The Equine Studies Department at UMW offers the only Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Horsemanship in the U.S., with options in equine management, psychology, science, business and instruction.
The courses taught in the Equine Studies Department combine real-world experience and the knowledge of working with a horse’s mind. In this department you will be challenged to use the skill of problem-solving and also be taught the ability to succeed in the equine industry. The option areas are designed to target areas that students have selected as career paths. Courses provide the knowledge and confidence one needs to enter the industry.
In order to be successful in this program, students will need to be dedicated to learning and have an unprecedented passion for horses. Students will not just be driven to reach their academic goals but also their life aspirations. You will make life-long connections through fellow equine students, department professors and internships that will help you on your road in the equine world. Over 70% of the students in this program are from out-of-state and the program has one of the highest retention rates on campus. For the student looking for more of an adventurous journey, oversea internships and study abroad programs are being developed.
Students in the Natural Horsemanship program are taught the "La Cense Method," which was developed under Mr. William Kriegel.
The La Cense Method is a progressive, step-by-step process that blends the best of traditional horsemanship training with the art of training and riding horses—all in a manner that works with a horse’s behavior, instincts, and personality. Taking a positive and respectful approach, the La Cense Method gradually builds trust, and frees the horses to be confident in all they are asked to perform.
Natural Horsemanship majors must be admitted to the university and apply to the program.
To apply to the University of Montana Western and begin your journey with Natural Horsemanship, visit our Admissions webpage today or call 1-877-683-7331.
To apply to the Natural Horsemanship program, click to download the application.
Iola Else, M.S.Iola Else, Montana Western's accomplished rodeo coach, also brings her lifelong knowledge of and experience with horses to Montana Western‘s equine studies program. In addition to supervising natural horsemanship courses, Else teaches facilities management and young-horse starting and development. She is the campus’ liaison to the La Cense Montana ranch where the courses in natural horsemanship are conducted.
Ava DuncanAva Duncan is one of the La Cense Horsemanship Instructors. She graduated from the University of Montana Western with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Natural Horsemanship and a minor in Equine Instruction. Ava's personal experience in the Natural Horsemanship program coupled with her diverse background in the equine industry helps her to meet each individual student wherever they are in their learning process.
Eric HoffmanEric Hoffmann is the head instructor at La Cense Montana. He has taught the natural horsemanship classes at Montana Western since 2008. As a student of Hoffmann's you will gain the confidence and knowledge that will give you readiness for a future career in the equine industry.
What Equine Studies Students Have to Say.
“I like the program because it teaches us new methods in a unique subject.”
“The hands-on learning experiences combined with instructor one-on-one time allow you to gain a large amount of knowledge in a short period of time.”
“Being able to attend class with your horse is amazing.”
“The students learn so much from the in-arena demonstrations.”