Meet Checkers, The Mountain Trail Horse, and Mark Bolender at BreyerFest 2022


Edited Press Release

SILVER CREEK, WA – Sir Rugged Chex—known as Checkers—is headed to Kentucky for BreyerFest 2022! Checkers was given the honor of becoming the first mountain trail horse to be turned into a Breyer Model Horse in 2020. Due to COVID, BreyerFest went virtual that year, so special guests have been invited to attend this year’s in-person event at the Kentucky Horse Park, July 15-17, 2022. Both Checkers and Mark Bolender, founder of the International Mountain Trail Challenge Association (IMTCA) and creator of the Bolender Method™ will be in attendance. 

Born and raised in Silver Creek, Washington, Checkers gained fame as an amazing all-around athlete, but especially when it came to Mark Bolender’s chosen discipline: mountain trail. Checkers was the National High Point winner in 2008, 2009 and 2010. 

What really sets Checker’s apart is that he does it all bridleless! He takes after his grandsire, Rugged Lark, who was known for bridleless dressage. “I was told once by the people that bred Rugged Lark that Checkers is more like him than any of his offspring,” shares Mark.

Checkers was just four years old when he started his bridleless work. Mark even rode him in a veteran’s day parade while carrying a flag bridleless that same year! Since then, Checkers has done most things bridleless, and people have noticed. His videos on YouTube have over 10 million views. 

At Breyerfest, get a chance to watch Mark and Checkers demonstrate their skills. Mark will talk about the IMTCA and the Bolender Method™, which creates calm, trusting equines that will go over any obstacle they are pointed at by their handler…whether in-hand or mounted. Stop by and visit with them, purchase your Checker’s Breyer model and have it autographed by Mark Bolender. 

“We are excited to finally go to BreyerFest, meet our lovely fans and share Checkers with everyone,” says Mark. “We hope those in attendance enjoy our show and take an interest in mountain trail. It really is a sport that anyone can do with any breed of equine, whether it’s a mini, mule, draft, or anything in between. And you can do it any discipline: English, western, Peruvian, doesn’t matter. It really is the only equestrian sport that everyone can do.” 

Can’t attend? Purchase virtual tickets and meet all the guest horses, see all the action and even purchase limited run Breyer horses from the comfort of your own home.