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Natural Horsemanship Degree from University of Montana Western
Get your Natural Horsemanship Degree at the University of Montana Western!

About the Equine Studies Department at the University of Montana Western

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, and instruction. A bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an Equine Management option is also offered for students wanting to start or manage their own equine-related business.

Students majoring in equine studies or natural horsemanship at Montana Western must select one of the four areas of emphasis beyond the general education and equine core classes.

The management option aids students in preparing to run their own training or boarding facility, run a small business in an equine-related area or manage the equine aspects of larger business or other enterprise.

The psychology option is geared toward individuals with an interest in equine assisted learning and/or equine-assisted therapy. Graduates may choose to go on to graduate school in clinical therapy or become horse specialists through organizations such as the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EGALA).

The science option is geared toward a student interested in science and a greater understanding of the biology of a horse. These students may be contemplating veterinary school or graduate school in some aspect of equine science.

The instruction option is designed for students preparing to instruct others in horsemanship methods and techniques. Graduates may choose to teach at clinics, barns, colleges or pursue further studies with organizations including the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA). 

About Our Easy Application Process

To apply to the University of Montana Western and begin your journey with Equine Studies and Natural Horsemanship, visit our Admissions webpage today or call 1-877-683-7331.
* NOTE* Natural Horsemanship majors must first be admitted to the university and then apply to the Natural Horsemanship program.

For more information about Equine Studies at the University of Montana Western and to apply to the Natural Horsemanship program, please visit the Department website.

Just What Degrees are Available?

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Natural Horsemanship.

This four-year degree program provides students the opportunity to learn the skills of natural horsemanship and obtain a career among the many equine-related fields.

Natural Horsemanship majors often double major in other areas including business, biology and psychology, based on the interests and future goals of the of the student (i.e. specific career field or applying to graduate school in various areas of study including veterinary science).

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Business Administration, Equine Management option.

This degree prepares students to start or manage an equestrian-related business.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Equine Studies.

This two-year degree is designed to provide students with a background for pursuing a career that draws on their passion for horses. Most of the courses completed in this degree also apply towards the Bachelor of Natural Horsemanship degree if a student desires to advance beyond their two-year degree.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Natural Horsemanship.

This two-year degree program gives students the opportunity to learn the basics of the skills of natural horsemanship and obtain a career in many equine-related fields. All of the courses completed in this degree also apply towards the Bachelor of Natural Horsemanship degree if a student desires to advance beyond their two-year degree.

About Our B.S. and A.A.S. Natural Horsemanship Degrees

Since 2004, Montana Western has operated the unique Natural Horsemanship program employing the La Cense Method, a world-renowned methodology in natural horsemanship education developed under Mr. William Kriegel. This program teaches students to work with horses using cooperative methods based on the principles of equine behavior.

Students accepted into the program will initially work towards an associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree. Students wishing to pursue a bachelor’s degree must satisfactorily pass qualifying exams after the second year to continue study into the third and fourth years and must maintain a “B” average in this program to progress. Students must also have a horse to be admitted in the natural horsemanship programs.

About Our Associate of Applied Science in Equine Studies Degree

This broad-based introductory degree provides a solid foundation for a student interested in a future with horses. The basic elements of the degree include general education classes and the equine core classes.
  • Associate of Science students may opt to continue on to one of Montana Western’s bachelor’s degrees upon successful completion of the A.A.S. degree.
  • The Associate of Science degree does not require students to bring a horse.

About the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Equine Management Option

This degree is the best option for a student interested in a future career in some aspect of equine business or management. Montana Western’s Business Department provides a well-rounded bachelor’s degree with an equine emphasis that allows a student to mold business studies toward a range of topics including finance, tourism and equine facilities management.
  • The B.S. degree in Business Administration, Equine Management Option
does not require students to bring a horse.
The Montana Center for Horsemanship-- Our Partner!

To maintain the highest quality instruction and ensure a thriving future of its equine programs, Montana Western entered into a partnership with the Montana Center for Horsemanship (MCH) in 2011.

The partnership provides access to a state-of-the-art equine facility for program instruction and the boarding of horses. The facility provides a comfortable, safe and secure environment for students and their horses. Horses are fed and their pens cleaned by MCH staff. Facility features include a brand new 200’ x 300’ arena building with a 135’ x 300’ indoor riding arena, an 80’ x 140’ Coverall arena, a 150’x300’ full-size outdoor arena, individual horse boarding in a 20’x60’ (12’x20’ covered) pen, individual tack lockers under the covered pen, and long-term trailer parking and short-term vehicle parking.

There is a $1,850 per semester special program tuition for resident and non-resident natural horsemanship majors seeking an A.A.S. or B.S. degree. This special tuition helps cover the costs of instruction, equipment, facilities, boarding, feeding and cleaning stalls.

Montana Western's Colt Challenge and Sale

This special event is an annual colt competition and sale that advocates the education of students in all aspects of the horse industry. This event is the result of two courses: Sales Preparation I and II, which are capstone courses for the Natural Horsemanship program. In these classes, colts are donated by local and regional ranches that have been raising horses focusing on performance and cow-horse bloodlines. For six months, students learn how to work with the colts in a ranch atmosphere. In the spring, students will compete on their colt for scholarships and prizes. The following day, the colts are sold to raise money for scholarships in the Natural Horsemanship program- make sure to support this wonderful sale and learn more 

Don't Forget Our International Opportunities!

Deutsche Quarter Horse Association
Students travel over to Germany and teach horsemanship methods and techniques to foreign students in the western discipline for two weeks. This is an internship opportunity for instruction majors.

Ecole du Domaine du Possible
Students travel to southern France for a semester-long program teaching young students about the methods and techniques of natural horsemanship.  This is an internship opportunity for instruction majors.

The Western Undergraduate Exchange

The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) is a scholarship program in which students in eligible states can receive a scholarship valued at over $7,500 annually.

WUE is administered by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). WICHE states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

At Montana Western, WUE scholarships are automatically awarded to high school students with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Transfer students with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 will also be considered for this scholarship. Students must be fully admitted to Montana Western by July 1 to be eligible for a WUE scholarship.

For more information, visit the WUE website  For questions, contact the UMW Admissions Office at 1-877-683-7331 or e-mail

Extracurricular Organizations About At UM Western!

In addition to the various degree options, students may join one of our extracurricular equine organizations. An equine-related major is not required to participate in these programs.

Equestrian Club

The Equestrian Club competes under the auspices, rules and regulations of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA), recognized members of the U.S.A. Equestrian Federation. Members may have experience in the sport or may be beginning horse enthusiasts. Members may ride Western or English and owning a horse is not required. The IHSA’s competitions are affordable because individual colleges/universities host each event and provide the horses. Riders are not allowed to use their own horses and personal tack and schooling/warm-ups are not permitted.

Horseman’s Club
The University of Montana Western Horseman’s Club strives to promote and enhance the art of horsemanship. Club members foster camaraderie between enthusiasts of all horsemanship disciplines. Promoting interest, understanding, and appreciation of the western way of life and culture is one of the club’s primary goals. We encourage the humane treatment of livestock while enjoying the art of horsemanship. As a member you will participate in activities that will further your horsemanship expertise.

Draft Horse Driving Club
The Draft Horse Driving Club’s purpose is to promote draft horse driving as an organized and standard sport. Club members seek to generate interest, understanding, appreciation, and vigilance over the Western way of life, culture, and Western affairs. They encourage the humane treatment of animals and would like to encourage students and community members to embrace activities of the West.

Collegiate Stockgrowers Club

The purpose Collegiate Stockgrowers Club is to educate students on opportunities and careers in agriculture. Club members participate in organizing the local farm fair, attend the annual Stockgrowers meeting, and attend the Denver National Stock Show.

Vet Science Club

This club provides an opportunity for students to engage with each other and faculty members who share an interest in veterinary medicine, science, and related techniques. Club members work with both large and small animals in an experiential learning environment.

Rodeo Team and Club

The UMW Rodeo Team is part of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) and enjoys a long history of success. Former team members include Jess Martin, Ryan Mapston, Jesse Peterson, Jake Hayworth, Bry Worthen, Jarrett Monroe and many more. Visit the Rodeo Team website for more information and upcoming competition schedule.

For more information, please contact head coach Kody Lahaye by calling 406-683-7001
or e-mail

The Rodeo Club provides support for the Montana Western rodeo teams and hosts several functions each year, including the holiday food drive, Heritage Days, and Dillon college rodeo. The club also hosts the Rodeo Team’s Annual Community Appreciation Banquet.

Young Farmers and Ranchers Club

The purpose of this organization is to further communication among people with an interest in agricultural issues, to educate students about the work of an agricultural organization, and to provide experience with local, state, and national government through active participation in legislative activities. As a member, you will learn about Farm Bureau policies and activities and promote occupations related to agriculture. The club also attends the National Convention each year.

School of Outreach
Montana Western’s School of Outreach also offers a variety of additional workshop and weekend courses. For more information, call toll-free (866) 799-9140 or (406) 683-7537 or visit the School of Outreach website.

Contact Montana Western Today!

To apply to the University of Montana Western and begin your journey with Equine Studies and Natural Horsemanship, visit our Admissions webpage or call 1-877-683-7331.
For more information about Equine Studies at the University of Montana Western and to apply to the Natural Horsemanship program, please visit the Department website.

*Natural Horsemanship majors must first be admitted to the university and then apply to the Natural Horsemanship program.

Contact: Admissions 
710 S. Atlantic Street
Dillon, Montana 59725
Phone: 1-877-683-7331
Website: Click Here To Connect

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