The Montana Center for Horsemanship, an international equine education and event center to advance horse-human education and natural horsemanship, will host a one-day Packing & Outfitting mini-symposium on Saturday, October 3. The fall program features presenters from the US Forest Service and the renowned Nine-mile Pack String, Backcountry Horsemen, and Natural Horsemanship educators, trainers and students. The Montana Center for Horsemanship is headquartered in Dillon, Montana.
Presentations and demonstrations with horses and mules will focus on the rich history, skills, practice and hands-on experiential learning and training that have made packing and outfitting in America’s backcountry and wilderness possible.
One of the tentative featured speakers is Montana’s iconic outfitter and recipient of numerous awards Smoke Elser. Elser, who is in his 80s and is still active with horses and mules, has worked the backcountry for more than 50 years. He has trained and guided thousands of individuals and groups, including the U.S. military’s Special Forces, corporate CEOs, and worked with hundreds of mules and horses in the most remote, wild areas of the American West.
Organizers of the mini-symposium said that given COVID-19, they are “cautiously optimistic” that programs supporting the MCH mission can resume by following current health guidelines and recommendations.
Coordinator Janet Rose said the mission of the Center is to advance horse-human education through natural horsemanship, and she thinks of these new programs represent the true “Icons of the American West. The way natural horsemanship is taught at MCH, is the foundation of everything that we do with the horse. We are developing programs and events to advance that vision.”
Rose added that the newly expanded Center, which is currently under development, is an education center to support hands-on learning, research and training. The Center will have events—conferences, workshops and other symposiums—enabling people to advance their knowledge of horse-human interaction and well-being.
Rose said this first event of the season will have tables and booths, and it welcomes new sponsors. The University of Montana Western, Triple Crown Feed, the historic Andrus Hotel, Horse Haven Montana, the USFS and Backcountry Horsemen are among the event’s sponsors.
William Kriegel, President of the MCH board and a founder, said, “It’s a Center that facilitates learning with the horse, through our relationship with the horse. We are building a Center to promote and advance education and research. It’s unique in the U.S. In France, we established Haras de la Cense, Europe’s leading equine education center, and we hope MCH fills a similar educational niche in the U.S.”
The Montana Center for Horsemanship is also home to the nation’s first and only Bachelor of Science Degree in Natural Horsemanship, conducted in partnership with the University of Montana Western.
The one-day Packing & Outfitting mini-symposium on Saturday, October 3, begins at 9:30 a.m. and runs until 4:30 p.m. To learn more, register or sponsor, contact MCH at 406-925-3270. Registration is $20 in advance or $25 at MCH.
Visit www.montanacenterforhorsemanship.org to learn more.