Meet ‘Down the Fence’ Producer MJ Isakson

Filmmaker MJ Isakson is completing a film documenting the sport of ‘reined cow horse,’ its horses, and its legends.

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Down the Fence is on track to be completed by the end of summer 2015.

Filmmaker MJ Isakson set out six years ago to create a film documenting reined cow horse, its horses, its competitors, and legends. Now, with a successful online fundraiser behind them, Isakson and her team are on the cusp of completing the project.

Reined cow horse, or simply “cow horse,” is the three-day eventing of the Western world. The competition has three components: reining, called the dry work; cutting, called the herd work; and fence work, the celebrated highlight, grand finale—full tilt, flying down the fence while working a 900-pound steer in a specific pattern and manner. Each of these requires skill, courage, finesse, and a lot of guts for both rider and horse.

Most all horses have a certain amount of “cowiness”—the ability to rate and move a cow—but it takes a talented, special horse to learn how to go down the fence and cut a cow out of a herd

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Written by:

Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.

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