Horsemanship Training Program

Advanced Backcountry Horseman

The Horsemanship Training Program is designed for in depth instruction and exercises about back country guiding and outfitting. This program provides a level of expertise few guides get to experience. The COAGS basic program is a prerequisite for the Horsemanship Training Program, 120 instruction hour, detailed course focusing on horsemanship skills. Below are the topics of instruction covered in the course.

Guide Responsibilities

4 hours

    • Client
    • Natural Resources
    • Personal
    • Camp/Lodging
    • Equipment/Stock
    • Lands/Waters
  • Code of Ethics

    Responsibilities to:

    US Forest Service and BLM use regulations

    Private Land and Waters

    Hunting/Fishing Laws and Regulations


Horsemanship and Packing 

30 hours

    Advanced Riding Lessons and Trail Rides 

    Horse/Mule Psychology and Training

    Packing with Horses and Mules

    • Decker Pack Saddles
    • Sawbuck Saddles

    Leading a Pack String 

    Horse/Mule First Aid

    Nutrition and Care

    Basic Horse Shoeing and Hoof Maintenance

    Giving Shots, Medicines, and Worming

Working Through Obstacles 

12 hours

    Trees and Downed Obstacles 

    Crossing Water and Streams

    Crossing Boggy Areas

    Loading, Unloading, And Hauling

    Evaluating your Horse’s Condition (Heart Rate and Respiration)

    Pacing Yourself and Your Horse

    Leaving the Herd

    Taking Care of your Horse on an Overnight Trip

    Opening and Closing Gates and Gaps

Setting Up a Pack Trip 

30 hours

    Packing Equipment and Supplies 

    Campsite Selection and Layout

    Erecting Tents

    Camp Safety and Hygiene

    Keeping Horses in the Wilderness

    Pack Trip

Round Pen Reasoning 

12 hours

    Simple Cues and Communication 

    “The Box” Exercise

    Lateral Movement (Side Passing)

    Backing your Horse Properly

    Working with Lunge Line

    Identifying and Working with Problem Horses

    Preparing for Competitive Trail Ride (NATRC rules)

Professional Guide Equipment 

2 hours





Night Riding 

12 hours

    Early Morning Night Ride 

    Evaluating Morning Ride

    Day Light Practice on Obstacles

    Evening Night Ride

Competitive Trail Ride Contest 

12 hours

(20 Miles)

Back Country Horseman Course Overview and Discussion 

4 hours

Final Exam 

(special awards, graduation and class pictures)

2 hours

Click here for a recommended Packing List.

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