Horsemanship Schools: What Are They?

Horsemanship schools are places where you can learn about a variety of horse topics from care to riding. What’s more interesting that learning about horses? After all, if you’re reading this page you are probably horse crazy and will do anything you can to learn more about horses!

It’s great to learn more about things you are passionate about, especially if you are considering becoming a professional horseback rider or horse trainer. If you want to learn more about every aspect of horses or are considering a career with horses that includes more than just riding then these schools could be for you!

It’s great to learn more about things you are passionate about, especially if you are considering becoming a professional horseback rider or horse trainer. If you want to learn more about every aspect of horses or are considering a career with horses that includes more than just riding, then a horsemanship school could be for you!

Many Horsemanship courses are in depth longer programs run by natural horsemanship trainers, but the scope of a horsemanship school goes well beyond that. Any school that includes horse care, groundwork, feeding, equine behavior, psychology, farrier work as well as riding and training is considered a horsemanship school because it teaches more than just how to ride.

Youth Programs and 4-H

Many youth programs such as the 4-H horse program partner with local universities to offer courses for local youth where they bring their own horse to learn everything from feeding, riding, to safely ground training a horse.

There are also non 4-H extension programs at Agriculture based colleges available for children and adults. These programs range from two days to one week in length and are taught by college age instructors that have gone through proper training on how to effectively and safely teach riders.

Natural Horsemanship Clinics

Natural horse trainers offer shorter natural horsemanship clinics which are one day to several weeks in length where horse behavior relating to groundwork and riding is the main topic. These courses allow you to have daily natural horsemanship lessons that build on each other to help you and your horse progress dramatically in a short time. Topics that may be covered in these clinics are saddle fit, what is and is not natural horsemanship equipment, ground safety and handling, riding using natural horsemanship methods and natural horse care.

Natural Horsemanship Courses

If you want to learn natural horsemanship in-depth for a career, and the practical business aspect of owning a horse training business then one of the longer horsemanship courses would be ideal for you. In these natural horsemanship courses your stay is much longer, typically several weeks to several years. Many programs of this nature offer a certification or endorsement of a particular method of natural horsemanship training when you pass the program up to the standards the school requires. Some such as LaCense Ranch in Montana guarantee job placement in the equine industry for its two year program graduates.

Horsemanship School Topics

You will learn equine psychology, horsemanship training, groundwork, behavior, feeding practices, basic farrier care, business management, proper equipment, improve riding skills, better timing and feel in training, what causes and how to change “bad” behaviors both on the ground and while riding. Most horsemanship schools of this type have their own brand natural horsemanship equipment or some they endorse such as particular types of rope halters or leads.

How to Learn Horsemanship on a Tight Budget

Let's face it. Horses are an expensive passion! Attending horsemanship schools can add up! A 2 day clinic has an average cost of about $600 just for participation. That doesn’t include stabling fees, hauling, health certificates and shavings in that cost.

I’ve attended several shorter courses with natural horsemanship trainers where I have hauled out to their location or a barn that hosts the clinic. Unless your barn can host the course you’ll have to haul out to their farm, or a host barn where the clinician is teaching. Many clinicians will give a discount to the clinic organizer or host. If you are interested in going to a horsemanship school but can’t haul out or afford to attend a longer program then you can try bringing the horsemanship school to you! It never hurts to ask, and many clinicians will reward your hard work at helping them organize, fill and staff their clinic with volunteers with a discount or even some free lessons!

If that is out of your budget there is an even more affordable option that allows you to still take part in horsemanship schools, auditing. Many clinicians allow people to come watch, take notes and sometimes even participate in non-horse simulations along with the paying riders. Auditing can cost anywhere from as little as $25/day up to several hundred for a longer course. Auditing can be a very affordable way for you to increase your knowledge, sampling different training techniques. A bonus here is that it is often easier to see what is going on with a horse and see why the instructor is saying what they are when you are not the one handling the horse in the moment. Call around and see what trainers are coming to you and see if you can audit!

I hope you have enjoyed learning about some of the types horsemanship schools there are out there and what to expect. Need some basics first? Check out my natural horse training page to give you an idea what to expect with natural training methods.

Like I said before, many of the big name horse trainers have longer courses that you may want to look into. Check out the links below for other schools in Natural Horsemanship.

Parelli Horse Training- Offers clinics by certified instructors all over the world as well as longer courses of two weeks and up at their campus in Pagosa Springs, CO. Some scholarships are available

Clinton Anderson Horse Training- Downunder Horsemanship has an intern program as well as certified instructor courses at his ranch in Stephenville, TX.

Chris Cox - Video courses, clinics, etc.

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