Conference Schedule


September 7-9, 2023

Montana Center for Horsemanship  –  La  Cense Arena
In Partnership with the University of Montana Western

Thursday, September 7: Montana Center for Horsemanship - La Cense Arena
8-9am: Continental Breakfast BuffetHosted and Sponsored by the Beaverhead Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture

9:15am: Welcome
* William Kriegel, Co-Founder Montana Center for Horsemanship
* Johnny MacLean, Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

9:30-10:30am: Understanding the Horse Brain
Roundtable: Martin Black, 5th generation rancher and colt-trainer with Dr. Stephen Peters, equine neuroscientist, blend the science of the horse brain with the psychology of the horse --- and a special focus on colt thinking, action, reaction, learning and training.

10:30am-Noon: Colt Start – Part 1Martin Black and Dr. Steve Peters – Hands-on with colts and students.

12-1  pm: Lunch Break/Presenters/Book Signings - Lunch Hosted by Dillon’s Town & Country Foods
Optional “No Hoof, No Horse”- Breakout Session with Chris Mason, Hoof Care Professional:

Amid groundbreaking innovations in treating laminitis and founder, Chris brings extensive knowledge in hoof care to this year’s conference. Explaining “Natural Hoof Care,” an often-misunderstood buzz word, Chris helps horse owners gain a better grasp and insight of new, integrated approaches to hoof care.

1pm-3pm: Horsemanship Education for the Real World-Students & Horses in the Arena


  • Nick Dowers: Leader in performance horsemanship, colt starting and rancher
  • Bryan Neubert: Rancher, “cowboy clinician,” and expert in wild horse handling
  • Joe Wolter: Renowned horseman and clinician, specializing in cow horses and colt starting

 3:30-4:30pm: Building a Partnership of Trust, Respect and Knowledge
Roundtable: Horsemanship leaders explore the future of our relationship with the horse
Chair: MCH Director of Horsemanship Education – Eric Hoffmann

  • Nick Dowers: Trainer, Colt Starter, and expert in the Performance Horse
  • Joe Wolter: Clinician focused on the Working Horse
  • Bryan Neubert: Trainer, Rancher, and Clinician
  • Smoke Elser: Outfitter, Packer, and Mule Trainer

4:30: Break

5pm: “Cowboys” – A Feature Film Screening at the La Cense Arena, Sponsored by 1922 Films
Free screening of the award-winning documentary "Cowboys" introduced by Creative Producer, Felicitas Funke

6:30pm: Following the screening, join us for a hosted “Watering Hole” reception of Western Brews & Wings at Sparky’s in the heart of Dillon. Enjoy dinner on your own and explore the historic town of Dillon. 

Friday, September 8:  Montana Center for Horsemanship - La Cense Arena
8am:  Coffee Roundup Sponsored by Safeway of Dillon, Montan

9-10am: Horse Brain Dissection
Dr. Steve Peters, equine neuroscientist dissects a horse brain illustrating how each part of the brain affects the thinking, action, and reaction of the horse.

The horse focus shifts to:

* Curiosity and Attention
* Spaced Learning (importance of time and space for processing and assimilating information
* Understanding the cycle of anxiety in horse and human10-11am: Open Discussion with Nick Dowers, Joe Wolter, and Bryan Neubert

11:15am-Noon: Keynote:

                                DR. YVETTE RUNNING HORSE COLLIN, E.D., and Principal Science Officer Global Institute for Traditional Sciences
                                                                Origins of the Horse and its Relationship with the Lakota Peoples

“Horses have been part of us since long before other cultures came to our lands, and we are a part of them,” - Chief Joe American Horse, traditional leader for the Oglala Lakota Oyate. North America is where horses first emerged. While often seen as a symbol of the American West, little is known about the deep ancestral relationship the horse has with Indigenous Peoples. Dr. Running Horse Collin shares cross-cultural scientific research, changing our understanding of Indigenous Peoples and their relationship with the horse.

Noon-1pm: Colt Start - Part 2
Martin Black/Steve Peters/Nick Dowers/Bryan Neubert work together with Colts and Students

1:30-2:15pm: Lunch Hosted and Sponsored by the Associated Students of UM Western

2:30-3:15pm: MCH: Trailblazing in Experiential Education
Chair: Johnny MacLean, Ph.D., Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Learning by direct field experience to increase knowledge, skills, and students’ inner capacity, is a new direction in horsemanship education.
Panel includes:
* Dr. Bradley Wood, Assistant Professor of Biology
* Dr. Janelle Handlos, Associate Professor of Health & Human Performance
* Dr. Denise Holland, Professor of Business & Technology
* Mr. Garret Yeager, UMW Student Majoring in Education
* Smoke Elser, Outfitter & Author -Wilderness Education on Horseback
* Eva Maggi, Director-UM Wilderness Program

3:30pm-4:15pm: E-Learning-New Horizons & Innovations in Horsemanship Education
* Pardis Mahdavi, Ph.D: Executive Director, Networked Universities Initiative Professor-University of Montana
* Caroline & Manu Godin: Co-Directors, Haras de la Cense (France)
* Tammy Sronce: Road to the Horse/Morris Communications

4:30-6:30pm: The Horse in the Public Eye through Film & Entertainment
Chair: Elizabeth Kaye McCall: International Equine Journalist
* Filipe Masette Leite, Canadian/Brazilian Long Rider & Filmmaker
* Kansas Carradine, Equine Performance Actress
* Jeanne Rosenberg, Equestrian & Screenwriter “Black Stallion”
* Ashley Avis, Producer, “Wild Beauty” and feature filmmaker specializing in horse stories
This session will also premier Felipe Leite’s award-winning documentary: “The Long Rider”

6:30: Cocktail Reception Sponsored by the Human Society of the U.S. Equine Protection Division Special Feature:
Smoke Elser & Eva Maggi read from/share stories from their new book “Hush of the Land”

Saturday, September 9 – La Cense Arena
8am: Coffee & Continental Breakfast Sponsored by Safeway of Dillon, Montana

8:30-10:30am: Colt Start- Part 3
Martin Black and Dr. Steve Peters – Hands-on horsemanship with colts and students & audience participation.

11am-11:30am: Horsemanship in Performance Featuring: Kennadee Riggs, Miss Rodeo America Introduced by Stan Weaver, Past President AQHA

11:45am-12:30pm: The Trail Forward: The Next Century in Horsemanship Education
Special Presentation: Karl Stressman, Executive Vice President AQHA

12:30-1:30PM: Roundtable on The Trail Forward and the Next Generations
Chair: Johnny Maclean:  Provost & VP Academic Affairs, UM Western
* Dr. Pardis Mahdavi: Executive Director, Networked Universities Initiative
*Tammy Sronce: Director of Operations - Road to the Horse/Morris Communications
* Iola Else: Chair, Equine Studies, UM Western
* Keith Dane: Senior Director - Equine Protection Division, HSUS
* Chris Mason: Hoof Care Professional and Trainer/Instructor

2pm-6pm: Award Winning Films in the Beier Auditorium at Montana Western
Equus International Film Festival, MCH and Montana Western Present 2023 – EIFF Award-Winning Films

6:30pm: Awards Dinner Hosted & Sponsored by Montana Western Foundation
Announcing MCH/EIFF EQUINE ICON Annual Award


The Trail Forward…

Thank You for Being Part of the La Cense Method Horsemanship Education