Vocational Training

Trainer Levels

Each inmate has the opportunity to complete and become certified in 6 different levels. These are valuable skills that will be taught as each inmate completes a new level. The amount of time it takes to complete a level depends on the individual. The inmates are taught that it is not about how fast they complete each level but the quality of horsemanship that they display. Each inmate is tested before they are able to advance to the next level.


Behavior and Body Language

Pecking Order

Fight or Flight and Pressure/Release

Safety: riding helmet, personal space, body positioning

Equipment: rope halter, lead rope, saddle pad, bridle

Grooming and Brushes: curry metal/rubber – soft, medium, stiff, hoof pick, mane/tail comb

Tying: quick release knot with locking tail – high and short

Feet: handling, cleaning and introduction to hoof care

Horse Anatomy 

Saddle and Bridle Parts Recognition

Tacking up Saddle: pad placement, bridling, cinches, bits

Mounting: stirrup length, no horn, smooth pressure, feet, seat, hands

 Dismounting: rein control


Body Language: pressure, release, approach ,retreat

Lead with Purpose: disengage hip from ground, facing front, standing at head

Ground Work  lunging, change directions, controlling speed, obstacle course

 Mount Back: using feet, seat, hands, disengage hips, flex lateral and vertical

Forward Movement: walk, trot, lope, stop, emergency stop In 40 ft. round pen

Transitions: walk, trot, lope, stop, back, disengage


Free Lunging Techniques: change directions, approach, retreat, free leading join up

Figure 8: walk, trot, lope using feet, seat, hands

Disengage to a Turnaround: turn on forehand left and right

Intro to 2 Track: side pass and spin

Backing Circles Left and Right: using feet, seat, hands

Obstacle Course: cavaletti, bridge, back through, serpentine


Round Pen: free lunging, approach, retreat

First Touch, Eye Contact, Follow, Safety Zones

 Halter/Drag Lead: pressure release, disengage hips, use body language

Desensitizing: using halter rope/pole for touching, safety

Grooming: feet handling using rope/pole

Saddle Prep: halter rope, lateral flex head tie

Tying for Patience and Safety

 Lead: with respect, over ground obstacle course


Ponying Techniques

 Desensitizing: using flag, tarp, saddle, blanket

Bridling with Snaffle: lateral and vertical give to bit

Softness through Timing and Feel

 Mustang Introduction to First Saddling

 Lateral and Vertical Head Set/Mount from Fence

 Ground Driving: stops, backing, change directions

First Ride: disengage left and right, circle, walk, stop, back

Second Ride: disengage, back, walk, trot, lope, stop, back

Emergency Stop: one rein – perform 5 – 10 consistent rides, no buck


Free Lunging: demonstrate change of directions, gate control, join up and catching

Lead through Obstacle Course

Ride through Obstacle Course

Trailer Loading: demonstrate safe feet handling

Introduction to Natural Hoof Trimming Techniques

Explain Hoof Care Guidelines

Leading and Mounted: demonstrate side pass, 2 track, turn on hind

Ride, Walk, Trot, Lope a Figure 8 Pattern with 40 ft. Circles, Drop to Trot Lead Changes

 Back Mustang: small circles 10 ft. diameter left and right using feet, seat and hands

Swing Lariat from Ground and Saddle, Throw Front and Back of Horse

 Drag Log Attached to Rope While Riding for 25 ft.

 Open and Close Gate While Mounted