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NSU offers new course

Learn to train horses at home, at your own pace, with a professional to help you step-by-step, and earn a community education Certificate of Recognition from New Mexico State University (NMSU).

And if you like colorful horses you can also study Coat Color Genetics and earn a noncredit certificate. It's all part of the distance learning program being offered online by the Grants Campus, according to Patricia Strange, coordinator, Community Education.

"New Mexico residents have historically been associated with horses and horsemanship," Strange said. "And this online program gives us a chance to provide courses of interest to virtually anyone in our statewide community." Students register for the courses with NMSU, but receive their instruction by computer. Students without a personal computer can make arrangements to use on campus computers.

"Students are given a link which provides the text for each lesson. At the end of the lesson, the student takes a short quiz and writes a brief narrative explaining his or her training progress," Strange explains. Internationally known author/trainer Don Blazer, developer of the program, sends comments and advice to the students to assist them as they practice. Each week students meet in a chat room to discuss problems and exchange ideas with Blazer and other students.

Training Performance Horses is a course which takes the student from before the first saddle to the flying change of leads. Students learn to develop a feeding program to match the work the horse will do, and they get instruction on how to train the horse to perform every exercise from proper stopping to side-passing, half-passing, rollbacks, two-tracking and haunches in.

The course is not about western or English, said Strange. It is a broad-based course which allows the students to learn the process for preparing any horse for high levels of performance.

Coat Color Genetics provides the information and tools needed to make statistical predictions of the coat colors of foals based on the genetic makeup of the sire and dam. This is a course for anyone interested in the color breeds.

"The financial foundations of many ranches and breeding programs are built on the ability to produce 'color'," Strange said. "Coat Color Genetics explains how genes work and how to use the Punnett Square to predict gene combinations."

Coat Color Genetics is an eight-lesson course with instructors Dr. Jim and Lynda McCall. Students will have the opportunity to meet with the instructors weekly in a chat room.

More information, samples from lessons and samples of quiz questions can be seen at The course fee is $200 for either course.

Registration may be made by calling NMSU at (505) 287-6670, or (505) 287-7981. Students may start either course at any time. There is no time limit for completion of either course.


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