Instructors

The instructors at Montana Center for Horsemanship are uniquely qualified to teach Natural Horsemanship, with decades of experience shared among them. They work with students and horses on an individual basis to determine the most effective and enjoyable learning opportunities for both. 

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.

Layne Carlson, D.V.M.

Dr. Layne Carlson has been teaching Equine Science classes at UMW since 2009. Prior to then he owned and operated a very busy three veterinarian mixed animal practice in Southwestern Montana for many years. He brings real life experience to the classroom and provides "hands on" opportunities for the students. His students perform necropsies, palpate and artificially inseminate a mare, learn about equine dentistry, perform lameness exams and practice equine bandage application along with many other procedures applicable in the equine world.

Megan Kelly, D.V.M


Megan is a 2010 graduate of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.  In 2010, she joined a primarily equine veterinary practice in Corvallis, MT and worked as an Associate Veterinarian in the practice for 5 years.  Megan moved to the Dillon area in the fall of 2015 to take a position at the University of Montana Western as an Assistant Professor of Equine Studies.  She is honored for the opportunity to be part of Montana Western's equine education program and bring practical experience to the students. 

Robert Chesterfield


Robert Chesterfield has been an Instructor at La Cense Montana and has taught the natural horsemanship classes at Montana Western since 2016. As a graduate of the program Robert is able to understand the student’s perspective, giving him the ability to explain things in a way students can truly comprehend. Before teaching at Montana Western Robert worked on ranches and started colts in Montana, he has also gone down the show road with a cutting horse trainer all over the Southwest. The experience he gained has shown him the importance of putting the horse first and learning to change yourself to help your horse. Robert’s goal in the classes is to help build a working relationship between students and their horses, giving them a chance to succeed in whatever direction they chose to go in the equine industry.

Ava Duncan


Ava 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. Before coming to Montana Western, Ava grew up riding under both Professional Dressage Riders and Show Jumpers. Since then, she has worked on ranches in Beaverhead County, started colts for a Polo Ranch in Wyoming, and worked for a cutting horse trainer in Texas. 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 Hoffmann, M.S.


Eric Hoffmann is the head instructor at La Cense Montana. He has taught the natural horsemanship classes at Montana Western since 2008. In the classes Hoffmann teaches you can learn the importance of getting your horses to work more willingly in order to accomplish a task or job. 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. Hoffmann holds an A.A.S. in Equine Management and Training from Laramie County Community College. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Education from the University of Wyoming and also received a Master’s degree in Agriculture Education from Montana State University.