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Horse riding by the ocean on the horse vacations with the Equine Research Foundation. Click to enlarge.
Testing your relationship skills on the horse vacations with the Equine Research Foundation. Click to enlarge.
Equine research on the horse vacations with the Equine Research Foundation. Click to enlarge.



ERF co-founders. Click to enlarge.

Having fun on the horse vacations with the Equine Research Foundation. Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge. Trailer loading at liberty at the Equine Research Foundation.
Click to enlarge. Positive reinforcement training at the Equine Research Foundation.

Horse Vacations, Internships, Volunteering
Available at the Foundation's Learning Center

Horse vacations, internships, and volunteering are the essence of the Equine Research Foundation's public programs. These are aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of horse learning capabilities, cognition, perception, and behavior as well as the human/horse relationship

See Schedules & Prices for dates and costs and Accommodations for information on transportation and available hotels and motels.

For photos of ongoing activities, public programs and projects at the Equine Research Foundation, please see our horsemanship and horse research picture pages. Want to hear from past participants? Check out what people say.

Programs offered fall into these categories:

  1. Horse Vacations
    Immerse yourself in a truly unique holiday experience. One of our perfect educational horse vacations is waiting for you in the serene countryside of the California coast. Learn how to develop strong relationships with horses on the ground that benefit you later in the saddle, improve your horsemanship skills, experience the ERF's training methods based on horse behavior and positive reinforcement, and find out more about horses through hands-on research activities. Even take a ride on the ocean beach as an option. Discover what you won't find anywhere else: an adventure you'll help write, not one you'd just read about! (...more below)

  2. Summer Internships
    Join the Foundation's team for approximately four weeks and participate in equine research while learning about training and handling in a relaxed and friendly vacation-like atmosphere. Summer internships begin the first of the month or by special arrangement. School credit may be arranged. Please contact us to work out details. (...more below)

  3. Student Volunteering
    Year-round volunteer positions are available, mostly for local college students, but "students" of horses from the community are also welcome. Volunteers should be able to commit to regular schedules for a minimum of three months, approximately eight hours per week for volunteering and 16 hours per week for internships. School credits are available. Please contact us for more information. (...more below)

For activities overview, scroll down the page or click to:


Working With The Experts

Learning horse vacations, internships, and volunteer programs involve learning from and working side-by-side with the co-founders of the Equine Research Foundation - equine cognition and behavior expert and horse trainer, Dr. Evelyn B. Hanggi, and horse trainer and instructor, Jerry Ingersoll - exploring how horses think and learn, and using this knowledge for training, handling, riding, horsemanship, problem solving, and helping improve equine care and welfare.


Learning Eclectic Horsemanship

Eclectic - deriving ideas and style from a broad and diverse range of sources

Things tend to come much easier once we understand why a horse does what he does. Yet, figuring this out can be confusing. Nowadays, there are all sorts of phrases - for example, natural horsemanship, true horsemanship, foundation training, relationship training - that go along with working with horses but in reality, each method is not that much different from the others. They are all based on horse behavior and the good ones also take equine cognition and perception into account. Years of learning from the best of the best horsemen and women combined with years of our own experiences and research discoveries has allowed us to develop a gentle yet effective method of working with and being around horses. This eclectic approach encourages flexibility in thinking and continual improvement in techniques and understanding.

Every single thing a person does around a horse, whether on the ground or from his back, affects the horse. This is often good but just as often detrimental to one or the other or both. However, a deep understanding of horse behavior is what helps resolve problems quickly and enhances the skills needed to improve human/horse communication and relationships.

The Equine Research Foundation horse vacations and internship programs explore the equine mind and teach participants how to interact more effectively with horses. Eclectic horsemanship starts on the ground where participants learn how to act more like leaders and how to help horses build confidence, responsiveness, respect, and a desire to be with people. Once this is accomplished, horses want to interact and respond willingly, even at liberty!

Behaviors learned on the ground translate to riding as well. Participants of our horse vacations and internships discover this quickly and are amazed at how natural the human/horse partnership becomes. When bonds are strengthened, trust comes easily.


Learning the basics about haltering. Click to enlarge. Click to enlarge. Beach ride on horse vacations with the Equine Research Foundation. Click to enlarge. Do it all with groundwork first on horse vacations with the Equine Research Foundation.


So, get yourself ready for eclectic horsemanship! We will teach you the Foundation's alternative methods of ground schooling and bond formation (see our horsemanship pictures and our horse research pictures pages for more info). Using these natural training methods - which are based on equine behavior, psychology, and positive reinforcement (including the Foundation's variation on clicker training) - you will learn to develop a better relationship with any horse. All techniques emphasize positive interaction, form strong human/horse bonds, and serve to create willing partnerships between humans and horses.

You won't just be interacting with horses on the ground on your horse vacations and internships because a beach ride is also available for those who are interested. You will be partnered with gentle, well-mannered horses matched to your ability for an enjoyable ride along the shoreline of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary where we often observe sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, dolphins, whales, and a large variety of seabirds.

Contact us about unforgettable learning vacations.

Contact us about unforgettable learning vacations.

Doing Actual Research And More

As part of our horse vacations or internship programs you will also learn what it takes to do noninvasive scientific research geared toward gaining a deeper understanding of the horse's mind, behavior, and trainability. Research is conducted in a scientific yet relaxed atmosphere where you will help with operating the testing apparatus, positive reinforcement of the horses during the tests, videotaping experiments, collecting data, journal record keeping, analyzing data and more.

Your participation in one of our learning vacations or internships is key in helping us educate the public about horse behavior, their learning abilities, trainability, care, as well as their psychological needs. How so? The knowledge you help gather is published not only in scientific journals but also in popular national and international magazines and is featured worldwide on television documentaries, radio shows and Internet interviews.

Conducting research is only one part of the Foundation's learning horse vacations and internships. Through personal instruction and hands-on experience you will learn how the findings of the Equine Research Foundation relate to human dealings with horses and how cognition and behavior principles apply to handling and training.

You'll experience first-hand: groundwork, human-horse bonding, positive reinforcement training, care and handling.



Discovering New Friendships

You will work and make friends with a diverse group of people with whom you share the experience of the Foundation's horse vacations and internships. Participants have traveled from Germany, Austria, France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, Japan, and Canada, as well as from all across the United States. Teachers, lawyers, writers, students, horse lovers, horse trainers, and people brand new to the horse world all have left with a new appreciation for horses and the horse's mind. They reached their goal of learning how to help their horses become the responsive and agreeable partners they always wished for.

Small groups ensure ample opportunity for participation in almost every aspect of the research and horse handling/training. Early sign-up is recommended.



Copyright Notice: All literature and photographs on this website are the exclusive property of the Equine Research Foundation or the scientific journals in which articles appear. The literature and photographs may not be downloaded or reproduced, copied, used or altered in any way without the written permission of the Equine Research Foundation.

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Equine Research Foundation
P. O. Box 1900, Aptos, CA 95001
Email: EquiResF@aol.com