The Montana Center for Horsemanship and Equus International Film Festival, in partnership with Montana Western (University), just wrapped the first natural horsemanship conference with the world’s leading animal behavior scientist, Dr. Temple Grandin. At “Horse, Human and Nature” Temple’s overriding message – “Let the horse be a horse.” Grandin counseled students, horse enthusiasts, equestrians, social workers, trainers, teachers, filmmakers, and researchers, to “get the horse out, expose him to things, and let him graze. This is key” Temple said, “to the happiest and safest horses.” This is exactly what the horses receive at the Montana Center, headquarters for the international conference.
Temple also emphasized perseverance through horses, a recurring theme of this year’s conference. “I think what’s really important is inspiring students to persevere,” says Grandin, a professor of animal sciences and renowned animal behaviorist and autism activist.
Grandin, who came early in the week to observe and counsel the natural horsemanship students in the nation’s first and only Bachelor of Science in Natural Horsemanship, noted the absolute calm of the horses and the students. “The thing I’m seeing is, these horses are calm, they’re not switching their tails, they’re not chomping on their bits, they’re not stomping their feet — they’re calm, and that tells me you’re doing something right. It was amazing to me,” Temple said, “how calm these horses were, even when they were exposed to new things – we did the chair experiment, moving a chair around at different angles. A few of the horses stopped and looked at it but they stayed calm, no fidgeting, no shifting of the weight. What’s so important was that you did this experiment at a walk, so the students were safe, and the horses were not stressed.”
Dr. Grandin, who is well known for her insights on livestock handling, also received the EQUINE ICON Award, presented by MCH co-founder William Kriegel, dedicated to education, and founder of Haras de la Cense, Europe’s leading equine education center for Natural Horsemanship. Kriegel also developed, with a team of equine professionals, researchers and scientists, the La Cense Method, a step-by-step process for educating a horse, enabling the horse to become a willing partner, capable of going in any direction, in any discipline. The La Cense Method is based on the horse’s natural instincts, personality and temperament. The Center also just released the first “Principles for the Education of Horses.” It is now available in English and French.
“Dr. Grandin personifies a commitment to the wellbeing of all living beings – horses, cows and people, with or without autism” according to MCH director, Janet Rose, founder of EIFF. “Temple’s research is based on how she sees the world as someone with autism. Her scientific research and knowledge of animal behavior are an inspiration and her work has improved the lives of so many.
The Montana Center for Horsemanship, the only center of its kind, includes a training barn, arena, classrooms, veterinary research laboratory and home to multiple academic degrees focused on natural horsemanship offered in partnership with Montana Western. Students work with horses daily, and the program prepares students for careers in the equine, ag, veterinary, business and related fields. This year’s international conference, which brought equestrians and equine professionals from as far away as Israel, and across the United States, also featured award-winning films from Equus International, one of the world’s first equine film festivals. The conference and film festival will be an annual event at the Montana Center in Dillon, Montana, also known as horse capital of the west, where western culture, tradition and horsemanship are thriving.
The mission of the Montana Center for Horsemanship
To help every horse and person make the most of their respective lives
To enable horses to learn effectively and experience “horse happiness” through the process of Natural Horsemanship
To help individuals achieve personal and professional success in the equine fields
The Montana Center for Horsemanship is a not for profit 501(c)(3)
University of Montana Western
For more information, please contact MCH at 406.925.3270
Contact: Janet Rose
Photos Available Upon Request