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Mary Kitzmiller HOrsemanship


Some Background


I come by my horse-crazy honestly.  I'm the granddaughter of a rodeo cowboy.  He passed away when I was a baby and while I never got to know him, I grew up with stories of his exploits which included rodeos all over the country, breaking horses for the US calvary, and even riding in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in Madison Square Garden.  So you could say it's in my blood.  I began my own journey with horses at a young age and have not stopped learning since.  

    I began riding english, gaining an understanding of the foundation of dressage as well as hunter under saddle, and cross country.  But soon I found myself drawn to the exciting world of western performance horses.  This is where my professional work with horses began.  After college where I obtained my degree in fine arts, I went to work for several trainers in the horsemanship and reining industries.  During this time I started many colts, worked with troubled horses, and learned how to develop reining horses for NRHA events.  I also gained valuable communication skills traveling the country helping people develop a relationship with their horses.  

    When my time as an assistant trainer came to a close, I found I had the freedom to dedicate myself to learning new and unusual ways to work with the horse.  I studied the works of master horse trainers and also added the concept of positive reinforcement, or clicker training, to my program.  I still make it a priority to ride with as many horsemen as I can, some famous, some not so, to continually expand my knowledge.  But where I owe my real understanding of horsemanship is to the horse itself.  

    Perhaps my greatest of equine teachers has been the American Mustang.  Mustang training can be an incredibly humbling experience as they do not readily hand you their trust and their heart.  You must earn it.  In 2011 I began competing in Extreme Mustang Makeover events which require trainers to work with a Mustang for 3-4 months and then compete with their mounts.  In 2012, I placed 4th in the finals and 2013 I was awarded 5th place and $50,700 in the first ever Mustang Million competition.  I was the highest placing woman of the event.  I have such an immense love and respect for Mustangs and am so grateful to the wonderful Mustangs in my life that opened up a world of opportunities for me.  

    After years of dedicating my life to the horse I came to the realization that there is no one way to do it.  As much as I would love to provide the public with a neat and tidy system of training, I simply cannot.  What I can do is share with you all that I know in hopes that you are able to make your own understanding of horsemanship as diverse and rich as possible.