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2004 AQHA Perlino Stallion

two texas natural horsemen and the nokota horse take the world by storm


Jack Lieser, two of Texas’s pre- mier natural horsemen, debuted at the World Equestrian Games with the unique American horses, the Nokota.

asked,” said England, a natural horseman who trains cutting horses at his Goldthwaite ranch.

“I felt honored to be

By Lisa C. Smith © 2011 Aaron England and

the World Equestrian Games. Lo- cated outside of Brenham, Texas, Lieser uses natural and classical horsemanship methods giving a variety of clinics as well as giving lessons and training horses. England and Lieser

said that the Games provided an international backdrop to dem- onstrate the virtues of the Nokota

these horses inhabited the rugged Little Missouri badlands, located in the southwestern corner of North Dakota. When Theodore Roosevelt National Park was created in the 1950s, some of the wild bands were fenced in, by accident. While raising the fences

surrounding the national park pro- vided the horses with federal protec-

have been some of the nicest horses I’ve ever worked with,” Lieser said.

with the Nakota horses: all that they can do and will do.” Aaron agreed, saying

“I am really pleased

that of the nineteen Nokotas stal- lions that he worked with at the most recent clinic, sixteen were

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we talked about its history, and we explained how natural horse- manship works well with these feral horses. We showed a few techniques of how to start com- municating naturally with these horses. It’s probably a once in a

“We demoed the breed,

hail from North Dakota, a mix of Spanish, Native American ponies, and ranch stock that have bred for more than a century. Known as “Montana horses,” “Northern

horse, a wild breed that is dis- tinctly different from Mustangs. The Nokota horses

tion, the National Park Service does not allow wild or feral equines. The park spent decades attempting to remove all of the horses. During the 1980s, Frank and Leo Kuntz began purchasing these horses after federal round ups. The Kuntz broth- ers named the horses “Nokotas” and began a breed registry. Now, these registered

under saddle within five days of natural horsemanship training. One stallion, which England has ridden about twenty times, has already learned to cut and track cattle.

they felt privileged to introduce the Nokota breed to horsemen at the Games because the Nokotas are smart, people-oriented, and athletic.

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lifetime opportunity. A highlight was just being there and being able to share with people from all over the world.”

a lot of the clinicians who were there were incorporating dressage into their training style,” said Lieser. “A lot of different people are using dressage whether they are riding English or Western. It was affirming to see all of that at

“It was neat to see how

Plains ranch horses,” and “Cayus- es,” these horses were popularized by Western frontier artists Charlie Russell and Frederic Remington in their oil paintings of Indian and ranch ponies.

scends from the last surviving population of wild horses in North Dakota. For a century,

The Nokota horse de-

horses that have been trained are used for dressage, foxhunting, trail, and pleasure horses. Other feral horses, drawn from the wild bands, are being trained with natural horsemanship techniques. England and Lieser said

enjoyed working with horses and being involved with people invested in preserving the Nokota breed.

as these, it is important to go back to our roots,” he said. “We can see what our heritage was and keep a part of that heritage alive.” England and Lieser

“In rough times such England said he has

that the Nokotas that he has trained recently have been gifted jumpers, shown an aptitude for dressage, and have had a “good mind.” “The Nokota horses

Michael vermaas and friedrich

During the December 5th Mare-y Christmas Barn Tour Michael Ver- maas of Classical Horsemanship demonstrates the art of dressage. Michael is riding his Trakehner, Friedrich for the crowd.

Photographer: Laurie Virkstis

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want to be with them,” England said of the breed. “They still have feral instincts, but they have an uncanny way of wanting to be with you.” Lieser agreed, saying

“They love people and

have been working with the No- kota Horse Conservancy and host- ing clinics showing how natural horsemanship techniques may be used to handle, gentle and prepare the Nokota horses for riding. In March England and Lieser will hold a clinic at Watts Way Arena in Washington, Texas and in Lin- ton, North Dakota in June. For more information

contact Jack or Sarah Lieser at 979-203-9000 or visit www. or you can contact Aaron or Riva England at 325- 948-3456 or visit www.aaroneng-

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Of A Different Color?

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