Courses By Mark

What is a Bolender Mountain Trail Course?

A Bolender Mountain Trail Course is one that is aesthetic or pleasing to the eye, has a good flow pattern, challenges both horse and rider and is a workable training tool. A course is one that should offer a challenge to the beginner and Olympic rider alike, yet be safe when used properly.

When I am asked to design a course I work with each client to help them construct a course that meets their needs. I like to think that I facilitate ideas that are guided by the customer’s input. I helped to design and construct courses in Florida that were adjacent to elegant homes, so eye-appeal was very important to these clients. While courses built for riding clubs may not have this concern, a beautiful course will be used more frequently, which leads to more income.

A Mountain Trail course can be used to enhance training in any discipline. It will help build boldness and confidence in every horse. A bold and confident horse will be much more pleasant to ride regardless of whether a horse is being shown in English, Western or just taken on a trail ride. A Bolender Mountain Trail Course is one that will help to create this desired behavior. The bottom line is that a well-designed Mountain Trail course is a terrific tool that can be used to create confidence not only in the horse but also the rider.

Why and How a Mountain Trail Course is Laid Out

Why do I want every course with my name on it to look pleasing to the eye? If a course is laid out well it is like taking a walk in the park or spending time on the golf course. Human nature is such that being in a setting that has order is pleasing and relaxing. That’s why Central Park in New York is so well attended. And a nicely laid out course does not cost any more to build that a scrambled trash heap.

How do we create this? I start with a drawing of what I want to see. Having taught students architectural landscaping helps me understand that we must be aware of where participants will be while using the course or standing and watching others while on or off a horse. It’s best to have riders on horses away from observers on foot. With proper planning this goal is achievable.

Each site is unique so each course is unique. A well laid out course will have a place for judges to observe and properly score the rider. It will also have a place for the public to observe and enjoy watching without fear of injury from the participants on horseback. It’s like landscaping with plants; if the tall flowers are planted in front of the short flowers then much of the beauty is hidden. With proper planning this problem of observers unable to see the horse and riders navigating the course can be eliminated. (read more and see examples)

Monty Roberts’ California Mountain Trail Center at Flag is Up Farm, Solvang, CA USA

Built by Mark Bolender May 2022

Monty Roberts hires Mark Bolender to build a Mountain Trail Course in his infield in FIVE DAYS! The nation’s leading horse expert in Mountain Trail, Mark is a three-time National Champion in the exhilarating sport of Mountain Trail, combining the thrill of natural obstacles found on wilderness trails with top-notch horsemanship skills.

Mountain Trail Park, Private Residence, Versailles, KY USA

Built by Mark Bolender October 2022

Mountain Trail Park, Private Residence, Scottsdale, AZ USA

Built by Mark Bolender February 2023

Coyote Crossing Equestrian Center, Bedford, VA USA

Mountain Trail Park built by Mark Bolender August 2018

Bolender Mountain Trail Courses