One of the things people love about our program is that we celebrate all aspects of the horse, not just riding. Our students learn how to care for horses physically, mentally, and emotionally. They learn how to listen to horses, how to understand horses, and how to interact with horses in a way that promotes mutual safety and fun.
Our horses live in herds, not stalls. (Here’s a peek into a day in the life of horses at EPI.) One of the first things you’ll do as a student is learn how to attract the horse to you. It’s an amazing feeling when a horse will leave his buddies and his breakfast and choose to come to you!
If the horses are racing around in their pens, heads high and tails streaming, your instructor is likely to incorporate observation and discussion into the lesson. Are the horses playful or are they afraid? Which ones love to move their feet and which ones would prefer to hang out in the sun? Which horses are the leaders, and which ones are the followers?
As you advance in the program, you may qualify for a lesson-lease, which allows you to have one-on-one time with your lease horse between lessons. We sometimes do field trips to trails, local gymkhanas, or other facilities with obstacle courses and paths. We host our own events, ranging from an occasional open house performance to the rally and agility competitions.
You may also have the opportunity to participate more fully in horse care and ranch operations. If the vet is here, you might get to observe and ask questions of your instructor about exams and treatments. Same for the farrier, the body workers, the dentist, the saddle fitter, and other equine professionals who provide care at the ranch.
Horse lovers know that it’s a privilege to be trusted to wash and bandage a horse’s wound, or to take a retired pony on a hand-walk around the ranch, or even to clean a pen while the herd is present. (And yes, we know your friends and family will think this is odd. Be kind to them.)
Our program includes time on the ground and time on the horse. We help you develop foundation of good horsemanship in everything you do.