Mon, Oct 28 | River Pines Farm and Horse Sanctuary


MontanaQuest’s Facilitator Training Programs are advanced interdisciplinary trainings for therapists, riding instructors, educators, managers, team leaders and others who want to master the art of employing horses in the work of human development and leadership.
Registration is Closed

Time & Location

Oct 28, 2019, 9:30 AM – Nov 05, 2019, 5:30 PM
River Pines Farm and Horse Sanctuary, 120 River Pines Rd, Missoula, MT 59804, USA

About the Workshop

  • Each MQ Training Program involves carefully-chosen professionals who attend the prescribed 9-day sessions to learn the theories and practices relevant to equine facilitated learning services and other possible programs in which horses help humans reach a greater state of physical, emotional, spiritual balance and effectiveness as leaders. Assignments and personal phone consultations in between seminars with Founder/Senior Facilitator, Shari Montana, additional MontanaQuest faculty and mentors assist participants in discovering their unique gifts, honing their powers of adaptability and innovation, sharpening equestrian, facilitation, and leadership skills, improving written and spoken communication skills, and carving out their own niche in this fast-growing, multi-faceted field. The MontanaQuest Graduates will listed on the MontanaQuest website (  Graduates who are in good standing (have signed and abide by the MontanaQuest Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice) are held to a strict code of ethics and can be suspended for unethical, inhumane, or unsafe practices. 

In our Equine- Facilitated Training program, MontanaQuest does not teach Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy.  Only facilitators who are also licensed therapists may choose to practice Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy after their completion of our course.  All others are considered educators in the Equine Facilitated Learning field. The difference between therapeutic and educational activities is a primary point of study in the MQ Program. Some facilitators choose to work with a mental health professional as an integral part of their programs. Others choose to limit their practices to educational or leadership training activities, while maintaining referral relationships with local counselors.  All facilitators are taught how to recognize and contain unexpected or undiagnosed mental health challenges in clients during equine facilitated activities, while also containing and diffusing any anxiety the horse may experience in such situations. Any educator/facilitator who recognizes a serious mental health issue in a client is required to bring the session to a safe and empowering close and immediately to refer this person to a carefully chosen psychotherapist or social worker. Licensed therapists who complete MontanaQuest EFL programs, along with all MontanaQuest students, are taught how to simultaneously keep clients and horses safe while developing and conducting equine facilitated educational experiences.  

In addition to the intense study and supervised practice, (256 hours of MontanaQuest class time), there is a minimum of 10 hours of equestrian lessons, required outside reading/study time, conference calls when needed, and individual phone consultations will take place during the MontanaQuest EFL Program, trainees receive 4 hours of private consultation with MontanaQuest senior faculty member, Shari Montana, according to their needs and interests.  Trainees are required to take a minimum of 5 lessons in two different equestrian disciplines (5 hours in each)and write an in-depth report on each discipline. 

Many trainees also choose to assist Instructors at multi-day MontanaQuest workshops and horse camps to gain additional experience with clients and horses.  

Since horses are known to mirror the unresolved emotional issues and coping strategies of facilitators as well as clients, MontanaQuest EGS Facilitator Training Programs expect that trainees will experience their own issues surfacing from time to time. For this reason programs have a strong personal development component. Each trainee is taught how to consistently maintain the safety needed in counter-transference situations by quickly identifying his or her own triggers and the behavior patterns that follow. As individuals, Facilitators have good and bad days, outside stresses, and unexpected circumstances that contribute to fluctuations in wellness, awareness, and teaching/leading effectiveness. Trainees learn how to effectively seek support from other facilitators and staff. Since horses do not distinguish between the client and the facilitator when it comes to mirroring hidden emotions, trainees must also learn how to process the information these animals reflect that occasionally pertains to facilitators during a session, sometimes modeling how to own and process these unexpected insights in the client’s presence. There is a fine line between being “real” and being professional, and this balance must be practiced under the supervision of experienced trainers.  For this reason, the MontanaQuest EGS Facilitor Training Programs emphasize supervised practical experience with clients and horses. During the program, trainees design and facilitate a one-day workshop in Equine Guided Learning for friends and/or family. After successfully completing this project, trainees are encouraged to begin seeing clients under supervision by a Senior Instructor, then write up their experiences to share with MontanaQuest Faculty and fellow trainees. The final project at year’s end involves designing and facilitating a two-day workshop for clients who travel to MontanaQuest from around the U.S or the world. This workshop is observed and supervised by the MontanaQuest staff and is the basis for graduation. Apprentices must also pass a practical equine skills test demonstrating the safe handling of horses and basic horse ground training skills needed for this work.

Four 9-Day Training Sessions  2019 Dates:

  • Week 1   October 28-November 5, 2019
  • Week 2    January 13-21, 2020
  • Week 3    March 23-31, 2020
  • Week 4    May 18-26, 2020

Daily Times:

Monday - Tuesday 9:30am- 5:30pm

Refreshments and all materials are provided.  Please a sack lunch and prepare to dress in layers, with close-toed and weather-appropriate shoes or boots; gloves, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are recommended.

Facilitators for this training are Advanced EFEL Instructor, Shari Montana, BA, BFA, AI, POH; Founder of MontanaQuest EGS and River Pines Horse Sanctuary and may include MontanaQuest Facilitators Tina Carruthers, Erika Koskela.

Tuition $12,600.00 due with registration.* /** 

*Payment plan available

**Due to the limited number of attendees, refunds are only available if cancellation is 30 days or more in advance. 

MontanaQuest Facilitator Training Program (FTP) Prerequisites & Application Process


Direct experience of this work gives applicants a clear sense of whether or not the level of mutual commitment required by a program such as this is a viable undertaking for the interested parties.  Prior to being accepted into the MQ Facilitator Training Program, all applicants are required to complete an introductory workshop offered by a MontanaQuest (or Eponaquest) Instructor, or participate in individualized sessions with Shari Montana.   In addition to completing one introductory workshop, individuals wishing to apply for the MQ Facilitator Training Program are recommended to complete an advanced workshops of 4 or more days with Shari Montana as the primary facilitator or with other Eponaquest Advanced Instructors approved to teach advanced workshops qualifying as prerequisites for the MQ FTP.  See the advanced workshop sections of MontanaQuest’s website for available options. Shari Montana will also consider graduation from other facilitator training programs, or solid experience in an already-established equine-facilitated practice, as fulfilling one of the advanced workshop requirements for entering the MontanaQuest Facilitator Training Program.  Please consult with Shari Montana to find out if you qualify for this option.  

Additional Program Requirements:

  • Apprentices must either own their own horse(s) or have routine access to a particular horse in order to practice throughout the training period.  Ask Shari about access to a horse from River Pines Horse Sanctuary if you don’t have one available.Due to the rise in equine-facilitated therapy and experiential learning industry standards, applicants must have or acquire a minimum of at least 20 hours of horse experience by the end of this training. This experience can include owning horses, riding lessons, participation in show circuits, instructing, and/or training, etc. (Opportunities to build experience may be available through River Pines Horse Sanctuary, if interested). Contact Shari for possible unpaid internship opportunities.)
  • Individuals applying to the MontanaQuest’s FTP are expected to have some experience with group dynamics. This could include support groups, work team building, as well as therapeutic groups. The key is for individuals to have some experience and an idea of how to interact supportively and successfully with other group members — in other words, how to support, give appropriate feedback, listen, and encourage other members. Much of the teaching and learning during the training will give individuals more experience and opportunity to hone their group dynamics skills. However, as in all endeavors, nothing can replace personal experience. We cannot expect others to share openly if we have not ourselves understood the vulnerability and risk this requires of each person. Facilitators cannot take anyone further then they themselves have gone. If a facilitator has blind spots, secrets or unconscious patterns, their unconscious behavior is likely to affect others and block them from reaching their full potential. During the course, participants will have opportunities to discover, uncover and reclaim lost parts of themselves. We expect this commitment from our apprentices and we commit to support them as they travel this path.
  • Applicants must be mentally and emotionally stable and exhibit a level of personal maturity. The apprenticeship program is designed for people who have already started to move beyond a survival orientation to a creative, emotionally vital and thriving lifestyle. Throughout the year, trainees will further integrate the gifts of “both worlds”: learning to ground intuitive, empathic, and shamanic insights into everyday reality while also learning to relate to others in an authentic community. While this program is not appropriate for people with a history of serious mental health issues, those who’ve faced life challenges—such as divorce, family conflicts, low-level depression and milder forms of emotional abuse—and have worked through these issues with a counselor, may apply.
  • MontanaQuest’s FTP is a rigorous program, and working with horses can be physically demanding. It is important that applicants be physically fit and in good health.

Application / Selection Process:

  1. Applicants are required to submit a physical or electronic copy of their application to Shari Montana at 
  2. There is a $100 application-processing fee.  
  3. Listed below are the items that comprise the Apprenticeship application. Please provide the information in a Microsoft Word document that is a maximum of four (4) pages, size 12 font, using text only — no photos or graphics.  
  • Please include the Date of your application 
  • Name 
  • address 
  • Best contact phone number 
  • email address
  • Education
  1. List schools, programs, trainings, certifications, etc. that have supported your growth and developmentInclude the name of teaching/training institution, year/time attended, and a one to two sentence description of the program, its purpose and value to you.
  2. Professional Experience in one or more of the following fields:  Riding Instruction/Training, Education
  3. Number of years of horse experience, if any
  4. Licensed Mental Health Work
  5. Coaching
  6. Shamanic Training
  7. Alternative Human Health Care
  8. Animal Health Care
  9. Unique Experience, Skills and/or Connections
  10. Other

Note: Specify the number of years of experience you have in each area and the particular nature of each category (e.g. Dressage Riding Instructor for seven years, High School teacher for ten years.)

  • Describe your initial experience with MontanaQuest. Indicate nature of experience (workshop, private sessions, or an intensive), the name(s) of facilitator(s) and workshop(s), and dates.
  •  Indicate which of the  concepts or activities were difficult to integrate when you returned home? For example, the concept of emotion as information, authentic community building skills, or the false-self/authentic-self metaphor. 
  • Which of the concepts were most useful?
  • List the date and facilitator of the MontanaQuest Introductory Workshop you attended along with the names and dates of the qualifying workshops with Shari Montana or other Instructors.
  • Describe your attraction to the field of Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning. 
  • Why are you attracted to the MontanaQuest Facilitator Training Program?
  • Given the requirements and energetic demands of the Apprenticeship Program, describe how you will integrate it with your personal and work life during the extent of the training.
  • Describe your goals for your completed training.
  • Indicate the state of your mental and physical health.
  • Knowing yourself as you do, if you were to run into a problem during the apprenticeship year, what might it be? How do you imagine the program could help you acknowledge and address that issue?
  • If so advised by Shari Montana or other MontanaQuest Instructor, are you willing to seek outside help in an area where there seems to be a deficiency?
  • Indicate your capacity to send and receive emails with Microsoft Word attachments via the computer and access to One Drive on line on a routine basis. 
  • Click on "Register" above to complete your application.  Once we receive your application and $100.00 application fee you will be notified of your next step in our Facilitator Training Program application process.  

Applicants will receive email notification as to whether or not they passed the paper-screening phase.

  • MQ FacTr.Pro. Application Fee

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