it.” That was exactly the piece of advice I needed, Stretch has been a cheater horse in so many ways. He certainly has given me many things I didn’t work for.
Before we even entered this competition, I sat down with my team to create a list of principles and values we would conduct our journey by. I wanted our journey to honor God, I wanted to make sure we stuck to our MM Training principles and my personal values, and I wanted to keep the whole thing fun!
To honor God, I want to give Him all the glory. From God helping Kori find Stretch for me, to even thanking Him for Stretch needing to be laid off for his two-year-old year so I could use him for this event. I also thank Him for Stretch’s goofy but willing personality and for my incredible team. My prayer every day has been to keep Stretch and my body and mind sound. To date we our both still sound ;-). God is good! He has certainly had His hand in every step of our journey.
Some of the principles we wanted to conduct ourselves by include, putting Stretch’s physical, mental and emotion well-being ahead of any competitive goals. If Stretch needed a break, that’s what he got, even though I am a pusher and would have rather been training. Also one of my personal values is I just want to be a good horse trainer; I am not a trick trainer or a sensationalist. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with doing tricks or sensationalism, I love watching these types of trainers. But I didn’t want to slip into something that wasn’t me. Goal accomplished, I feel our training and presentations are good but we still stick to this value.
And on top of all of that, I wanted to have fun! I wanted to share this experience with friends and to not feel like it was a job. Another goal accomplished! This has been one of the best six months that I can remember. We have had a blast!
So as I said above and it’s worth repeating, I can honestly say no matter what happens in Oklahoma, Stretch and my team are winners! We have given it all we have and that is enough! That is our win!
In closing, I’d like to thank all the men and women behind the scenes that are making this Horse Woman’s Challenge possible. You all are very appreciated! I also want to give all the other competitors my best. I pray you all have safe travels to Oklahoma and you and your horse do the very best you are capable of during the competition. I can’t wait to meet everyone of you!!
Take care and I’ll see you all in Oklahoma!!
As time draws nearer I continue to hear the famous question… Are you and Charlie ready for Oklahoma?
Thoughts jot through my head about Charlie and me: where we started, our Challenges, our successes, and where we are today.
When we began, I spent 5 days in the round pen before I received a touch from Charlie. Finally, on day 5, I was able to halter him. The next several weeks presented challenges in catching him in the 12 x12 stall. What once was an introverted horse whose day was filled with explosions is now a quiet, relaxed, willing partner.
We are now traveling down the trail working though obstacles and working on softness in every part of our relationship.
Last month we had the opportunity to perform demonstrations at the Nevada County Fair. We learned that clapping wasn’t so bad. We also had the opportunity to meet fellow competitor, Megaan Evans, and watch some of her Fabulous Cowboy Dressage Demonstrations!
A picture of Charlie and I giving our liberty demonstration at the Nevada County Fair.
The following week we went to Norco, California. Also knows as Horse Town USA. We rode the trails through the city and spent the day at Rancho Santiago Obstacle course. Charlie did amazing! He especially loved the big tractor tire full of dirt to stand on. Last week we did a Trail trial, competed and rode Drag. Drag is when you are the last rider and you make sure everyone is back safely. You also collect any ribbons left from marking the trail. The most fun for me was not the trial itself, but riding drag. Allowing my horse to long trot and searching for the ribbon tied in the trees was great laser beam work for Charlie and me. We’d spot the ribbon, trot to it and try to stop exactly where I sent my energy to without the reins. Towards the end of the 5 miles we were in the groove.
Charlie, after the Trail Trial with all the trail marker ribbons in his mane.
Yesterday Charlie and I went to Running I ranch Obstacle Course with Megan and her horse JD. This obstacle course was awesome! Perfect for preparing our horses for the trail and the challenge. My favorite was the sheep hide we had to drag back and forth on a line next to our horse. It took Charlie about 15 minutes to become okay with it but when he did, it became fun. He was really challenged by the deer decoy with the big antlers. Interesting, though, that the cougar decoy posed no threat, Lol All in all we had a fun day learning some new skills and hanging out with Megan and JD. Can’t wait to go back!
Along with things going great, we are still ironing out a few wrinkles. Charlie’s hips have always been quite sticky. Though they have shown great improvement, there is still stickiness in there. The hip is where our canter comes from, our stop, our back up, our roll backs, good shoulder yields, and eventually collection… essentially they are super-duper important. If our hip is sticky, these things will not work to their fullest potential. Our bridle work is coming along beautifully! He is finding flexion at the poll naturally, and has an incredibly soft feel.
For me, remembering to dance with my horse, is vitally important. Dancing brings him to life. As well as myself. Without the dance we are merely completing a mundane task with the absence of passion. It is where all is lost. Opening the heart and allowing my movement to flow freely is where all is found.
With only 2 weeks left we will continue to have our conversations and make steady progress. Through all of this I must remember the importance of who this is about: Charlie. He is still young and has learned so much in such a short amount of time. I must remember to never cheat him or rush him just to look “BETTER” out in the ring. We are where we are. It’s all beautiful to me, because it’s our journey. He is counting on me to prepare him for the rest of his life and I won’t let him down.
We will take our excitement, open heart and of course our dance, to Oklahoma and do our very best!