Horse out standing in it's field

Growth of the equine industry in the United States has created a demand for qualified personnel in all of its related fields. The associate degree program in equine studies is intended to provide basic, practical, and theoretical grounds from which students may directly enter their fields of interest.

                This two-year program has two new degree options in the riding and training degree that emphasize a practical approach.

     The equine riding degree option assists students in maximizing their riding position and use of aids to best influence their horse in an efficient and effective manner. Students will undergo a systematic way of mastering daily riding exercises, self-evaluation techniques and mental training strategies that will really integrate the material and value of being an educated rider. This degree option is ultimately for the individual looking to take their riding to the next level and would be an excellent starting point and/or concurrent degree option with the equine training degree option. Students must make arrangements to have a finished horse to use for "in and out" of class work. This option also prepares students to become riding instructors themselves someday. Students completing the program may find employment in lesson barns, training stables, summer camps, and breeding farms.

                The equine training degree option emphasizes mastery of student’s skills to work with the young horse and progress the training up through the intermediate and/or advanced levels of training. Optimizing training fundamentals, students will get a "hands-on" approach, with numerous hours spent in the arena, learning to read, coordinate and influence to get the most from their horse. This degree option is for the rider with skills and physical fitness to handle the young horse, which could include: needing fast reflexes, heavy lifting and stamina for heavy exercise. Students will need to bring a young horse with 30-60 days of training. Upon completion of this program, students may find employment in training at different levels.

Silhouette of two riders through a door“Northwest College is an outstanding program for students to start their equine careers and get prepared to join a professional team.  My experience has been that the students come into my program with soft hands, balanced seats and are extremely coachable. They have an innate sensitivity to what is going on underneath them with the horse. These kinds of traits go beyond basic horsemanship skills. It is obvious to me that the instructors continually enhance their level of knowledge and this broadens their scope and carries through to every level of horsemanship even down to the basic handling of the horse. When I saw the similarities in the horsemanship skills of both my apprentice Jessica Reilly and her instructor Pam Thiel, I realized it must have come through Pam, as the two of them are so similar in their riding styles. I was extremely impressed with the soft hands and good seat that Pam has and teaches along with the same quiet mannerisms around a horse. This allows them to move easily into my more advanced western training program for all levels of showing and riding.

”I have seen a strong work ethic in my apprentices and I feel that students who have grasped these skills from the Northwest College program have all the skills necessary to go to work for top trainers in my industry after graduation.“  

Dana Hokana- Temecula, CA
For more information on Dana Hokana,
please visit her website at


Marv Sherwood
Equine Center Coordinator