Horsemanship Curriculum at WCC

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The Horsemanship Program at Wyoming Catholic College is a two-credit course that provides introductory instruction into basic horsemanship skills at a school owned arena just outside of Lander, Wyoming, reflection and experience with communicating with creatures of other natures than mankind, and discussions of and relating to practical moral virtues. It is usually taken during either the second semester of a student's freshman year of the first semester of their sophomore year, with half of a class taking it each semester. However, beginning in 2020, it will solely be during students' sophomore year, alternating with half taking it first semester and half during their second semester.



Wyoming Catholic College considers the Horsemanship Program an important part of its curriculum, one that provides occasion for the students to get to know themselves better. Socrates reminds us that part of wisdom is to “know thyself.” Paradoxically, this advice is best kept not by looking within for some elusive “self,” but by interacting in lively ways with God’s creation. The horse, one of God’s noblest creatures, is a living, conscious being operating at a high level of animal intelligence; it has a character, and emotions, “a mind of its own”; it is not a mere machine, with “push button” results. The rider needs to establish and maintain a gentle balance with his equine partner. Together, horse and rider can achieve outstanding results with time, patience, guidance, communication, humility, and respect. Moreover, horses have been inextricably bound up with Western civilization for thousands of years and, closer to home, have played a prominent role in Wyoming’s history: they brought people here, served their evolving agricultural needs, and became a force in forming the heritage of the American West. Horsemanship is the ability of a person to establish a working relationship with horses, predict their behavior and even to understand how a horse “thinks.” It is a partnership based on tasks, fitness, and an understanding of each other’s needs. Horses are large and powerful animals, but they can also be timid and easily frightened. With the right approach, horses can be kind and obedient creatures who desire human interaction.


This semester teaches the fundamentals of horsemanship, providing fundamental knowledge in horse anatomy and function, conformation, horsemanship practices, stabling, training, and health care, along with much practice in riding and Western tack. Cues, aids, gaits, and maneuvers are thoroughly explained, demonstrated, and practiced. Individual help is given in areas needed. Texts for the course are chosen by the instructor.

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