The beginner program focuses on:
- Supporting individuals who are interested in developing the skills necessary to eventually lease, own, or adopt their own horse
- Building autonomy in horse care and training – how to be a great horse owner!
- Foundational skills of safety (pressure and release), two-way communication (positive reinforcement), horse training (all of the above + intrinsic motivation), and horse care (first aid, nutrition, living environment, etc.).
- Students will learn about energy, space, non-verbal communication, and respect for each other (which are applicable beyond the horse world!)
Sooooooo what does this mean? Well, if you are looking for purely riding lessons, we are NOT the right fit. If you wish to get to know horses holistically so that one day, when you adopt your own horse, you will feel competent and stress-free (or well, as stress free as horse-owning can be :P), then you are in the right place!
We have horsemanship classes for all ages (Child, Teen and Adult) and levels (Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced), and new students can access them after attending New Student Orientation.
Each program includes 6 classes (one class per week for 6 consecutive weeks). There will be one make-up week at the end. Other missed classes cannot be rescheduled or reimbursed so please be sure you’re available for all of the dates before signing up.
Adult Beginner Horsemanship Goals
Here it is:
✓ Stay safe IN the track
✓ Haltering independently
✓ Gate protocol
✓ Multiple cinchings
✓ Lead from the ground, understanding despooking in situations full of distractions
✓ Courtesy bubble
✓ Courtesy bubble, hind-quarters yield, forequarters yield at liberty
✓ How to feed & how often to feed with Positive Reinforcement
✓ Calm Default Stationing with Positive Reinforcement
✓ Emergency dismount; one-rein stop (from horseback)
On-Line & At Liberty
✓ Lead “horse of the day” in the track, to the gate, to tie rack and to the arena
✓ Lead from the ground in different situations (arena, obstacles, trail)
✓ Basic liberty behaviors with Positive Reinforcement
Care and Tack
✓ Performing body-scans to assess potential pain or injuries
✓ Grooming independently (including hoof-picking)
✓ Tacking up independently, English or Western
✓ Posting trot
No matter if you are completely new to horses or if you have previous horse experience, we have a prerequisite for you to attend our Horsemanship Classes – the New Student Orientation! If you are a graduate of Orientation, then go ahead and book away! If not, then talk to us!
Upon enrollment, we will ask you to check a box where you confirm that you understand that this program has limited riding and that all of our programs are focused on becoming sidekicks to happy horses (see “A Note on Riding” below).
For the 6 session program
+ $60 add-on if you are partnering with a Hatha Equus horse (for humans who are not yet leasing)
Note that exact lessons may vary depending on weather, horse availability, etc.
- Weeks 1 / 2: Energy & Groundwork (Round Pen)
- Including: All of Foundations + Lead in all situations (arena, to tie rack, out back), solitary gate opening and closing, hindquarter yield, forehand yield, round pen intention, energy work
- Weeks 3 / 4: R+ Intro
- Including: All of Foundations + Proper R+ feeding, calm default, stop/start signals, introduce behaviors at liberty
- Weeks 5 / 6: Intrinsic Motivation Intro
- Including: All of the Foundations + Introduction to Intrinsic Motivation (theory, science, tools (crunches, panther walk, ooops I changed my mind, etc.)
You may have noticed riding isn’t prominent in the sample schedule. Here’s why….
Horses are our friends & partners and are sentient beings so we believe that:
- having a relationship and building a partnership is crucial before we ride
- it’s important to understand what our horses are communicating to us and how we can communicate with them on the ground before we do so in the saddle
- horses should consent to riding and we should leave their backs when they ask us to (so we need the skillset to ask for consent and know when they’re asking us to get off)
- riding is the cherry on top of a relationship with a horse; time spent with them on the ground is just as rewarding and important (and is the 90% time)!
Given that, we feel that students should be experts in reading horses and communicating with them (back-and-forth via our energy, pressure and release, and positive reinforcement) and building partnership before riding is introduced.
A Note on Riding
It is absolutely possible, yet it takes a while to master this "way".