Challenge by Choice Horsemanship

(Skills, tools and strategies to connect with your horse…even when you aren’t a horse whisperer)

Eric Wagner and Beth Wonson combine their own unique skills and experience in a fun and highly active three-day workshop where you will challenge yourself to achieve or maintain the level of horsemanship that you desire. In an emotionally safe learning and sharing environment, you will explore, identify and set your own goals. You will stretch and grow in relationship with your horse and your horsemanship. Eric and Beth will lead you in activities and sessions that will help you to become physically and mentally prepared for riding, define mutual respect and leadership as related to your horse and to develop a community of supportive peers working on like goals.  Each day will include group activities, hands on horse work, structured riding time, community and fun!

You will:

  • Develop individual goals as a rider and horseman.
  • Identify what currently motivates you to ride.
  • Assess your own areas of strength and challenges.
  • Gain specific tools and behaviors to increase physical and emotional readiness to ride.
  • Identify the relationship you desire with your horse and strategies to get there.
  • Learn skills to increase mind/body connection with your mount.


On Friday, September 23 we will begin gathering at 9:15 a.m. with on site registration and some pre-flection activities designed to help you be present and begin thinking about the goals for the next three days. We’ll start off with ice-breakers, group development activities and begin to develop an emotionally safe environment for growth and development. Through out the day we will explore topics such as motivation for riding, perceived limitations, managing the energy you bring to your relationship with your horse, identifying fears, learning strategies for enhancing the riding experience and setting goals.  In the afternoon, there will be a tack and equipment assessment and group ride.  We will formally end by 5:30 p.m. with dinner on your own.

Saturday, September 24 we will gather at 9:15 a.m. to engage in pre-flection work. Throughout the morning we will learn and practice techniques for equine bodywork including scanning for heat, changes in texture, soreness and reaction. After sharing our individual goals and learn new skills for giving and receiving feedback, we will participate in structured riding sessions focused on putting theory and skills learned into practice. We will formerly end by 5:30 p.m. followed by a group dinner at a local restaurant for those who wish to participate.

Sunday, September 25 we will gather at 9:15 a.m. for pre-flection work. The focus will be on riding small for a big pay off.  We will review and revise our goals based on the experiences and learnings of the past two days. Each person will leave with resources and a plan for working on goals as well as strategies for continued support and feedback. We will end by 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Logistical info:

Participants should bring water, healthy snacks and a sack lunch (Friday and Saturday).  Additionally participants should bring a notebook, pen and camera if desired.

Bringing your horse, please contact Wagner Ranch as early as possible to make arrangements.

Need to use a ranch horse?  Please contact Wagner Ranch as early as possible to make arrangements.

In order to provide a maximum learning and growth experience for each participant, the number of attendees will be limited.  We recommend that you register as early as possible.

Fee: $ 350 per person.    Deposit of $100 required to hold space.


Eric Wagner – Owner and operator of the Wagner Training Center, Eric began his career as apprentice with Top National Arabian Trainer, Jeff Wonnell. Eric continued working with top trainers, schooling, showing and instructing. Today Eric shares his knowledge and skills with horses and humans through a holistic approach to increasing fitness, wellness, skill building and remediating challenges.

Eric is also a certified massage therapist, equine sports and canine massage therapist and equine cranial sacral practitioner.

Beth Wonson – A life-long horse enthusiast, Beth’s expertise is experiential and adventure-based education facilitation with a focus on empowering individuals to build upon strengths and achieve goals.  Beth’s facilitation style is fun and engaging, encouraging participants to stretch and grow in an emotionally and physically safe learning environment. Beth has presented to schools, agencies and groups across the US.                                                 

Identify and share how your motivation to ride has changed in recent years (increased or decreased) and why.

  • What motivates me to ride at this time in my life?
  • What are my specific goals for my riding and/or relationship with my horse?
  • What challenges do I face today that are new or different?
  • How can I improve my physical and emotional fitness to enjoy the level of riding I desire?


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