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Levels Courses

for competent horsemanship

From beginner all the way up to professional standard, follow the curriculum of equine communication and  education to Mastery level.  

The programme includes:

- Liberty

- Ground skills

- Equine Ethology & Psychology

- Positive Leadership

- Desensitisation (overcoming fear)

- Practical skills (trailer loading etc)

- Natural Husbandry and care

- Riding Naturally (optional)


  • Foundation Programme of 6 Courses

  • Or learn by Theme

  • For your own group

  • At your own venue with your own horse / mule / donkey

  • Or  with the Horse & Heart herd

  • Suitable 16+

The Levels curriculum is aimed at anyone who wishes to study the art of horsemanship, whether as a hobby or as a professional.

Horsemanship means learning true horse language –  how to become the horse's teacher, and, in their eyes, their "lead horse".

The foundation skill set of this programme is essential for anyone who handles or keeps horses, and is a beautiful journey of connection and partnership for a fulfilled equestrian experience!

The journey can then be taken further to professional level of horse training and instructorship.

The programme starts with the science of equine ethology – understanding horses in their natural setting – and equine psychology, then gradually moves on to integration in the herd and relationship building, including Liberty and rope work and riding / draft work for those who wish, to finally lead on to horse training for any discipline.

Personal growth is also part of the programme, as emotional intelligence and resilience are essential to achieve the attitude of positive leadership required for interacting with horses.

Each module is an in-depth study taught to the highest scientific standards, and hands-on skills are developed to refinement level. This programme is a path of mastery and excellence exploring knowledge, skills, and self understanding to a deep level. More than a technique, it is a way of life.

All modules are available for adults & children, with age-adapted teaching style.

This programme is suitable for all breeds of horses, mules and donkeys. 

The first modules take place in the Horse & Heart herd, and thereafter you can follow the curriculum either with the Horse & Heart herd or with your own horse.

As this approach is based on true equine communication and genuine mutual respect, as well as a thorough understanding of learning patterns, has been shown to be much safer than conventional practices.

No previous experience is required to begin the journey.


If you simply wish to explore and discover horses at your own pace or overcome a fear of horses, this is the perfect place to do so.

If you wish to take on the journey as an in-depth pursuit, please be aware that the horse world is an outdoors and physical lifestyle, with exposure to the weather, to all our human moods, emotions, and levels of tiredness both physically and mentally – horses require us to meet our limits in order to achieve the gentleness and softeness we seek. 


If you do have an equestrian background your ease around horses will be useful. Do be prepared however to let go of a lot of habits and beliefs and to learn again, and from the start, a completely new approach and technique.

Please remember that if you are starting on the Holistic Horsemanship journey, you are the student and your horse is your teacher – although you will learn new skills together. It is advised to follow the programme with an experienced horse who is comfortable around people and to get to Level 7+ before taking on a young or troublesome horse.

However, if you've already got a young or difficult horse then do come anyway! – you will have the opportunity to practise with school horses before handling your own horse.

The benefits of this approach have been shown consistently in all equestrian disciplines... creating happier, safer, and higher skilled horses and humans, connected as a true team in everything they do.


The programme is suitable for all breeds of horses, mules and donkeys.

If you wish to learn a holistic approach to draft work with horses, please see our Working Horses page.

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Your Group


You will need to gather together a group of people who can meet at regular intervals for the courses.

The course fee is for the whole group – payment shares are organised between group members.

Your group can be composed of participants (with horses) and specators (without horses, they take part in all the theory classes, simulations and games and personal growth activities and can watch and ask questions during hands-on sessions).

Groups are kept small to ensure the best level of personal attention, quality of teaching, and group dynamics.

Maximum numbers: 

Participants :  8

Spectators: 16


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Foundation Programme 

a 2 to 3-year learning programme in set course packages


Course 1    - 3 Days  (Horse & Heart herd or trusted herd)

Herd & Liberty Approach, meet horses in their natural environment. Equine Ethology and Psychology, care of horses in a natural setup. 

Course 2   - 5 Days  (with your own horse or school horse)
Basic Handling at Liberty, Communication through Feel, Groundwork in head collar, Principles of Equine communication & Learning.

Course 3   - 5 Days 
(with your own horse or school horse)

Communication through Energy, Advanced Groundwork, Communication at Liberty, Desensitisation (overcoming fear and introducing new items & situations), Advanced Handling & Husbandry.

Course 4   - 5 Days  (with your own horse or school horse)

Advanced Communication & Desensitisation, Preparation to Riding, work in long lines, teaching patterns, teaching Responsibility, Trailer Loading, Principles of Advanced Training. 

Course 5   - 5 Days  (with your own horse or school horse)

Riding Naturally, focused skillset for specific disciplines,  Planning your Training programme.

Course 6   - 3 to 5 Days  (with your own horse or school horse)

Recap, Refinement to specific tasks, Troubleshooting,  Creating your own goals.

Students receive their certificates. 


This programme is a comprehensive way of going through the curriculum up to Level 6 / 7 (see Levels below), covering all the Levels Modules in a balanced way.

Courses typically take place at 3 to 6 months intervals, for a completed programme over 2 to 3 years. This rhythm allows for students to practise the learning outcomes with their horses at home between courses, so that they are ready for the next level introduced on the next course.

The  first course takes place in the Horse & Heart herd, thereafter students work with their own horses. It is possible however to follow the entire programme with a school horse too, if you are ok to go at your own pace with exercises as and when you see your horse.

This foundation programme is a solid and thorough training for horse keepers and riders of all disciplines aup to advanced hobby level.

Further courses can be organised for those who wish to continue to higher levels.

For the curriculum for draft work see our Working Horses page.


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The Curriculum – by Theme 


Level 1:  

Includes theory module: Equine Psychology part 1 ;  introduces Horsemanship Ethics
A Natural Approach: Introduction - Ethology & Liberty   - 3 Days  (Horse & Heart herd or trusted herd)

Level 2:

Includes theory module: Equine Psychology part 2
a) Advanced Herd Connection (Liberty)  - 3 Days  (Horse & Heart herd or trusted herd)
b) Natural Equine Husbandry & Nutrition 
- 2 Days  (Horse & Heart herd or natural setup)

Level 3  - Training principles:

Including theory module: Psychology of Learning part 1
a) Overcoming Fear - Desensitisation  - 3 Days
b) Horse Language in practice: Energy & Rhythm - Responding to Intention  - 3 Days

c) Horse Language in practice: Energy & Touch - Responding to Feel  - 3 Days

Level 4:
Natural Handling for Vet & Hoof Care / Equine professional practitioners & Horse owners* - 3 to 6 Days

* this module can also be offered as a stand alone

Level 5  - Rope work & Liberty - Preparation to Riding:

Including theory modules: Psychology of Learning part 2 ; Equine Temperaments part 1 ; Creating a Training Plan
a) Advanced Energy & Touch  / Energy & Rhythm - Responding to Feel & Intention / Trailer Loading  - 3 to 5 Days
c) Advanced Desensitisation  - 3 to 5 Days

Level 6:

Includes theory module: Equine Temperaments part 2
a) Liberty with Purpose  - 3 to 5 Days
b) Foundation to Riding (specific)  - 5 Days

c) Preparation for hacking & unknown environments (Groundwork) - 5 Days

Level 7:

a) Riding Naturally (Freestyle) - 5 Days  


b) Wild Pony Training  (subject to venue) - 5 Days

c) Foal Training  (subject to venue) - 5 Days

Level 8  - Finesse – Balance, Lightness, Calm & Harmony:
a) Liberty in Finesse  - 5 Days
b) Riding in Finesse – all disciplines  - 5 Days

c) Riding Bridleless  - 5 Days
d) Training in Finesse  - 5 Days

Your Path – tailored coaching to Mastery  - Custom

Depending on your chosen area of specialisation this can be tailored in partnership with other instructors.

Professional Training*

* See below


You can also learn the curriculum in courses focused on themes.

Some mixing of learning outcomes will need to take place according to yours or your horse's needs.

LEVELS 1 & 2 take place in the Horse & Heart herd (no guest horses) or in a herd that the instructor knows well and where the setup is suitable.

From LEVEL 3 onwards, courses can either continue in the Horse & Heart herd, or take place at your own venue, with your own horses.

From that point on it is also possible to bring your own horses to the Horse & Heart centre for the courses if some of the participants in your group wish to carry on working with the Horse & Heart herd.

The durations mentioned are a guideline to the time needed to complete each theme. From L2 onwards, themes are usually mixed during a single course to be introduced as is naturally needed.

However, generally speaking a group must complete a level in full before moving on to the next level, except for L7 b & c which are optional, and the L4 Natural Horse Handling course which can be offered as a stand alone. 

Where there is a choice of duration, choose the full course for an in-depth experience orthe shorter length for a taster.

It usually takes 2 to 4 years to get to Refinement level if consistent and regualr time is dedicated to practise.

For the curriculum for draft work see our Working Horses page.

We recommend the Foundation Programme for a comprehensive

set of 6 courses incorporating all Modules up to Level 6 /7,

delivered at 3 to 6 months intervals over a period of 2 to 3 years.

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Professional Training


Once you have completed your Refinement level to Mastery, you can become a trainee Holistic Horsemanship practitioner.

Step 1 : Equine Education

a) Liberty & Ground skills

b) Riding  

Step 2: Instructorship

a) Adults  

b) Children

Includes teaching vulnerable people.

In order to apply for Professional Training, all previous modules must be achieved to Mastery level. 

Each step of the Professional Training programme comprises formal classes and personal study, including:

- Hands-on & supervised coaching sessions

- Theory & research 

- Personal growth

- Working with unknown horses of different backgrounds and temperaments.

Some modules are set, others are free where the student chooses their own area of development.

The 2 steps – Equine Education and Instructorship – can be taken either together or separately.

The professional training can be offered as Group modules if there are enough students to make a class, or as a One-to-One journey. If intensive time is dedicated to your study it could take you from 1 to 2 years to complete, or you can take it at your own pace.

Once qualified, you will be a "Horse & Heart approved Holistic Horsemanship Professional" and can continue to develop your own approach as you wish as long as it meets the same ethics.



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Certificates of Attendance are delivered for full attendance to a workshop or course.


Certificates of Completion (optional – L3 onwards) can be applied for by demonstrating each task of a level with one's own horse.* 

Certificate of Mastery (optional): Students demonstrate the tasks for each level with 3 horses representing all learning temperaments + show one creative goal of their choosing.*

* For Completion and Mastery levels, tasks must be performed with a horse who has been trained by the student, not with a school horse. Completion of a level includes having followed the complete theory lessons as well as showing the practical tasks.

These certificates are optional – only for students who request them – and students can take as long as they and their horse need to complete them at their own pace. Students who wish to carry on to professional level must complete Mastery standard for all levels.

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What to expect

Unless specifically specified modules can take place either with the Horse & Heart herd or at your own location, with your own horses.

When working with your own horse you will need to have your own tack.

School horses from the Horse & Heart herd come with their tack.

However, all students must provide their own equipment for themselves (appropriate clothing and footwear, riding hat where necessary).

Groups are from 3 to 8 people. If working with the Horse & Heart herd you might have to share a horse with another student.

Select your course theme, location and length (when applicable) upon booking.

You can either book a place on a scheduled course or book a tailored course for your own existing group.

When you create your own group, the sessions are totally tailored to your group's rhythm and needs (horses's and humans') and the curriculum may be jiggled around to accommodate what is best for you.


When attending a course module the lessons are structured in levels covered in depth including practical skills, theory classes, personal growth practices, group supported learning and co-coaching.    


In each session students are given new tools of horsemanship and we make sure that these are understood correctly and applied safely.

The students then take them home to work on as homework and we keep working on them together until they are fully assimilated and students are ready to move on to the next level.

Students may take the time they and their horses need to explore the learning outcomes and there is no pressure to keep up as everyone can wok on their own tasks within a level. Themes can be revisited over several courses before moving on to the next module.

All of the curriculum's levels & themes apply to children as well although the learning outcomes covered may be more flexible depending on the children's learning rhythms and needs.

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We recommend

- If you are new to horses or to this approach, follow up to Levels 3 /4 in the Horse & Heart herd before working with your own horse;

- If you are already experienced in Natural Horsemanship or have owned horses for a long time, to complete L1 & 2 in the Horse & Heart herd (recommended as courses rather than short sessions) and pick up from there with your own horse.


Please be aware that educating a young horse, a wild horse, a stallion, or a troubled horse with behaviour issues requires skills of an advanced level (L8+). If you are learning this approach please choose an easy and experienced horse as your partner. The horse is the teacher, they need to have the stability and maturity to take on that role for you.

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« Finally, an approach that is respectful of the horse and feels totally right. » Hervé

« Oh I so wish I'd known all this before. » Lisa

« I have been a professional riding instructor for 22 years. Twenty-two years! This is my first day here, and I learnt something new every minute. I had never felt such a level of connection and understanding with a horse before. This course should be compulsory for anyone who wants to work with horses. » Julie

« I had no idea that such a level of lightness and mutual understanding was possible. » Sarah

« Such a wealth of knowledge, such high standard of skill and finesse. » Jeremy

« This course has completely blown my mind. I was looking for a more natural approach of horses, but I never expected this strength of connection, or this level of understanding with my horse. Every moment is extraordinary. » Manu

« It makes me wonder... what have I been doing all those years?! I had never really known my horse. » Phil

« The lessons are so much fun! This surely is the only way to learn. » Emma


« I have learnt how to talk with my horse as if it was completely natural, and I have met myself on a level I didn't even know existed. » Kate

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