Jun 25, 2024  
2021-2022 Catalog 
2021-2022 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Natural Horsemanship, AAS

Program Mission Statement

The mission of the AAS: Natural Horsemanship 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 the 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 horse-person. Montana Western’s experiential approach and broadbased 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 will evaluate 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 Admissions Office or through the UMW Equine Studies website at https://www.umwestern.edu/department/equine-studies/.

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 and 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. See Natural Horsemanship, BS  .

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.

Graduate Outcomes

Program graduates:

  • Are 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.
  • Are 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 are 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.
  • Are able to assess and work with a horse in most situations encountered during normal handling and riding activities.
  • Possess the knowledge and skills required to assess a horse’s basic health status.
  • Are able to assess a horse’s conformation and gait and relate it to that horse’s suitability, function, and health.
  • Are able to recognize and evaluate a variety of horse feeds and pasture situations.
  • Are conversant about and able to recognize common disease problems in horses.
  • Understand and can evaluate the effectiveness of equine preventative health programs.


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

Credit Requirements

General Education: 16 Credits

General Education 

Select 1 course/4 credits from the following;

Professional Electives: Select 8 credits from the following:

AAS: Natural Horsemanship Total Credits: 72