My name is Mirka Pitts and I am originally from the Czech Republic, where I started riding horses when I was 12 years old. In 1998 I met an extraordinary horseman, Honza Blaha, who introduced me to natural horsemanship, developing my love for liberty training in particular. I continued my studies of natural horsemanship in the US as I became immersed in the Parelli program, participating in clinics by Parelli Instructors David Lichman and Kelly Sigler, who helped me with my foundation. I have also audited Karen Rohlf’s Dressage Naturally clinics, where I learned more about the horse’s posture.
The discipline of reining has always been a passion of mine, and I have been very fortunate to study with some top trainers in the industry. In the spring of 2007 I was invited to ride with Clint Haverty, who has been inducted into the NRHA Hall of Fame. Even though I was able to spend only a couple of weeks at his farm, it was a huge opportunity in my life and a great learning experience. During the same year, a buckskin gelding (Tom Cat) and I won the Buckskin World in Working Cowhorse and placed Reserve in Reining. In 2009 I received another invitation and another amazing opportunity to ride with Lisa and George Aldridge, reining trainers in Webster, Florida. Since that year, I have spent much of my spare time at their farm, learning more about the horse’s body control and biomechanics. I cherish everything that has been gifted to me by my mentors and I do my best to pass it onto my students. One of the highlights of my career so far happened in 2009, when my buckskin mare Magie and I were awarded a Level 6 ribbon by Pat Parelli at the Lakeland Celebration for our Freestyle performance.
In 2010 I established Equine Foundations, LLC. The primary principle of my teachings and training is that the foundation be built before specialization, in both the horse and the human. The main goal is a harmonious relationship between the equine partner and his human. I take the time to guide my students towards fluidity, so they can become one with their horse, both on the ground and while riding. I help them learning to use their intentions, inner energy and strength of their core, to understand the horse’s natural instincts and how horses communicate with one another inside the herd. When training a horse, I try to focus on his overall balance. While the horse’s mental connection and emotional stability are important, I have learned to pay close attention to his physical balance as well.
In 2012 and 2013 I adopted two wild mustangs, Chance and Legacy, and competed with them at the Mustang Makeovers, missing the finals at the Mustang Million with Legacy by only 8 points. Both of these mustangs have humbled me greatly and have taught me to respect their instinctual side even more so than with a domesticated horse. They invited me to enter their world, where self preservation is the highest priority. I had thought that being a student of a domesticated horse was something spectacular, but I had no idea that there was even more to learn from a wild horse. The wild horses have so much to offer. That’s one of the main reasons why I chose to adopt another wild mustang this year, as my partner for the American Horsewoman’s Challenge competition. Not only for myself, as the experience of being in the presence and learning from a wild horse is priceless, but also because they are in great need of homes, now more than ever, as the number of wild horses in the holding facilities in the US increase yearly.
I chose Gemma, a 5 year old pinto mustang mare from Nevada, out of 65 wild mustangs at a local adoption in Mobile, Alabama — or should I say that she picked me? She was looking at me with her sweet kind eyes, walking around gracefully with soft posture and openness in her body language. Her swift turns showed evidence of spectacular athleticism, like that seen in high-dollar bred cutting horses. How could I resist? Within the first few days of bringing her home with me, I knew that my intuition was absolutely correct: “She is such a gem!” I kept telling everyone, and so she became known as Gemma. I have enjoyed her presence daily, and her potential is just now being revealed as she becomes more confident, now entering the second half of the 6 months long competition period. As we prepare to compete at the American Horsewoman’s Challenge, I am focused on developing confidence in Gemma, especially when it comes to man-made obstacles. One third of the preliminary scores will be based on a pattern similar to the Extreme Cowboy Race; the second third will be our connection and communication at Liberty, and finally we will be judged riding a Cowboy Dressage pattern. My game plan is to prepare Gemma so well that she will be able to face any obstacles without hesitation. I hope to show off her gentle gracefulness highlighted by mustang power, and to display our partnership to the judges and the audience — to wow them with our connection!
To learn more about me, visit my website at www.equinefoundations.com, or friend me on Facebook under Equine Foundations byMirka. You can also Follow Gemma and support our journey, by subscribing to our weekly step-by-step videos of the whole 6 months of her training. To learn more about the AHC competition go to www.horsewomanschallenge.com or like their Facebook page.