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Natural Horsemanship Program Offers Unique Opportunities Abroad

August 21, 2019

Instructors and students in the University of Montana Western’s Natural Horsemanship program participated in several international teaching opportunities during the summer.

Natural Horsemanship Instructor Eric Hoffmann taught horsemanship classes in Germany with Camas Neville and Maggie Blandford, UMW Natural Horsemanship students who were able to share their knowledge as guest clinicians.

The two clinics, hosted by the Deutsche and American Quarter Horse Associations, featured topics including young horse development, roping, ground work, tack usage and improving overall horsemanship skills.

The expenses of the trip are covered by scholarships through the associations, including food, lodging, and travel expenses.

The first clinic was held at the Five Star Ranch in Bad Sassendorf, Germany from July 18-21, and the second clinic was held in Wollbach, Germany from July 27-30.

The clinics emphasized horsemanship skills in the saddle. Hoffmann, Neville and Blandford taught basic drills for steering and stopping horses, advanced drills for experienced riders, roping, and overall drills for better performance.

The clinics also included general knowledge about horses, including nutrition, trailer loading, working from the ground, and a judge’s perspective on showmanship.

“The experience was great for both UMW students who taught what they learned in the Natural Horsemanship program, experience a new culture and an international equine industry, and for the camp participants who got to learn new horsemanship skills. This program will continue in the future so our students can expand their knowledge about the international equine world,” said Hoffmann.

The Natural Horsemanship program is offered through the Equine Studies Department at the University of Montana Western in partnership with the Montana Center for Horsemanship.

Montana Western offers the nation’s only Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Horsemanship with options in equine management, psychology, science and instruction. UMW also offers a Bachelor of Science degree in equine management and associate degrees in equine studies and Natural Horsemanship., an online education resource, also ranked UMW among the “Best Equestrian Colleges” nationwide.

Many of the equine courses take place at the Montana Center for Horsemanship (MCH), a natural horsemanship-based facility located less than two miles from campus.

The Montana Center for Horsemanship is the first and only equine center in the United States that is devoted expressly to promoting ‘Natural Horsemanship.’ With its stables, arenas, riding areas, and instructors, the center serves as the primary facility and progressive teaching resource for Montana Western’s Natural Horsemanship BS curriculum.

The MCH teaches the ‘La Cense Method,’ which was developed under William Kriegel, owner of La Cense Montana and Haras de la Cense in France. Mr. Kriegel is also co-founder of MCH, and he has been involved in Natural Horsemanship for many years. The Le Cense Method is a progressive, step-by-step process that blends the best of traditional horsemanship training with the art of training and riding horses—all in a manner that works with a horse’s behavior, instincts, and personality. Taking a positive and respectful approach, the La Cense Method gradually builds trust, and frees the horses to be confident in all they are asked to perform.

For more information about the Natural Horsemanship program, please visit the Equine Studies Department website.