March 5, 2019
Lorrie Ann Smith, a Natural Horsemanship major originally from Hawaii, completed an internship with the Deutsch Quarter Horse Association (DQHA). Smith traveled to Germany with Head Horsemanship Instructor Eric Hoffmann and fellow Natural Horsemanship student, Tess Turk. The trio conducted horsemanship clinics at two different equine facilities in the country.
Smith first taught at the 5-Star Ranch. The clinic group consisted of 25 adults, most of which spoke English proficiently. The participants had a variety of different riding abilities but Smith attests that they were all willing to learn and adopt new approaches to horsemanship.
The second clinic was held at the Jomm Ranch, which is owned by former American Quarter Horse Association President, Johannes Orgeldinger. At this particular clinic, the participants were mostly younger girls who had not yet studied English in school so there was a language barrier for Smith to overcome while teaching.
“Translating horsemanship terms is kind of a struggle,” Smith stated.
Smith noted that the riding scene in Europe is much different from the one commonly seen in the United States. She learned that most people in Germany had never ridden their horses outside of an arena.
Both the 5-Star Ranch and the Jomm Ranch had arenas and trail riding areas so Smith, Hoffmann, and Turk found ways to get clinic goers out of the confines of an arena. The goal of this internship was to have Natural Horsemanship students from UMW teach techniques that people could apply in their everyday riding.
“I enjoyed when we went on trail rides, especially with the younger girls at the Jomm Ranch. Riding outside really helped them connect the dots,” explained Smith.
Smith admits that traveling and teaching internationally has its challenges but the lifelong friendships and career connections she cultivated, made the trip a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This internship, offered once a year exclusively to a UMW student majoring in Natural Horsemanship, is all expense paid.
“You’ll learn a lot about horsemanship and you’ll learn a lot about yourself,” Smith said while giving a presentation about her time in Germany.
To learn more about Montana Western and their unique Natural Horsemanship degree, please visit the UMW equine studies website.