Selecting a Horse Training School


Is it your dream to attend a horse training school? Do you want to make a living riding or training horses? Do you want to increase your skills with horses? Maybe your goal is to ride professionally or obtain horse training certification.

It can be overwhelming to choose the right equestrian school for YOUR equine goals.

You may consider a four year college degree in horse training or equine science. If you are a student of natural horsemanship you may want to further your education or even become certified in a certain horsemanship method.

There are SO many choices out there. There is everything from small, local trainers that offer some courses to full four year programs at dedicated equestrian colleges. You'll need to figure out what your goals are for attending a horse training school.

What do YOU want to achieve?

horse training school

What Kind of School do You Need?

When choosing a horse training school you have to know

  • what area you want to study

If you are looking for a girls’ preparatory school that focuses on an english style of riding, you would not want to consider those schools that only had a performance based western horse training focus. If you want to do behavior based training a classic equine college or a program that focuses on showing may not be the best fit.

  • what kind of degree or certification you are seeking

Programs vary from apprenticeships with local trainers, courses for a certain specialized certification, to bachelor's degrees. With each certification, degree or specialization you'll need to consider

  • how much time and money you are willing to invest in your education

You are looking for the program or horse training school that gives you the best return on your investment for both your time and money. Finding the right match is critical!


Do Your Research

Once you have narrowed down potential schools based on your preferences call them and ask or verify

  • how long their program is
  • what the curriculum includes
  • do you or can you bring your own horse?
  • Many horse schools offer a way to bring and board your own horse while others keep listings of local off campus boarding facilities.
  • what certification or degree is awarded upon successful completion.

Remember that experience is very important for successfully training horses.

You will want to choose a school or program that besides having classroom learning also has as much hands-on and lab work as possible. This is especially true if you have little horse training experience to begin with. Let’s look at a few of the categories of horse training schools.

Horse Crazy Girl or Boy Headed to College?

equestrian schools

Four year state colleges with inter-collegiate teams and private equestrian colleges are best choice for teenagers that are currently competing. Typically a four year school that has an equine program is going to be priced lower than a private all equestrian college.

There are increasingly more two year programs at some junior colleges or alliances between the junior college and a horse training school. This is good because you can get the training you are looking for at an accredited school and possibly get an associates degree.



Instructor Certification

There are programs for instructor certification available all over the U.S. While there is no central instructor certification or school, there are independent organizations that have guidelines and minimum required training hours to become certified. Generally the organizations that govern specific disciplines have some certifications available.

An example of this is United States Dressage Federation (USDF) that offers certified instructor and/or trainer designations recognized through the levels of dressage. The USDF offers a certification for training level through second level.

There are other independent certifying programs such as The American Riding Instructor Association (ARIA) and the Certified Horsemanship Association. Typically, these programs are less intensive that committing to a full 2 or 4 year program. They are also geared more towards trainers in the industry that are looking for certification to expand the services they offer clients.

Online Horse Training Schools?

equine programs

Equine courses and school online are popping up for horse training, management and as horse training information for owners. They can be a great resource in increase your skills with horses. These courses generally consist of a series of online horse training and husbandry classes that are completed to obtain certification.

Remember to thoroughly research any program, but especially any online horse school offering degrees and certifications. Do this before sending any of your personal information. Make sure they are legitimate businesses by verifying

  • their contact information
  • location
  • check their rating with the Better Business Bureau
  • verify what the certification is and who is the certifying organization

The last thing you want to do is give out your personal and financial information to a scammer.


Horse Behavior and Natural Training

Many of the bigger name natural horse trainers that base their training on horse behavior have their own horsemanship schools and stables where they teach students and/or offer certification in their specific brand of natural horsemanship.

Clinton Anderson, Pat Parelli and John Lyons are some of them. These schools are unique among the other horse training schools in the way the education is presented. Most are an apprenticeship model of education. They generally offer a certification by the organization. Some have affiliations with trade/two year colleges You will gain experience with an emphasis on equine behavior as it applies to horse training.

Girls’ Preparatory School

I can’t say that I wouldn’t have wanted to be sent to a horse related girls’ preparatory school! Heaven on earth, right? These are typically girls’ boarding school where all the other girls are just as crazy about horses as you are.

Horses become a focus in your high school education. A preparatory school will typically have strict and rigorous academic requirements.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about the different schools that are available to help you in your horse loving and learning pursuits!


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