Jul 21, 2024  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Natural Horsemanship, BS

Program Mission Statement

The mission of the BS: Natural Horsemanship program is to provide students with an education in equine theory and science combined with the practical skills of natural horsemanship. Horsemanship skills taught in the practical classes are heavily based on the principles of equine behavior along with horse training methods of experts renowned in natural horsemanship and similar disciplines. Academic aspects of the program are designed to increase students’ knowledge of the science, care, and management of horses, and to expand their awareness of the equine industry well above that of the average horseperson. The University of Montana Western’s experiential approach and broad-based curriculum allows the successful graduate to pursue a wide range of equine-related professions.

Program Information

In addition to general admission to UMW, students interested in the Natural Horsemanship Program must apply by March 1st for the introductory Natural Horsemanship classes that will start that fall (August). The Natural Horsemanship Admissions Committee evaluates prospective students based on a combination of academic ability, horsemanship experience, natural horsemanship experience (if any), and student desire for participation in the program. Application forms for the program are available from the UMW Admissions Office or via the Natural Horsemanship website:https://www.umwestern.edu/section/natural-horsemanship-application/ Natural Horsemanship students must provide their own horse. Housing and feed for that horse will be provided by the university in collaboration with the Montana Center for Horsemanship. UMW natural horsemanship instructors will determine the ultimate suitability of the horse; stallions or untrained horses are not acceptable.

Natural Horsemanship program students are assessed a program tuition charge each semester. Montana Western’s Natural Horsemanship program is demanding for both the students and their horses. Completion of the program in the allotted time frame demands that the student take a class overload. The UMW Academic Admissions & Standards Committee generally requires that a student taking a class overload maintain a “B” average. Therefore, a goal of academic excellence is a “must” for the interested participant.

To ensure that the Bachelor’s degree program graduates only the most outstanding students, a secondary assessment of prospective Bachelor’s degree students will be made after the second year or between the Associate of Applied Science and Bachelor’s degrees. Students will have to demonstrate a given level of proficiency in horsemanship, theory about natural horsemanship, and knowledge of basic equine science and horse care to advance to the 300-400 level natural horsemanship courses. For more information about the AAS: Natural Horsemanship, click here  .

Graduate Outcomes

Program graduates will:

  • be proficient in methods of horsemanship based on the theories of natural horsemanship and similar disciplines.
  • understand the principles of equine behavior and how they relate to horsemanship.
  • be knowledgeable and efficient in approaching young horse starting and initial development.
  • be well-versed in general knowledge about the equine industry including the common breeds, equine activities and events, and equine-related career options.
  • understand the principles of equine nutrition and basic horse care to maximize horse health and performance.
  • understand the basic anatomy and physiology of the horse, and be conversant with the common disease and lameness problems seen in horses.
  • understand and implement basic preventative herd health programs for horses.
  • communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, on equine-related subjects with a wide variety of equine professionals and others in the industry.
  • work collegially with others.
  • be able to assess and work with a horse in most situations encountered during normal handling and riding activities.
  • have sufficient knowledge to assess, identify, and overcome behavioral obstacles that hinder a horse’s development.
  • possess the knowledge and skills required to assess a horse’s basic health status.
  • be able to assess a horse’s conformation and gait and relate it to that horse’s suitability, function, and health.
  • be able to recognize and evaluate a variety of horse feeds and pasture situations.
  • be conversant about and able to recognize common disease problems in horses.
  • understand and evaluate the effectiveness of equine preventative health programs.


The graduate outcomes for the BS: Natural Horsemanship are assessed through the graduate/exit survey, employer survey, alumni survey, feedback from internship supervisors, review of collected student-generated exhibits over time, and program self-study and/or reports from external reviews. The assessment plan for the BS: Natural Horsemanship is available through the department.

Credit Requirements

General Education: 32 Credits

General Education  

Natural Sciences

  • CHMY 121  - Intro to General Chemistry 4
    (CHMY 141  for NH Science Option)

Select 1 course/4 credits from the following:

Behavioral & Social Sciences

Major Core Tracks: 6-8 Credits

Select one of the following tracks based on an option area

Track 1: For the Option Areas of Management; Psychology; and Science: 10 Credits

Track 2: For the NH: Instruction Option Area: 6 Credits

Select 1 course/4 credits from the following:


Option Area: 26-32 Credits

Select any one of the following options

Electives: 8-16 Credits

Select any college-level courses from the catalog to bring degree total to 120 credits

BS: Natural Horsemanship Total Credits: 120