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Horse Training Blogs


Samantha Harvey developed Alternative Horsemanship training theories based on her experiences over the past 25 years. She offers riding lessons, ground work sessions, lessons in jumping, Dressage, cross country, competitive trail, endurance, trail, and western horsemanship.  She works with both competitive and pleasure riders.  Lessons and clinics are designed to be confidence building  experiences in a supportive and respectful environment with a priority of safety for both horse and rider.

All instruction is private and offered by Sam Harvey, whose background includes 3 Day Eventing, Jumpers, Western Horsemanship, Dressage. working cattle ranches and more.  Sam is also an alumna of The United States Pony Club as participant, instructor and Joint DC.­

Individualized training programs which are designed for the horse and rider include colt starting, refinement at Charm School for difficult horses and finishing for those horses needing more exposure.  All training is offered by the week to best suit the horse and rider's needs and budget.­

Each summer season there are a limited number of Full Immersion Clinics offered in Sandpoint, Idaho.  These were developed for intensive, hands-on learning opportunities to address a variety of topics both on the ground and in the saddle.

Sam is based at The Equestrian Center, LLC, in Sandpoint, Idaho, just 12 minutes north of town, April through October.  A gorgeous, 20 acre scenic facility, with multiple arenas, conditioning track, round pens, lots of trailer parking and turn around options and is easy access from Selle Road.

Regular boarding is not offered but the facility does host overnight and short term layovers and has seasonal facility memberships available for individuals wanting to use the arenas and conditioning track.

In the fall and winter months Sam is based in Yuma, Arizona, where she offers lessons and training. During the winter Sam offers clinics throughout the United States and often spends several months working with horses abroad ranging from South America to the Carribean to the South Pacific.

For children or novice adults please visit the Children's Program taught by Jennifer Harvey.­

To find out the latestest happenings please visit our Hoofprints and Happenings Newsletter and visit the blog.

Thank you for stopping by!


No information, pictures or  content on this website may be reproduced or copied. 2019 ©


In this day and age the term “natural horsemanship” has become the latest mass marketing effort to reach the equine community.  As much as the general public has increased their awareness in realizing there is a “gentler” way of working with their horses compared to the old ways of “breaking” horses, many of the ideas you find in the easily accessible books, videos and DVDs don’t offer a whole lot that is “natural” about the methods presented to start and train horses.  Too many times new clients come to me for help because the “general teachings” presented by trainers and clinicians geared towards “mass teachings” can create a lot of undesired results when undereducated students (horse and rider) aren’t able to fully grasp the how and whys of concepts nor the timing and finesse of techniques properly and wind up in less than ideal situations.

People can simulate horse behavior and communication, but none of it will ever be as “natural” as one horse communicating with another.  So the term “alternative” was suggested by a client of mine who realized I was using the same “concepts, timing and pressure” as horses would if they were communicating with one another, but with an alternative way of communicating the same information.

My goal is to teach owners how to first learn to "read" their horse.  Then to be ale to assess what support their horse needs from the human, in order to create a mental, emotional and physical availability in their horse. Learning to offer clear communication is the foundation in building a trusting and respectful partnership.

Lessons and clinics will help you raise your level of awareness, increase your ability to assess, offer ideas on aids and their correct usage (how, when and why) to improve your timing and finesse when working with your horse.

Most riders and horses "go through the motions" and tolerate each other with a sense of "surviving the ride." Instead why not encourage your horse to learn how to offer a "try" rather than a "why should I?" mental attitude. The physical actions your horse displays are a reflection of his mental and emotional state. By treating each horse as an individual and assessing his level of experience, trust, respect, effort and past we can then work WITH him in order to gain his trust and respect to achieve a quality partnership.

Infusing a combination of helping folks decipher horse behavior, a classical riding foundation and positive support is my goal in helping horses and humans.  Slowing down and addressing the seemingly minor details that actually can create "cracks" in the partnership, allows a continually forward moving progression that empowers students to independentaly use their newfound skills to work with their horse in the "real world," irrelevant of the discipline.

If you're not quite sure where to "start" with your horse, or what direction to go with your horse, or even what needs "help" in your partnership, you can opt to have an in person on site consultation, a remote consultion based on video sent or just a phone consultation to sort through ideas and options. Check out the "Other Services" link for details.

What is Alternative Horsemanship?

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No information, pictures or  content on this website may be reproduced or copied. 2019 ©


Horse Training Blogs

Sam's Background

In the Beginning…
I began riding for fun on barefoot and bareback on a few backyard ponies but with lessons I began to focus on jumpers. The United States Pony Club expanded my knowledge and experience and I quickly was drawn towards Three Day Eventing after a few cross-country rides. I loved the adrenaline rush of galloping up over hills,down through streams and then out over huge fences! I left home at a young age to focus on training and competing: my riding brought me throughout the US and finally to England.

My Experiences…
Although my main focus was Three Day, I wanted to expand my field of knowledge and experience a variety of disciplines, training styles and breeds. I worked in Jumper and Dressage barns, schooling, conditioning and training horses. I attended jockey school, to learn the the ins and outs of several race tracks and a glimpse of the racing world.

I trained with instructors of various backgrounds throughout the US, and was able to experience all aspects of Three Day from the competitor's standpoint, the training standpoint, the course designer and competition host. I was surrounded by international caliber competitors, taught by national and international trainers, chef d'equipes, olympic competitors and coaches with varied backgrounds.

I found that the more I saw, the increasingly frustrated I became with the lack of concern for what I would consider as a quality foundation- in both the horses and riders.  I found the lack of concern for either the horse and/or rider's mental, emotional and physical well being was a crucial missing key to the "big picture." I realized the "higher up" I got, the more I was surrounded by folks who seemed to have had lost sight of why they were riding and competing, and had let politics and the continual stress of finances cloud their perspective, values and goals.

I was beyond disappointed to realize the goal I had been working so hard towards, would not in the long run make me or my horses happy. So I left the sport.

Even though I was not riding, I continued to stay in touch with friends from the equine world. My interest was slowly rekindled accidentally when I became involved with a Pony Club in Hawaii.  From there, it evolved when I went as a spectator to an event in Kalispell, MT. I saw people who were riding for the pure enjoyment of the sport. This encouraged me to once again become involved with the sport.


Being reacquainted with United States Pony Club, but this time as a trainer and District Commissioner, and I began to teach and ride again. And somehow, troubled horses kept seeming to "find" their way to me.

I also was reunited with one of the finest horseman I've ever met, but this time, I was mentally available to finally appreciate what he was offering. He helped me re-evaluate my underlying basic thought and interaction with the horses. And although for many years I had survived riding the crazy or unpredictable hrose, I now had to re-evaluate everything I thought I knew, in terms of the quality of the partnership between the horse and I.

Years have been spent (and I still continue to focus) on refining my own level of awareness, ability to assess, my sensitivity and timing. Every time I teach, it improves my riding; every horse I ride, improves my teaching.  Opportunities learning from quality horseman have continued to inspire my own equine experiences and my students learning.  My journey has allowed me to share with others others the tools and aids to clearly and effectively communicate with their horse to build a quality partnership whose foundation is built on respect and trust.

I now travel as a clinician throughout the United States and world wide during the winter months; in the summer I'm based at The Equestrian Center, LLC in Sandpoint, ID offering lessons, training and Full Immersion Clinics. For the past 15 years I’ve used Yuma, AZ as my winter base.

Present Day…
By now my experience has allowed me to step back and “see” more of the whole picture; I use a mixture of ideas and theories that I've developed to hone my personalized training and teaching style for  horses and students, whether competitive or pleasure riders. My goal of achieving a horse's mental availability so that they are open to having a "conversation" while we work together is the foundation of my teaching principles. From watching, clinicing, and auditing with quality horse folks throughout the world, and mostly from the horses themselves, it has become abundantly clear that winning over a horse’s mental availability completely changes the entire relationship. I encourage riders of all experiences and disciplines to peruse this website and also to visit my blog for more on my training theories and philosophies!

For a more in depth explanation check out the Alternative Horsemanship and RESPECT pages to learn more about ground work philosophy and the Riding with Sam and Riding Basics for lesson style.