Monty Roberts Adds a Mark Bolender Mountain Trail Course to His Training Center at Flag Is Up Farms

Deprecated: trim(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($string) of type string is deprecated in /home/ahp/public_html/wp-content/plugins/sexybookmarks/public.php on line 386

Deprecated: trim(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($string) of type string is deprecated in /home/ahp/public_html/wp-content/plugins/sexybookmarks/public.php on line 392

Deprecated: trim(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($string) of type string is deprecated in /home/ahp/public_html/wp-content/plugins/sexybookmarks/public.php on line 398

Monty Roberts watched as ten horses and their trainers maneuvered over obstacles made of tons of wood, rock, water and gravel. Over 40,000 pounds of obstacles were shipped from Silver Creek, Washington to Solvang, California to be placed inside the infield of Monty’s famous racetrack. The placing of the obstacles was done after several days of monster machines sculpting the sandy loam into a mountain top visage.

When asked why Roberts had engaged Mark Bolender to design and build this course, Roberts was philosophical.

“Though I’ve won 11 world championships in the saddle, I’ve spent way more years on the ground working with behavioral issues. If in-hand became a more important feature of the early training, I would have had better horses, and better luck  – there is no question about that.”

Roberts watched the trainers and horses start on the Mountain Trail Course in-hand as they figured out how to approach and partner to accomplish the challenge of the obstacle, each one more difficult than the last. The in-hand portion of the session became obviously important to the process of learning before each trainer mounted their horses and went through the Course again.

Mark Bolender designs his trail courses to be a training program for the discipline of competitive trail. That’s in contrast to other courses which are arranged so that the training is tailored to the course itself. Mark designs his trails to meet the needs of the horse and rider of any skill level in these sports. At any one time you will see both amateurs and professionals training on Monty’s course that boasts over 20 obstacles, each with 3 different skill levels that make for endless training potential.

Bolender has won three world championships in the Competitive Trail division and also owns a construction company. He worked his way through college as an artist and these combined skills have created the very best in the business for a Mountain Trail course. The list of obstacles is impressive in this just over two acre course that mimics a natural mountain trail:

28’ x 4’ Swinging Bridge, 24’ x 4’ Wooden Trestle Bridge, 4’ x 16’ Teeter Totter, 24’ Texas Two Step, three balance beams 16’ -24’ long, 4’ x 8’ squirting water box, 18’ x 18’ cross buck, 4’ x 16’ rolling bridge, two turnaround boxes, a maze, a tall back through, a gate and an assortment of rock scatters, log step-overs and more.

Monty’s California Horse Center is in the middle of his Flag Is Up Farms and is surrounded by graceful deodar cedar trees also known as Himalayan cedar, a species with an aromatic oil that naturally deters insects. Roberts built the farm in 1966 and it is a destination spot for visitors from all over the world, coming to see how this progressive visionary trains, cares for and stables his horses.

Mark and Lee Bolender founded the International Mountain Trail Challenge Association (IMTCA), an international equestrian sport open to horses and riders of all skill levels. Both Western Saddles and English Saddles are welcome, or any other saddle for that matter. IMTCA uses trail as a way to build a partnership that exemplifies great horsemanship whereby the most difficult obstacle can be navigated safely, making this training tool practical for use on the real mountain trail.

Monty Roberts will hose Mark and his famous Breyer Horse Checkers in June in Solvang, California for a two day clinic. For more information about the clinic or the course at Monty’s ranch, write to

Monty will host several trainers including Mark Bolender at The Movement 2022 June 17-19.


The New York Times bestselling author and world-renowned horse trainer Monty Roberts is available for interviews.

 MONTY ROBERTS first gained widespread fame with the release of his New York Times Best Selling book, The Man Who Listens To Horses; a chronicle of his life and development of his non-violent horse training methods called Join-Up®. Monty grew up on a working horse farm as a firsthand witness to traditional, often violent methods of horse training and breaking the spirit with an abusive hand. Rejecting that, he went on to win nine world’s championships in the show ring. Today, Monty’s goal is to share his message that “Violence is never the answer.” Roberts has been encouraged by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the award of the Membership in The Royal Victorian Order, as well as becoming Patron of Join-Up International. Other honors received were the ASPCA “Founders” award and the MSPCA George T. Angell Humanitarian Award and FEI’s Man of the Year. Monty was recently included as Horse and Hound Magazine’s Top 50 Horsemen of All Time. Monty is credited with launching the first of its kind Equus Online University; an interactive online lesson site that is the definitive learning tool for violence-free training.

JOIN-UP philosophies can be seen at work with both humans and horses across the world, from farms to major corporations. To learn more about Monty Roberts or the many applications of his Join-Up training methods, visit Horse Sense and Soldiers aired on Discovery Military in 2010 highlighting the therapeutic effect horses and Monty Roberts’ Join-Up® have on PTSD. Soon after Monty and his team developed the Horse Sense & Healing program for veterans and first responders. Lead-Up International was officially launched worldwide at the Monty Roberts International Learning Center in Solvang, California, in February 2017. The purpose of Lead-Up International is to reduce violence in the community by creating peaceful leaders from vulnerable youth utilizing equine-assisted therapy and non-verbal communication, building trust-based relationships.

Media Contact: Debbie Loucks
Monty and Pat Roberts, Inc.
(949) 632-1856