Therapy Horse Training

Bonnie walking in a parade with one of the miniature horses that came in for therapy training

  

 

  A and B Ranch not only provides therapy visits we also desire to help others start their own miniature horse therapy programs. Below we have several program options that will assist you in getting started. 

 

These programs are designed to provide the skills and insights needed to develop a relationship with your horse that is balanced, satisfying and fulfilling. You will receive instructions that will give you the knowledge to experience safe outings at various venues within your community. Participants can choose which option for training best fits them.

 

 

 

12 Week Miniature Horse Therapy Training

Horses in training will stay at A and B Ranch for the full 12 weeks and will be trained by Bonnie 5 days out of each week.

 Owners are encouraged to visit and are required to have a one hour a week lesson with Bonnie and their horse in order to be trained to recognize the horse’s natural instincts and to achieve a balance of correction and connection.

Note: We are aware that you may have to travel a great distance in order to visit your horse. In this case, we ask that you make arrangements to come for two 4-hour sessions during the time your horse is in training with us, as well as one 3-hour session the day that you come to pick up your horse.

Bonnie instructing an owner and her horse

Horses will be trained to respond to basic ground work:

  • Leading
  • Stopping
  • Standing for extended periods of time
  • Backing
  • “Whoa”
  • Lunging
  • The basics of round penning
  • How to be clipped
  • How to be respectful of the handler’s space
  • Basic sacking out
  • Trailer loading

 When these foundational pieces are complete, we start to work on more complex tasks so that the handler will be able to maintain control over the horse no matter what situation he might find himself in.

Horses will begin to learn how to relax in new situations and will be exposed to different challenges such as:

 

Bonnie and a horse in training walking through a playground

  • Walking downtown
  • Approaching curbs
  • Handling stair steps
  • Walking over tarps
  • Walking next to walkers and wheelchairs
  • Riding in elevators
  • Navigating tight spaces

 As opportunities arise, your horse will be exposed to handling the pressure of crowds by participating in parades, fairs, outside ice cream socials, and parks. Once the horse shows that he can handle these situations with ease, we take him to a facility for his first therapy visit.

Some of our therapy horses in training going for a walk around town with their owners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to therapy training, you also will receive instructions on proper feeding and health practices for your miniature horse, as well as instruction in bathing, grooming, clipping, and potty training. Additionally, we have resources available to help you find proper equipment for handling, therapy shoes, vests, insurance, and all the things you need to start doing your own therapy visits.

Bonnie and a therapy horse graduate with her owner

 

 

At the end of the 12 week program you will receive a Certificate of Achievement. This certificate will detail all the tasks you and your horse have successfully demonstrated safely.

 

Our 12 week therapy training program fills up fast so contact us quickly for Spring availability! 

 

Private Lessons With Your Own Horse

We also offer private lessons to assist you in your therapy horse journey. The progress in these lessons will depend upon the level of training the horse has and the time the handler is willing to commit to training his horse during the week. Completing homework assignments and preforming tasks are essential in reaching a level of competency in order to safely go out into the community.

A miniature horse and his owner taking a lesson with Bonnie

Bonnie will work with you and your horse during each lesson and polish previous tasks as well as move forward to learn new tasks. If you do not pass previously assigned tasks, then Bonnie will go over the task to give you more clarification before you go home to practice.

While it is very tempting to skip over steps, we do not believe that pushing ahead will benefit the horse or handler and we do not move forward until the horse is ready.

Contact us for pricing on our private lessons! 

 

Video Coaching

AB Ranch - Miniature Horse For Sale - Minnesota

One of our volunteers working with a foal in training

 

Bonnie also offers video coaching.  Send her a 3-5-minute video of you training your horse and she will evaluate it and give you tips on how to improve.

This is an excellent option for those who are taking private lessons as they can have an evaluation between lessons. Additionally, it is very helpful for people who live far away as it allows them to get advice from a distance.

 This video lesson will help if the handler is having difficulty in making a connection with his horse or having issues with specific tasks.

There is a $10.00 fee for each video coaching evaluation.

 

 

Workshops

We also host one- and two-day workshops at our farm starting at 9 am and going until 3 pm.

These workshops focus on understanding the horse’s natural behavior and improving the relationship between the horse and handler. Each workshop provides information on the elements of therapy horses and therapy equipment as well as basic ground manner requirements and problem solving.

While instructions may vary based on the handler’s level of understanding and the horse’s level of training, we still encourage everyone to participate in the workshops. Various topics will be addressed, and instructions will be tailored to the needs of the horse and handler.

Some participants in one of our workshops

A schedule of the day will be provided to ensure participants are aware of the topics that will be covered. Regardless of the horse and handler’s experience, improvement can always be made. In addition to increasing the enjoyment of your horse, these workshops are designed to increase the skill and ability to communicate with and control your horse. Before going out into the community, it is essential that horse and handler are able to demonstrate a high level of competency in an array of skills and in a variety of environments. We desire to help you attain these skills.

There will be a generous amount of time to answer questions and concerns throughout the day.

Contact us if you are interested in participating in one of our workshops.