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Natural Horsemanship Students Share Knowledge in Germany

July 31, 2018

Natural Horsemanship Instructor Eric Hoffmann is currently teaching in Germany with Tess Turk and Lorrie Ann Smith, UMW Natural Horsemanship students who are also sharing their knowledge as guest clinicians.


The clinics, hosted by the Deutsche and American Quarter Horse Associations, will feature topics including young horse development and improving overall horsemanship skills.

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

The clinics are open for all breeds of horses, with the goal for riders to learn how to communicate with their horses and improve their riding and handling skills.

The first clinic will be held at the Five Star Ranch in Bad Sassendorf, Germany, and the second clinic will be held at Jomm Ranches in Großwallstadt, Germany.

Eric Hoffmann

The clinics will emphasize horsemanship skills in the saddle. Hoffmann, Turk and Smith will teach basic drills for steering and stopping horses, advanced drills for experienced riders, roping, and overall drills for better performance.

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

Lorrie Ann Smith at Colt Challenge

This exciting opportunity to travel and share expertise abroad evolved through the Natural Horsemanship program’s collaboration with equine industry leaders, including AQHA Executive Committee First Vice President, Stan Weaver. Each fall, students from Montana Western assist with the Weaver Quarter Horse Sale in Great Falls, Mont.

The Weaver family, who have been producing the auction for the last 22 years, are also supporters of the Natural Horsemanship program at the University of Montana Western. Stan and Nancy Weaver have donated colts for the last five years to UMW’s Sales Preparation course.

Each year, UMW Natural Horsemanship students train colts in a variety of ranch tasks and then demonstrate the abilities of each colt followed by a sale. The proceeds from Montana Western’s Colt Challenge and Sale are reinvested in the program to provide scholarships for Natural Horsemanship students. This year’s sale raised over $96,000, with buyers coming from across the United States.

Tess Turk with Colt

Johannes Orgeldinger, the first person from outside the United States to be AQHA president, also operates Jomm Ranches with his wife Astrid, where the second clinic will be held.

Montana Center for Horsemanship board member, Don Treadway Jr., who served as executive vice president of the AQHA, helped to connect Natural Horsemanship instructor Eric Hoffmann with the unique opportunity for students in the program while attending the Weaver’s sale last fall.

“It’s exciting to see how the program has grown and how our connections to the equine field are providing more and more opportunities for our students,” said Hoffmann.

Montana Center for Horsemanship

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.