Montana Center for Horsemanship Expansion Plan

Montana Center for Horsemanship Expansion is Underway


The Montana Center for Horsemanship,  the only education center in the nation devoted exclusively to natural horsemanship education, is about to take a leap forward.  The nonprofit organization has received a pledge of $250,000 to begin expansion --- development of state-of-the-art classrooms, a conference center, a veterinary/research laboratory area, kitchen and restrooms.  The pledge however will require matching funds.   

The president of the Montana Center, William Kriegel, says “this project is ground-breaking, and provides a significant opportunity for the Center to contribute to education in Montana and beyond as well as  advance natural horsemanship education while contributing to the local economies of Dillon, Beaverhead County, and Montana.  Investing in the local community is a central part of our vision.”   

The Center, home to the nation’s first and only 4-year accredited Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Horsemanship in partnership with the University of Montana Western, has seen growing demand for the program beyond current capacity. This expansion, says Director of Horsemanship, Eric Hoffman, will further the Center’s mission.  “Greater capacity means opportunities for more students, from Montana, as well as nationwide and from other countries.  Natural Horsemanship is the foundation of this program, but students pursue other academic studies, and many have dual majors in business management, psychology and other disciplines with natural horsemanship training. Many graduates are going on to successful careers in the equine industry and related fields, and many are pursuing advanced degrees in veterinary medicine, equine research and science. If we can achieve matching funds, the impact of this program will be significant.”

Education is central to the vision of the Montana Center and part of that vision is for MCH to become a national center presenting educational conferences, symposiums, workshops and other significant equine events that advance equine and human well-being.  The Center hopes to host events of all kinds with video conferencing capabilities and advanced technology to connect experts with students and participants worldwide.  “Being able to connect the Center globally,” says Janet Rose, director of development & communications-the William Kriegel Foundation, “with experts --- scientists, trainers, students and public audiences, is key.” 

The first international conference, Of Horse, Human and Nature, featuring Dr. Temple Grandin with other renowned individuals from the equine world, including equine therapies, agriculture, outdoor recreation, wildlife management using natural horsemanship, and how horses help people regardless of physical and emotional hurdles, is scheduled for September 10-12 at the Montana Center.  With special guests including Paralympian Sydney Collier, the founders of Gallop NYC, natural horsemanship for veterans and young women who have been victims of human trafficking --- speakers, panels, workshops, award winning horse films from around the world and horse and rider demonstrations, the Center is poised to welcome attendees from across the nation and around the world. 

Rose, who is coordinating the conference, says the match to this pledge of $250,000 is critical to the Center’s future. “There is no other program like this in the U.S., where education and natural horsemanship are the foundation of a one-of-a-kind degree, where natural horsemanship is the basis for learning regardless of riding discipline or equine interest. To have a program like this, in a place where western tradition is thriving, and students from all over, can achieve a top-notch education and become fully prepared for meaningful careers in a range of equine fields – that is both unique and important to the future of our young adults.”  Rose adds that the Center hopes for a full match to the pledge but welcomes partial matches as well, gifts which can be earmarked for scholarships, additional horse housing and honorary and name sponsorship of specific areas.  A large donor will have the opportunity to name a classroom or other part of the Center.

Board President William Kriegel adds, “A match to this donation will change the future --- for students, researchers, scientists, people who study, enjoy, work with horses and those who want to learn about horses. It will also change the future for horses.  Our goal is to advance the well-being of horse and human; it’s a unique relationship, we have a lot to learn from the horse and the horse has a lot to give.  We are in a new era of understanding how unique and important the horse-human relationship is, in a universal way.  The Montana Center for Horsemanship can help us achieve that vision.”