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UMW natural horsemanship program gets new home

UMW News Bureau

Students in the University of Montana Western natural horsemanship program will begin moving into a brand new, state-of-the-art equine facility this fall. UMW NEWS BUREAU Students in the University of Montana Western natural horsemanship program will begin moving into a brand new, state-of-the-art equine facility this fall. Montana Western Chancellor Richard Storey said the university’s program, which offers the nation’s only four-year natural horsemanship degree, is scheduled to begin offering natural horsemanship skills classes at the Montana Center for Horsemanship (MCH) in August 2011. Located on Highway 91, the center currently is in phase one construction and is owned and operated by a private, non-profit foundation. As the center develops it will also be available to other community functions and tenets as well as to the Montana Western rodeo team for practice. Local rancher Cal Erb will serve as the foundation board president. “Montana Western is providing the finest natural horsemanship program in the country,” Erb said. “We recognize the importance of this program for the university as well as the benefit for our community. The center will provide new infrastructure and sustained economic growth for the community while continuing to enhance the legacy of western values.” The new facility will provide a unique number of benefits to Montana Western students, including a full-size outdoor arena (150’x300’), individual horse boarding in a 20’x60’ (12’x20’ covered) pen, individual tack lockers under the covered pen, feeding horses and clean pens. Long-term trailer parking and short-term parking for vehicles is also planned. “As well as providing comfort, safety and security for students and their horses, the new facility will be close to campus and will save students considerable costs in fuel and equipment,” Montana Western Chancellor Richard Storey said. “In addition, the tuition will be included in students’ annual cost of attendance budgets for financial aid purposes.” Since 2004, the University has operated the unique and highly successful natural horsemanship program in close partnership with La Cense Montana. Until the new indoor area is constructed, Montana Western students will continue to use the La Cense full-sized indoor arena during inclement weather with transportation of horses being provided by Montana Western. Montana Western equine program chair and rodeo coach Olie Else said the facility will be a boon to the growing program. “We here at Montana Western are excited about the new facility,” Else said. “This was the crucial missing element to the development our program. As always we constantly strive to bring the best possible educational experience to our students.”