How do I know if this program is for me?
Read over the website carefully. This program is based on a "whole horse" approach. It is important that you understand this philosophy and are willing to embrace it, or you will not succeed in this program. If you are looking for a one dimensional program that teaches only one aspect of horse care or management, this program is not for you. If you are looking for a "teach me to trim professionally in a few weeks" program this is not for you. You will need to be willing to learn about and understand the myriad of issues with the "whole horse" that affect his feet, and foot issues that affect the whole horse. If you are unsure, you may take one or more online classes before you enroll. They will give you a good idea of what the program will entail.
Whose trim do you teach?
We teach the trim that any given horse needs in his particular situation on that given day. We do not believe any formula, gimmick or personality has any place in trimming, or that any one person has all the answers. To ascribe a “correct” trim to a person is to ignore the authority – the horse. The horse is always working to optimize the health, form and function of his feet and we need to work with him and listen, not impose our ideas and preconceived notions. While there are some elements held in common, each horse is unique and must be approached with that held firmly in mind. Again this is true in any part of the world.
Why isn't this offered at one place at one time?
Just as any Associate Degree type program is essentially a two year program, this requires a serious amount of time and study to cover the materials, learn to apply them and then practice and master the skills in the field. This format allows students from anywhere to go through the program without having to live in one particular area. It also allows students to proceed at their own pace and comfort level, while continuing to work or fulfilling other commitments.
It is also not realistic for students who do not have prior experience to go through the courses and practicums in a limited time frame. There is no "one size fits all" in this discipline. Mastery of these skills is gained through repetition, exposure to different situations and issues in the field, and building a working knowledge base through experience. Exposure to different biomes and the issues they present is also a key factor in the training program.
When can I start the program/classes?
Once you apply and have been accepted, you can start the program/classes at any time. There are no "start dates" and you progress on your schedule.
Where is the school located?
There is no physical "school building." All courses are done online, and practical training is done with the instructors in their home towns. This is important in giving you exposure to different climates, biomes, feeds and regional practices etc.
How does this compare to other programs?
There are many differences in philosophies, curriculum, depth and comprehensive nature, structure, scheduling and standards etc. in the various programs in the field of Equine Sciences and Natural Horse and Hoof Care. It is your responsibility to research any that interest you and weigh all the factors. It is not our place to judge or evaluate others, and we can only speak with authority on the merits and details of our own program.
Why do I need to go through the online courses and learn about teeth, nutrition, chiropractic and all the other subjects if all I want to do is learn to trim?
You can certainly find programs or individuals that will teach you to trim and only to trim, or give you a very cursory summary of other related subjects. However, the majority of hoof issues have their origin somewhere other than the hoof. If you are trimming a horse that is lame due to dietary issues that cause laminitis, there is nothing you can do to his feet that will provide healing and long term soundness unless the diet is also addressed. If you are unaware of diet and its implications, you will continue to try and find the answer in the foot and will fail. Eventually, the owner will probably go to another hoof care professional because you are not helping their horse. You will need a thorough, comprehensive education in all key areas of horse care and management in order to best serve your customers, and ultimately the horse.
This is true of any discipline. For example, if you want to learn Equine Massage, and don’t have a good understanding of the whole horse, you will face the same problems. The best massage will not help a horse whose back issues are caused by improper movement due to painful laminitic feet. The back is not the issue, and will not get better until the feet are addressed. Once the feet are fixed, then the massage therapist can do his/her work to help the back muscles.
If you have the knowledge and experience of being able to recognize the potential sources of equine issues outside your discipline, and can suggest the proper resources to help address them, you become invaluable to your clients, and make your own job that much easier and more successful as you are not continually fighting symptoms in the feet that originate elsewhere. You also enjoy the satisfaction of really helping horses that may otherwise have to live with pain and discomfort.
Why do I need to go to different instructors?
Every individual, whether it be an instructor, advisor, student etc. has something different to offer. Going to different people and biomes will give you a broad range of insights, perspectives and experience to draw from. Learning everything from a single source can lead to a narrow, and sometimes skewed perspective.
Why do you require a class in Critical Thinking?
This may be the most important class we offer. Given the enormous number of variables in any scenario, the differing and sometimes opposing views on care and management, the fact that every horse is different and that all factors are inter-related, you will need to be able to evaluate and distill the information available in a clear, rational and critical way in order to properly address the situation.
Many of us are unaware of flaws in our thinking processes as they are habits we have developed throughout our lives. This course will teach you to re-evaluate and improve or maybe begin your critical thinking skills. These will assist you, not only in this program, but in every aspect of your life.
Why do you present and discuss differing and sometimes opposing views and practices?
The Academy believes that healthy and positive discourse about these differences is important, and that exposure to the various approaches and schools of thought is crucial. The more information you have, the better able you will be to sharpen and utilize your critical thinking skills to evaluate and distill what is a sound, logical approach to a given situation. Often learning what doesn't work and why leads to insight as to what will work. It also gives you a solid foundation for discussion when you are confronted with opposing views in the field.
What if I just want to take some classes?
You can take any online course without enrolling in the program. Go to the Audit
page and select and the courses you would like to take. You will not be tested or receive credit for an Audit. If you enroll at a later date, you may ACE (Academy Course Exemption) the class by taking the exam. A passing grade will earn you credit for the course. Do not submit an application if you are only taking online courses. Applications are only required for those who wish to complete the entire course and receive certification.
What if I have experience in some of the subject matter?
You may ACE
(Academy Course Exemption) any class by taking the exam. A passing grade will earn you credit for the course without taking the class. This if for enrolled students only. Auditors are not permitted to take exams.
Do I need experience with horses?
We recommend at least two years of some sort of experience with horses, be it taking lessons, owning a horse, working at a barn etc. It is not required, but the program will be much more difficult for you if you have no background at all. You may want to gain some exposure before enrolling in the program. Applicants with experience may have a better chance for acceptance if space is limited.
How long does it take to complete the program?
As outlined in the curriculum, you can go at your own pace. If you are experienced, you may challenge any online course by taking the exam. You must fulfill all prerequisites for any course, practicum or workshop, but are otherwise free to go as fast or slowly as you like. Remember if you are not experienced, part of the learning process is practicing what you have learned in the field. You will need to become proficient in all the required skills in order to progress. For some this will take more time than for others.
What happens if I fail a class?
You may retake any final exam. (There are no retakes on quizzes) There is a fee for a retake. You may or may not get the same exam.
What if I don't have access to a computer, or don't know how to use one?
This course requires computer and internet access and a basic working knowledge of their use - no exceptions. If you don't have a computer, most libraries have them or many retail outlets have them available for use. There are also many resources available to help you learn the basics - books, friends, classes etc.
What physical shape do I need to be in?
Trimming can be physically demanding, however much of the effort required depends on proper tools, horse handling skills, proper use of your body etc. Effective use of proper techniques and practices dramatically reduce the physical strength needed.