March 2016 Issue - page 8

Page 8
March 2016
Steuart Pittman, along with his wife Erin, who
heads the Equine Program at the University of Mary-
land’s Institute of Applied Agriculture, operates Dodon
Farm Training Center in Davidsonville, Maryland.
There he trains horses and riders primarily for eventing,
but also for other English riding disciplines. The farm
maintains a stable of 25 horses in training.
Steuart grew up riding retired racehorses and was
able to become a professional by selling horses that
he acquired from mid-Atlantic tracks. Steuart event-
ed through the advanced and CCI*** levels, showed
dressage through fourth level, spent many years in the show ring and hunt field, and is
Maryland's first U.S. Eventing Association certified instructor. After having served as
president of the Maryland Horse Council and as the national campaigns director for a
grassroots network of community organizations, Steuart was well-prepared to launch the
nonprofit Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) in 2009.
Aaron Ralston lives in the heart of the Roaring
Fork Valley in beautiful Silt, Colorado, where he
owns and operates a successful performance horse
operation with his wife Meg. A top-ranked profes-
sional trainer, Aaron trains open horses and has a
large non-pro and youth clientele he coaches. Aaron
has performed and taught at horse expos, as well as
conducted clinics throughout the US, Canada, and
Aaron was raised on the Colorado Western Slope
on his family’s cattle ranch in Collbran, Colorado. It was there he learned the impor-
tance of the traditions and knowledge of the working ranch cowhand. He then moved
to Oklahoma, where he rode as an apprentice for NRHA Hall of Fame Trainer and
NRHA Futurity Champion, Doug Milholland.
In 2002, Aaron moved back to the Western Slope to establish his own train-
ing business. He and Meg then married, and began to build their facility, Ralston
Ranch. The couple now has two young sons, Parker and Colter, and a thriving
Footwork for Reining & Cattle Work
(Thurs., 4 pm, Large Arena)
Creating Purpose for Reining & Cow Work Training
(Fri., 5 pm,
Large Arena)
Exercises for Success; Rewarding Proper Turns & Stops
(Sat., 5 pm,
Large Arena)
Tying It All Together; Advanced Reining & Cow Work
(Sun., 10 am,
Large Arena)
Meet some of the top horses and
trainers who traveled to Kentucky for
the Retired Racehorse Project's $100,000
Thoroughbred Makeover. They all began
life as racehorses but have launched new
careers in ten English and western rid-
ing disciplines. With 15,000 Thoroughbreds retiring from
American racetracks each year you may find yourself
inspired to train your own horse for the 2016 Thoroughbred
Makeover. Steuart Pittman of Dodon Farm Training Center
will provide commentary and interview the trainers as they
The Retired Racehorse Project is a charitable organiza-
tion created in 2010 to facilitate placement of Thoroughbred
ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them and serving the farms,
organizations and individuals that transition them from racing. The organization also
serves as a resource and a voice for the 150,000 owners of over 650,000 off-the-track
Thoroughbreds in America. RRP programs include the $100,000 Thoroughbred Make-
over, Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, Retired Racehorse Resource Directory, and
a menu of online and live educational offerings described at RetiredRacehorseProject.
RRP is led by its founder, Steuart Pittman of Dodon Farm Training Center, and a
board of directors from inside and outside of the racing industry. The trainers and hors-
es participating at Horse World Expo were selected from among the most successful
contestants at the 2015 Thoroughbred Makeover in Kentucky.
Finding the Right Horse for You
(Thurs., 3 pm, Equine Arena)
Retraining From Racing to Riding
(Fri., noon, Equine Arena)
Thoroughbred Makeover Rematch
(Sat., 5 pm, Equine Arena)
Trainer's Forum
(Sun., 2 pm, Seminar Hall A)
Visit the Retired Racehorse Project booth S13
Born in the California Bay Area, Pat Parelli began
working in stables at age 9. When Pat was just 13, horse-
man and trapper Freddie Ferrera recognized Pat’s talents
with horses and took him under his wing, teaching him
invaluable lessons about how to be more natural with
horses, dogs, cattle, and nature itself.
At 17, Pat Parelli launched himself into rodeos,
particularly bareback riding. A natural, with a good coach
in John Hawkins, Pat won the Bareback Rookie of the
Year title in 1972, his buck-off average just 4%. Watch-
ing many rodeo athletes trying to move on, Pat was determined to find life after rodeo.
A career in training horses seemed logical and he started a business that concentrated on
starting colts. However, it wasn’t long before the pattern of equine and financial frustra-
tion set in and Pat found himself on the verge of getting out of horses altogether. He also
resisted the idea that horse training should treat horses like inanimate objects.
Then three significant events changed his life. He met Australian Troy Ernst, a
student of the horse, a disciple of Kung Fu martial arts and a master musician, who
taught him about inner power and the Kung Fu principles of discipline, body control,
and mind-body mastery. He began to work under the tutelage of master horseman Troy
Henry, who specialized in training and developing both horse and rider for competition
using psychology and communication. Troy helped him understand horses’ mental and
emotional processes as prey animals as well as the true dynamics of horsemanship and
how they applied to performance horses. Pat also became interested in developing mules
to perform like horses. The mules taught Pat the importance of reverse psychology, the
principles of safety and comfort as the only real incentives, and how to get a prey animal
to “want” to perform. They also taught him about patience! In 1980, Pat founded the
American Mule Association.
Showing reined cow horses and successful in reining and cutting events with both
horses and mules, Pat realized his client owners often had a noticeable lack of skill and
understanding. He found that if the rider didn’t have enough savvy, the horses would
regress. He realized he had to find a way to help people become more savvy with horses.
Pat discovered he had a natural talent in finding the right words to explain what he
understood about horses. In 1983, while performing bridleless at the California Live-
stock Symposium, Pat met three men who became his mentors: Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt
and Ronnie Willis.
Pat Parelli is the creator of the term Natural Horsemanship. Since his first seminar in
1982 Pat has presented his philosophy of love, language and leadership to over 1 million
people, including the Queen of England, Anthony Robbins, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and
Tom Selleck. He has had over 200,000 students in 57 countries enrolled in his long-dis-
tance study program. More than 1000 episodes of his educational and inspirational
program have been broadcast on three continents. Magazine articles have been published
in over a dozen different languages. Pat Parelli was not only the founding President of
the American Mule Association in 1976, he also founded the Parelli Foundation which
supports Parelli students on their journey of becoming Parelli Professional, Youth Horse-
manship, Therapeutic Horsemanship, and Horse Welfare.
How Smart Is Your Horse?
(Thurs., 3 pm, Large Arena)
Horses Are From Mars, Humans Are From Venus
(Thurs., 5 pm, Seminar Hall A)
Look Mom! No Hands! The Secrets to Bridleless Riding
(Fri., 2 pm,
Large Arena)
10 Qualities of a Horseman
(Fri., 5 pm, Seminar Hall A)
Fix Those Problems For Good
(Sat., 1 pm, Large Arena)
Fixing Problems Like a Horseman
(Sat., 5 pm, Seminar Hall A)
Eight Principles of Good Horsemanship
(Sun., 11 am, Seminar Hall B)
Visit Pat Parelli at the Parelli Natural Horsemanship booth 1132-1134, 1212-1214
tars of
RRP organizes the annual $100,000 Thoroughbred Makeover at Kentucky Horse
Park, manages a website that features horse listings, bloodline brag, how-to articles and
videos, and maintains a directory of 300 farms and organizations that work with these
horses. RRP is a membership organization that offers Off-Track Thoroughbred Maga-
zine, discounts from sponsors, and other benefits.
Dressage for the Ex-Racer
(Sun., 3 pm, Large Arena)
See Steuart Pittman at the Retired Racehorse Project booth S13
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