"Horsemanship To Live By"

Are you looking for a place to learn about horses in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota area? Here we are!

RE: the application -- Our program is a little different from most others around here, so we want to make sure it is what you are looking for. Ours is not JUST riding lessons. It is riding lessons, but it is also horse safety, care, behavior, and non-riding activities. If you don't want to ride, we have lots of non-riding activities and programs, too. We encourage and reward greater participation, dedication, and try. Come more often, learn faster, lower your hourly rates. We provide the horses, saddles, etc.

First, take a look at our horsemanship audition videos at www.youtube.com/gentlereins.
These are videos right here at our facility with our horses.

Here is more info about how to sign up:

How to sign up for the horsemanship program at New Hope Horse Shelter / DoubleHP
1. Watch our horsemanship / audition videos at www.youtube.com/gentlereins. These are some of our horsemanship students in the last few years, right here at our facility, with the horses who live here.

2. Look at your schedule to see if it will work with our schedule. At first, we want you to come 2-5 times a week.  Twice is fine, if that is what works for you. We schedule in advance on a monthly basis. Sessions are 1 - 2 hours each. They are scheduled M-F. Start time can be between 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. It is our goal that as you advance through our program you will need less supervision/coaching and your schedule can become more flexible. Our weekends here are reserved for advanced students. If you have recently received your certificates for Level 3 online and freestyle, you will probably very quickly receive a great deal of schedule flexibility here, low or no costs, and the opportunity to help coach our beginners, if you would like to. If you are just getting started or are a beginner yourself, that is something to look forward to!

3. Consider some of your individual factors:

                Previous Horse Experience - There is no previous horse experience required; however, if you have quite a bit of horse experience, you will probably speed through our first two levels. 

                Age - There really is no age limit. We have riding and non-riding programs, so you don't have to ride if you don't want to. If you are younger than 18, we need to involve a parent or legal guardian in all of this planning. For youth 12 and under, we require an adult to attend at least the first few sessions, or until we all feel comfortable with the youth being here without the adult who brings the youth. We have had children as young as 6 in our program, but it can be difficult at this young age.

                Weight & Height - This is important for riding and saddle-fit purposes, but not so much for non-riding activities. Our beginner-approved riding horses are medium-sized, so beginner riders cannot weigh much more than 170 pounds. For advanced riders, we do have a couple of bigger, younger horses that might fit you. These horses need further training before they are beginner-approved. So if you are advanced, perhaps you will be interested in these horses.

                Physical, emotional, and mental fitness - Are you fit enough for a 2-hour session with a horse? You don't need to have any previous horse experience to do this. But you need to be able to focus on what we are teaching you without having thoughts about other things that will distract you from learning and practicing. You will need to develop non-stop awareness and be willing to find and use an appropriate level of assertiveness. This is a self-improvement program for humans. Yes, you will learn horsemanship skills, and you will ride if you want to. But you will also explore (and hopefully enjoy) new ways to communicate, move, excel, and have fun with a horse (and actually with life in general). If you enjoy music, rhythm, dance, either individual or team athletics/sports, you will enjoy this with horses. If you don't know if you like those rhythmic things, you can find out here with the horses! When something isn't going quite right between a human and a horse, usually there is something the human should do differently. It's hardly ever the horse; it's almost always the human. Once you get to that realization, your advancement will be incredible! This is why we talk about fitness. Physical, emotional, and mental. 

4. Complete/submit our 2-page application, and contact us to further discuss schedules, rates, and goals. 
Darci Hortness, Horsemanship Coach 
605 359-0961
Here is the info on the application. We can email it to you, or you can just copy/paste the info below. Email it back to us or send to DoubleHP, 25337 470 Ave, Crooks SD  57020.

Application (2 pages) for Horsemanship Program at New Hope Horse Shelter / DoubleHP
Horse Help Providers, Inc. (DoubleHP), 501c3 nonprofit for horse rescue/sanctuary
25337 470 Ave, Crooks SD  57020, 605 359-0961, email doublehphorses@aol.com www.facebook.com/newhopehorses, www.newhopehorses.org

Name of participant ________________________________________________

Name of parents/legal guardian (if participant is under 18 years of age)

Address (city state zip) ______________________________________________

Phone numbers ____________________________________________________

Email address _____________________________________________________

If you manage your own website, blog, Facebook page, YouTube video collection, etc., that you think we might be interested in, write down your internet links here. (This is optional.)

Participant Age ___________          Height _________________         Weight ____________

(Helpful info when considering horse/saddle/stirrup fit.)

Our "how to sign up . . ." sheet will help you complete the rest of this form.

What kind of schedule are you looking at?

Summarize your horse experience, no matter how basic or extensive that may be. No previous horse experience is required, but we like to know about it if you have some.

Page 2: Application for Horsemanship, New Hope Horse Shelter / DoubleHP

What are your main areas of interest or goals or reasons for joining our program?

After reading about rhythm and fitness (physical, mental, and emotional) as they relate to our horsemanship program, please write about any experiences, thoughts, questions, or concerns you have regarding those topics.

Anything else you want to tell us or ask us about our horsemanship program?

Here is info from 2017.  It's all pretty much the same.
Help to sponsor one of our rescued horses, and we'll help you get started or advance in your horsemanship journey. Our horsemanship program is so much more than just riding lessons. 

Click on this photo to enlarge and read.

Our hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. by appointment only. 605-359-0961. Thanks.

We will help you through various levels of horsemanship, at your own pace. We have both riding and non-riding activities.
Ideally you would be able to schedule two or three 2-hour sessions each week, but we realize some people will need to schedule fewer sessions and some people may be able to schedule more sessions each week. How much supervised or unsupervised time you have with your horse here will depend on your level of horsemanship. Your need for supervision should decrease as your horsemanship level increases.
Here’s a promise: We have promised these very special horses a forever home here. They are not available for adoption, so if you fall in love…. Correction: WHEN you fall in love with our horses, you don’t have to worry about saying goodbye to them. These horses live here. This is their home.

Your sponsorship money goes to Horse Help Providers, Inc. (DoubleHP), the 501c3 nonprofit organization that rescued these horses and is responsible for their care. Your sponsorship money helps to feed and care for these rescued horses. Not a penny goes to a person. It all goes to the horses.
For many reasons, including consistency for horses and humans, we follow a specific horsemanship program that is strongly influenced by Parelli Natural Horsemanship Levels; and once or twice a year we enjoy lessons / workshops from 3-Star Licensed Parelli Instructor Anna Hill from the Twin Cities area.

In 2016 we named our DoubleHP Horsemanship Program Horsemanship to Live By.
In addition, we established some main themes around the very important word AWARE.
These themes come up in every horsemanship session and actually are very important in everything you do in life.  Become more AWARE.  With horses, and in life.

Here is our written chapter about Willpower.
Is willpower our greatest strength? Maybe. It really is what gets us going and keeps us going. Surely it is one of our greatest strengths.
Some believe that we only have so much willpower to use each day and, when it’s gone it’s gone.
Another belief is that if we have to spend a lot of time, effort, and emotions just trying to control our tempers or just trying to control everything because we feel the need to be in control of everything and everyone all of time in general, we simply don’t have any willpower left to do the things we really want to do.  Because we use it all up on the issue of control.
Some good news: Many researchers also believe that we can get more willpower! That it’s like a muscle, kind of, and we can strengthen it!
We need willpower to keep our promises and our new year's resolutions, to quit smoking, to lose weight, to beat our addictions, to finish a project or program or class, to get up and make it to work and school on time, to take care of ourselves and our family and garden and animals, to accomplish, to improve, to forget, to remember, to forgive, to confront, to avoid, to say something and to resist saying other things, to try, and try again.  We need willpower for self-control, self-discipline, self-motivation, and self-improvement. To do all of the things we want to do, we need willpower.  Yes, surely willpower is one of our greatest strengths. 
In our horsemanship program, we often remind each other that “it’s not just going to happen all by itself; it’s up to us to make sure it does happen."  We have to really try and want it to happen, we learn to visualize and focus.  And once we get going, as we get more advanced in our horsemanship program, we begin to ask ourselves more often, “how little does it take?”   How little does it take to ask my horse to back away from me, for example?  Well, at first it might take quite a bit.  But as we go along, it takes less and less and, before long, it hardly takes anything at all!  In fact, we are able to ask our horses to back away from us without anyone else really seeing us do it.  That’s some pretty amazing communication! And the less effort it takes, the more willpower we have left to do other things!
Willpower is also what helps us ride and guide our horses here and there, right and left, over the jump, between the cones, wherever we want to go, without doing much at all except, as lightly as possible, communicating with our partner, our horse. Those who stick with our horsemanship program are able to ride our horses without even using the reins. Nothing wrong with reins, they are really nice to have and we almost always have them on our horses when we ride; but we need to make sure we do not become dependent on reins.  If we never  learn to ride with loose reins, we never really learn to ride very well.  Because if we are dependent on our reins for riding, we are using all of our willpower to hold on tight, to control.  Reins are not what balance us or keep us from falling off. We can stop our horses without reins, we can steer them without reins; but developing this relationship and trust with a horse does take dedication and consistency, and we have to really want to learn how to do it. It's not just going to happen and, yes, it takes a lot of willpower!  As we strengthen our ability to visualize, focus and be aware of every little step, turn, transition, thought, etc., we also strengthen our willpower; and we also strengthen our communication, trust, and relationship with our horses.
In our horsemanship program, there are two main kinds of willpower. One is the stuff we need to do anything in life. Make and keep a schedule, be on time, write down important info, use our resources, practice at home, watch training videos and read, remember the phases and sequences, know when to quit, have plans and goals but be ready to modify them and have realistic timeframes.  Just do it; that kind of willpower.   The other type of willpower we practice and develop in our horsemanship program is more directly with our horses.   We can move our horses around just on our willpower alone, without physically touching, pushing or pulling our horses. This type of willpower is more about a mental and emotional connection with a horse.  We can become so consistent and clear in our communication with our horses that we (humans and horses) begin to know what each other is thinking and doing and asking, without anyone else really seeing the communication going on.  That’s a really special kind of willpower that you will share with the horses here in our program, if you stick with it.
Ok, so, how can our horses help us strengthen our willpower?
They do it by just being themselves. Because they have way more willpower than we can even imagine.  They have way more awareness and way more willpower than we do.  But as we spend time with them, do things with them, enjoy their company, understand them just a little bit more each day, we can learn from them. We can strengthen our awareness and our willpower.  With the horses as our teachers.
To give you an idea of just how much willpower horses have, here are some true stories about some of the horses we have rescued.  Some of them I knew for only a few hours, some of them I have known for years, some of them are in heaven, some of them are here with us and you can meet them and learn from them in our horsemanship program. 

Jasmine's story.
We rescued Jasmine's herd from starvation when Jasmine was 11. She had her yearling baby by her side and was about to give birth to another baby.

Only problem -- Jasmine had a broken hip that had never been treated, she was emaciated, dehydrated, and lame due to no hoof care; and she had a respiratory problem.  We followed our vet's orders and, 3 weeks after her rescue, Jasmine presented to us her new baby boy.

 Jasmine gained weight and strength and was a very good mommy, considering she had a broken hip and couldn't really teach her baby everything she wanted to.
 After her baby was weaned, Jasmine went and lived at a really nice retirement home.  But soon her other hip gave out, probably from having to work double hard since the one side was broken.  It was just too hard for Jasmine to get around anymore, and we had our veterinarian administer humane euthanasia.  It is amazing that Jasmine survived her starvation, it is amazing that her new foal was born healthy, it is amazing that Jasmine stayed strong until her baby was weaned, and then she let us know that life was really getting hard for her.  Staying alive and strong for her babies took a lot of willpower.  Her babies, Minerva and Hero, live here with us and are a part of our horsemanship program.

Aspen's Story.

I met Aspen nine or more days after State and County law enforcement had already met him. When I met him, he looked like this:

I knew in 3 seconds he was still alive, and I could not understand how our humane society, sheriff, and state vet could have known about him and left him like this.  I don’t know how long he had been like this. This is how he was when I met him; a "humane" officer had called me and asked if I could bring some hay, as though that would help. (I consider this to be an extreme example of long-term ignorance, for this "humane" officer had held that title for many years, yet had never bothered to learn anything about basic horse health.  After all of those years, it can no longer be considered ignorance. At that point it is serious irresponsibility and possibly even neglect! ) So, when I saw Aspen like this I immediately called our veterinarian to come, and our veterinarian immediately called the proper agencies to receive permission to humanely euthanize poor Aspen.  Why did he have to suffer for this long, for this many days.  Because of ignorance, irresponsibility, neglect, lack of willpower by all of the people in charge.  All of the agencies who were supposed to know and care about Aspen, about animals in our county and state, DID know about him. But they did not care. They could not have cared. They did not have any willpower to do what should have been done. They certainly did not do what was humane.  And even though they were not Aspen's owners, they were just as responsible for Aspen's continued suffering.  Because they had no willpower, no care to do what was right. How could Aspen still be alive after all of that time and suffering? This was in a very cold South Dakota winter, and the horses had no food or water.  Aspen had been put in this falling-down building and left there with garbage, just like garbage.  There were other dead baby horses out in the snow, and another one in this building.  And remember, law enforcement and our humane society had known about this situation for at least nine days. And still, Aspen lay here like this, suffering so. How could he still be alive?  Because of his willpower! This is how much willpower horses are capable of.  I think Aspen was waiting for his real horse rescuer to arrive, so he could know what kindness and compassion felt like. So he could know that for sure, kindness and compassion really do exist; and some humans really are capable of it.  So he could know that, even though it was too late to be made healthy, it was not too late to be loved. It was not too late to receive a name, a pillow, a blanket, and the humane act of our veterinarian to bring him peace. It was not too late for Aspen to know that he mattered. And that his story would be told.  And so here I am telling Aspen's story yet again.  Every time I tell this story it is with the hope that it brings great awareness to our community.  I guess, not just awareness but also compassion, prevention, and the will -- the willpower -- to do what is good and right.
Aspen's story is awfully sad; I know it is.  But if you  decide to get involved with a horse rescue organization such as ours, you will hear some stories like these.  We aren't like other horse places.  There are many good barns around here -- boarding facilities, training facilities, breeding facilities, places you can go for riding lessons -- you can avoid the rescue, sanctuary, shelter, animal welfare part if you want to.  But if you are in our horsemanship program, sometimes the rescue stories come up.  The best thing to do really is to become aware of these stories and learn from them. Get a feel for this strong willpower and awareness that horses have. And become aware of how it is possible to learn from them. 

Lily's Story.

While I only knew Aspen for an hour or so, I have known Lily for 8 years now!
Lily and one other horse were put out in a field during a cold South Dakota winter with no food, no water, no shelter. Lily's friend died. County officials said the other horse had been lying there dead for some time before Lily was noticed.  What willpower did that take for Lily!  To keep waiting and hoping while she was freezing and starving, standing there by her dead friend, her only friend. When we rescued Lily she had a body condition score of 1 (there is nothing lower, only death). She was loaded with worms, had received no hoof care, and her halter was growing into her head.  She had nothing left but willpower. That is how she survived.  Her recovery, growth, and development  was slow.  A few months after her rescue we did put her up for adoption, but no one wanted Lily. She had a long way to go in her recovery, her future was too unpredictable, we could not guarantee that she would someday be a riding horse or even a healthy horse.  So she came to live here. Unlike many of our "rescues," Lily did recover and grow and has become an excellent horsemanship partner here. We never want her to lose her willpower, her spirit, her dignity, her quirkiness, her individuality. Lily is a survivor.  I learn something from her every single day.

Saint Nick's story.

Sometimes I still can't believe that Saint Nick's story is true. His owners left him in a road ditch near our shelter, in the middle of a cold South Dakota winter. They tied him up there to a fence in the ditch. And that's where he spent that night. Alone, cold, frightened, emaciated, injured, on the Eve of Christmas Eve. A neighbor found him the next morning and brought him to us, and our veterinarian met us at the clinic, on Christmas Eve Day.  A horse does not get in this emaciated condition overnight.  What willpower these horses have, to survive for so long. I really do believe that most of them try to hold on for as long as they can, believing that a true rescuer will come along so they can know what love feels like, before they let themselves go.  In Saint Nick's case, we might have helped him get through his starvation; but his leg injuries were too severe and he could not be saved. You see, his owners had transported him in a trailer that had holes in the floor, and Saint Nick's leg(s) were dragging through the floor of the trailer as the trailer  was moving. And still, he wanted to believe in humans. He was a perfect gentleman for us and as the Vet worked on his legs.

He still believed in humans.  That they are capable of goodness. What willpower these horses have! Willpower to survive, willpower to please us and trust us, and willpower to forgive.  Surely we can learn a lot from them.  

for more info, call (605) 359-0961 or email doublehphorses@aol.com
No Previous Horse Experience Required.
Our Horses will show you
everything you need to know.
About Life.