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As the creator and founder of the Women & Horses
fitness and performance program, Mary D. Midkiff is known as a
pioneer in the horse industry. A lifelong horsewoman, Midkiff
is a professional instructor, clinician, trainer, and author.
She specializes in taking a holistic approach to conditioning
and training horses, creating a deep bonding partnership between
horse and human, and in providing information, techniques and
resources for the female equestrian.
Midkiff is the author of She
Flies Without Wings: How Horses Touch A Woman's Soul,
released in North America by Delacorte Press, a division of Random
House, Inc., in April 2001. "She Flies" was the number one best
selling non-fiction book in Lexington and Louisville, KY, and
Cincinnati, Ohio upon its release in April and May of 2001. It
reached number one in Denver, CO and stayed in the top ten list
for several months in this regional market. "She Flies" was also
released in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Holland
and Germany in 2001 and 2002, and China in 2005. Midkiff received
the national literary "Willa Award" for memoir/essay from the
Women Writing the West organization in October of 2002.
Macmillan published Midkiff's first book entitled Fitness,
Performance and The Female Equestrian released in
October of 1996. "Fitness" is currently published by John Wiley
Publishing and has had a resurgence as a result of the popularity
of "She Flies". FPFE remains the definitive source for young and
adult female riders.
In her journey to provide horse people with meaningful tools
to connect with their horses, Midkiff's Women
& Horses The InBalance Horse essential oil blend
was created by partnering with a professional aroma therapist.
It has proven beneficial in providing aromatherapy, natural insecticides,
natural perfume, skin softener and massage oil for both the horse
and the rider. The horse experiences calming, focusing and tension
releasing benefits while the rider can use the oils to calm their
nerves and have an enjoyable ride. The InBalance Horse
oil blend is potent and is made specifically for horse use only.
Midkiff is the president of Equestrian Resources (EQR),
a marketing and planning firm specializing in horse-related sporting,
showing and recreational activities. EQR is based in Louisville,
KY and is a division of Racing Resource Group, Inc. EQR
was created in 1991.
In 1992 she launched the Women & Horses
(W&H) Fitness and Performance Program. Midkiff has promoted W&H
through her appearances on television programs, published articles,
and has made presentations and live horse educational demonstrations
at conventions and meetings worldwide. She travels extensively
In November 1995, Midkiff received an award from the American
Medical Equestrian Association (AMEA) in recognition of her outstanding
service to the horse industry and the AMEA.
In June 1997, the Women & Horses™ Equestrian Video
Library and the W&H Product Line were introduced including the
Get Fit To Ride Introduction and Get Fit To Ride
Workout videos and the Equestrian Ball and Band riding simulation,
exercise and teaching device.
In conjunction with the development of W&H, Midkiff partnered
with the American Quarter Horse Association to establish and develop
a new perpetual award program through the Women's Sports Foundation
called the AQHA National Female Equestrian Award to recognize
and reward an outstanding female equestrian annually. EQR is a
Foundation business member.
Midkiff is an active rider, trainer, clinician and author based
in Louisville, KY.
*Detailed career information, radio and television appearances,
articles list and further background are included in the Resume
Ms. Midkiff is a native of Lexington, Kentucky and a University
of Kentucky graduate with honors in Advertising and Communication.
During her lifelong involvement in the horse industry she has
interned at The Blood-Horse Magazine; acted as a consultant
for a nationally recognized sales and auction company; proffered
for a bloodstock agency; assisted in creating and promoting a
large Thoroughbred training center; commissioned to evaluate and
analyze a resort/ranch hotel riding concession; consulted with
the Maryland State Department of Education on developing and managing
the Potomac Horse Center; and worked as an administrator for a
Standardbred racing and breeding partnership.
Growing up in the heart of Bluegrass country, Midkiff has always
had horses in her blood. Her grandfather, Dan B. Midkiff, Sr.,
was a well known horse industry entrepreneur, training for such
notables as Louis B. Mayer and Nelson Bunker Hunt. He was a Thoroughbred
race horse trainer, owner and breeder; designer, builder and owner
of Thoroughbred farms and training centers throughout central
Kentucky; one of the founders and builders of the historic Keeneland
Race Course; and first president of the Thoroughbred Club of America.
A Versailles, Kentucky Thoroughbred breeding farm was her home
and her playground until she was 9. Her family then moved to Lexington
and she continued riding through lessons and working at horse
facilities. Her riding skills include saddleseat equitation, hunt
seat equitation, dressage and combined training. She also spent
many hours on the range helping her father herd cattle when he
moved to Texas. She completed the University of Kentucky's equitation
program with honors and received her Horsemaster's certification
in 1976 from the Maryland State Department of Education and the
British Horse Society. Midkiff has instructed and trained horses
for the past 30+ years.
From 1986-1991 in Washington, D.C., Midkiff served as the American
Horse Council's (AHC) Executive Secretary of Showing, State Horse
Councils, and the Animal Welfare Task Force. She traveled around
the country on behalf of AHC speaking and promoting the many positive
aspects of the horse industry, presenting factual industry data,
and informing various groups of legislative and organizational
activity. Her articles were published throughout the trade press
and she has been quoted as an equestrian expert on many occasions.
She acted as liaison to the American Youth Horse Council and received
a 1990 National Youth Leadership Award.
She coordinated an annual state horse council educational conference,
and AHC's annual convention in Washington, D.C., arranging and
implementing for the first time, a sponsorship program to support
the many special events and professional programs featured.
Midkiff also represented AHC on the Farm Animal Welfare Coalition,
a national group of agriculture-related producers and users concerned
about the animal welfare issue and being prepared in times of
adversity. In 1990, while attending the World Equestrian Games
in Stockholm, Sweden, she served in an advisory capacity representing
the United States before the FEI's committee on Animal Welfare.
Midkiff was editor of the "Horse Industry Directory," a comprehensive
listing of organizations and companies associated with the industry.