Institute of Horsemanship

The Institute of Horsemanship Programmes

The Institute of Horsemanship programmes are designed in such a way that it can be done via distance learning.

You have the option to enrol with the purpose of achieving a certificate stipulating your competence in this specific aspect of horsemanship, or you can go it alone, in other words just receive the study material and work through it on your own.

The course consists of various programmes, each of which covers a specific aspect of horsemanship. Students enrol for one programme at a time. When they complete the programme successfully, they can start with the next one.

When you enrol, you receive a workbook, consisting of all the notes you will need, as well as a DVD or video, where the programme instructor illustrates on a horse what is expected of the student.

This should give the student all the information needed to complete the programme successfully. If the student has any questions, or does not understand something, he/she has access to the instructor via e-mail as well as a training forum on the Institute website especially designed for students. We will use the technology we have available as much as possible to make the instruction as effective as we can for the student.

When the student is ready, we provide an examination paper via e-mail, which the student completes by means of an open book test. The student will also be required to send us a video or DVD in which he/she demonstrates on a horse that he/she is able to apply the principles set out in the module.

The Course Instructor evaluates both the examination paper and the video/DVD and based on the competence displayed by the student, award a pass mark. If the student does not display an adequate level of competence, feedback is given to correct the mistakes. The exam is then taken again, until the correct level of competence is shown.

The cost of each individual programme is as follows:

For the certification option - R950.00
For the non-certification option - R800.00

The programmes currently available are "Teaching your horse to lead" and "Groundwork". The next programme on bitting-up exercises, will be available within a week or so. For a glimpse on what they cover, go to and choose "Instititue".

How long it takes to complete each module will depend entirely on the individual student.

There are no prerequisites to enrol other than having access to a horse on which to practise and demonstrate the practical aspects. Obviously you will have to have access to the Internet.

To enrol, we need your postal address to send the material to you, and we will provide you with our banking detail for payment.

Mastership Programmes

When we started off, the aim of the Institute of Horsemanship was simply to help people and their horses by presenting distance-learning programmes that could really help our students become the best horsemen they can be and in the process, help their horses to become the best horses they can be. We also knew at the time that several of our students would want to use this knowledge in order to build up their own profiles as either instructors or trainers.

This lead to our decision to 'package' our programmes and allow students to progress in their knowledge and achieve certain levels and use it to their advantage in the equine industry. Although most of these programmes are 'stand-alone' programmes, we decided to offer the following options to our dedicated students:

1. Ground Master Certification: This will allow students who do not necessarily wish to ride, but still want to work with horses, the opportunity to gain knowledge and use this knowledge to their financial benefit in the industry. To qualify as a Ground Master, students will need to successfully complete the following programmes: Leading, Groundwork, Bitting-up exercises, Lungeing and Long Reining, In-hand work.

Upon completion of the above programmes, a student may request a Ground Master Evaluation Programme and this will follow the same format as the current exams. Upon completion, the student will be certified as a Ground Master. Such students will be able to assist riders and horses from the ground, but as this is where all horse-related trouble starts, they will be able to play an invaluable role in providing their services to riders and horses.

2. Saddle Master Certification: This certification will only be an option to certified Ground Masters. It will require the successful completion of programmes such as: Starting the young horse, Saddles and bits, Developing the rider's seat, Basic Horsemanship, Basic Dressage, Basic Western Horsemanship, Advanced Groundwork, Advanced lungeing and Long Reining, Lateral work, lead changes and circles, Collection...and so on

Upon receiving such certification, the student will be able to take a green or wild horse and prepare it under saddle.

3. Horse Master Certification: This certification will only be available to students who have successfully completed the Saddle Master Certification and will include programmes such as: - Advanced in-hand work - Advanced horsemanship - Basic equine dentistry - Training of riders and nervous riders - Hoof care and trimming - High-school riding - Advanced western riding - Working with troubled horses, and so on...

Obviously, we are nowhere near the completion of our programmes (we are still only busy with the third programme as we had no idea how much interest there would be).

We put our thoughts to the dean of a US university that presents BSc degrees in Equine Studies. Our reason for doing this was to see if we could in some way arrange for our students to get credits on the US degree course, especially as our currency performs so dismally against the US Dollar. Below is an extract of what he had to say:

"Your idea is a great one...I am convinced that every year the more you can do with sight and sound the better your educational program is going to be.. we are working on audio and video within our courses...but it may be several years... in the meantime we are doing some very short video on the web...
I would encourage you to get full speed ahead with your plans...
This could be a possibility...why don't we sell your IHS programs?... we could take the order and ship it to could then take over the customer by e-mail and snail mail them the notes and could handle everything from there.

Your "Ground Master" idea is something we haven't even addressed. ...when you get your Saddle Master program going, we might be able to substitute your courses for some of ours and issue a Professional Horse Trainer Certification from the Equine Studies Institute... Not sure anyone would want it when they could get your program, but it could be an attractive cooperative....some stranger things have happened...

When you get the Saddle Master program going and the Horse Master program going, we might be able to transfer some of those courses into the [university] program for full credit...saddle master courses might replace Dressage...Training...Bits, Saddle Fitting and Hoof Balance...for example... it would all depend on how close the curriculum was between the two programs. With [university], we could allow your students to substitute your courses for up to six of the [degree] courses...[university] requires a minimum of 10 courses, including the Equine Symposium, which is a comprehensive exam course.
You've got good ideas, and your DVD's are pretty darn good...a bit too long for American taste...we are "slam bam thank you ma'am"....if it isn't "instant" it's too slow for us and we need a "magic bullet" for every "key" element that makes your programs unique...something no one else has..."

We are considering the request to market the programmes in the US as this will make our programmes 'international'. Of course, a lot of water still needs to pass under the bridge but we are working as fast as we can to ensure that our programmes are quickly available, without compromising content.

We are also looking at how best to advertise our students on the internet. Many riders experience problems and our students would be an asset to such riders and their horses.

We once again wish to reiterate that the majority of our programmes are stand-alone programmes. The 'Master Certification Programmes' will only be available to those students who wish to follow them and are in no ways obligatory.

We hope you enrol!!

Best regards
Izak Hofmeyr

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