Five Day Foundation (5 Day Course)


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Immerse yourself in a week of horsemanship, with like minded people. During these five days you will gain practical experience in: Join Up™, Follow Up™, Long reining, Halter work and other groundwork, in addition to lectures in: Preparing your horse for the farrier, Loading, and Saddle Fitting. Held at the beautiful Hartsop Farm in Whitney, Oxfordshire OX73AS.

During these five days you will gain practical experience in:

♞ How to build a connection with horses including through Join-Up™  *
♞ Learn how to long rein in the round pen and on the road and tracks (safely!)
♞ Ground work to develop accurate control of the horse for safety and physical and psychological  improvements in your horse.
♞ Classroom based riding lecture and assessment (optional) for your comfort and stability as well as for your horse’s benefit.
Lectures and demonstrations in:- Preparing your horse for the farrier, saddle fitting and safely loading a horse into a trailer or horsebox.

*Do read Kelly’s blog to learn far more about what you learn from learning Join-Up.

Each person will have the opportunity to go into the round pen a minimum of four times to practice Join Up™’ with a variety of horses under supervision. You are welcome to bring your own horse if arranged in advance with Ian Vandenberghe (Tel: 01993 868914).

Each student has the opportunity to do 3 Join Up™ without tack, 2 ‘full’ Join-Up™ with tack and long lining in the pen, 1 individual training halter session, 1 individual long lining session, 1 replay of video session with tutor for feedback and discussion, as much additional human to human body language as they choose.  On Wednesday or Thursday, instead of a  ‘Join-Up™ with tack session’, you can have an additional long lining session, or JUST LET US KNOW what you feel would be most useful to you and we will do our best to accommodate.

This course runs from 9am to 5pm with a 45 min – 1 hour lunch break as well as short breaks throughout as needed depending on each individual group. We do ask that you arrive 15 mins early on the first day of the course to allow for introductions. Each attendees is required to bring sensible footwear, gloves and a riding helmet. If you do not have a riding helmet you can pre-arrange with the IH team for us to bring one for you. Contact with any questions.


Further Information:

These world exclusive five day foundation courses are fully endorsed by Monty Roberts. They are run by his only British/European Master Instructor, Kelly Marks. Kelly together with Ian Vandenberghe, created the original Monty Roberts courses with Monty in England and they later went out to Flag Is Up Farms.

Each student completing the course will be issued with a certificate stating completion which may be used against future certification of the Intelligent Horsemanship Diploma and the Monty Roberts Introductory Course of Horsemanship. From here you may wish to become a Monty Roberts Instructor by completing your training at Flag is Up Farms, California or to become an Intelligent Horsemanship Recommended Trainer.

You will need to be a member of the Intelligent Horsemanship Association (if not already a member) so you can start practising with online footage and be super ready before the course!



Spectators are most welcome at the cost of £15 per day for IH members or £30 per day for non-members. Spectator places can be booked by clicking the button or by calling the office on 01488 71300. Please specify which date you wish to attend.


A Taster Of What The Week Involves:


  1. Harry Ziman

    I would definitely recommend this course. There are several people I will talk to about it. I will also be clear the course is for a broad range of people with a wide variety of approaches and tutors who listen to and take interest in every participant. The participants were universally good. I wasn’t quite sure what I expected beyond Join up. I came to enjoy the course and learn and that was certainly achieved. The human to human exercises were excellent. Plus: And the tutors! Expertise comes as standard these days, but I did feel that they were invested in each and every student they were skilled teachers – you included. The involvement of so many gave us different perspectives too. Please can you share this with them because I couldn’t thank them all in person.

  2. Student on March 24 Course

    The most positive aspect of this course, was the patience of all members of staff, no judgement, and the fact that there are ‘no stupid questions!’

  3. Louise Anson

    This course is useful for anyone who handles horses. Plus it is a warm, friendly atmosphere and fun! Is the course what you expected? Feedback from previous attendees I have seen as positive and this proved to be the case for me too. Pre-course, info sets out, clearly what will be covered, and it was! For me, personally, the rider positioning was a stand out as it will give me a lot to work on to improve and was one of the most positive aspects of this course. Also multiple Join ups give the opportunity to experience different personalities ( of the horses!) And put into practice what we had learned.

  4. Katie Lister

    100% I would recommend this course, because I’ve learnt so much, and you find yourself. The environment is amazing, everyone is there to help. is the course what I expected? Yes and no in a good way. All good. I expected to work with horses etc and what we were going to do. No, because I didn’t expect how much I found. My confidence in myself had grown. I nearly cried in my last Join up. I was like WOW I just did it. I believed in myself when to change direction and each step. Reading the horse and eye contact is so important and getting people to know that is so important because what us, as humans, think horses are thinking could make our actions intimidating. What you guys do here, is amazing.

  5. Kate McGowan

    I’d recommend this course to anyone who wants to develop skills and improve their own knowledge, and actually wants to listen to the horses to reach your aims. It was full of in-depth information, both practical and theory, so yes – in fact, I would say it exceeded my expectations for stop, to be honest, the whole course was great – but the DVD session and conversation with a tutor was invaluable. It was a real bonus to have Emma, the Equine physiotherapist join us to show the basics and help overall understanding. Thank you.

  6. IH Office Student on March 24 Course

    This course is an amazing opportunity to have repeated opportunities to develop your self management (inside and out!) With different horses. I’ve benefited a lot from having several different instructors with different approaches and areas of interest. An unexpected bonus! I’ve gained a community of like-minded, generous, caring colleagues to share the journey with beyond the end of the course. I’ve gained clarity around what I have, and what I need more of.

  7. Catarina Caminha (from Portugal)

    This course covers a lot of topics that are really important and useful to handle horses. I learned everything that was announced to be taught. I enjoyed having different horses to practice on, having different teachers and getting to experience what it feels like for the horse.

  8. Georgina Domberger

    Everyone working with horses should do this course. There’s too much close mindedness in the horse world, and we need more of the open, compassionate and progressive, thinking this course exemplifies. The course is what I expected, though better. Very well organised on a daily basis. Very friendly, supportive and encouraging. Met great people.

  9. Daisy Turner

    I feel like it’s a perfect mix of practical and theory. I have learnt and consolidated the mix of learning perfectly and can’t wait to try next new techniques (especially loading) on my horses. I learned the correct techniques foe Join up, long lining, loading, handling feet and so much more.

  10. Alison Sullivan

    Knowledgeable, friendly tutors. You managed to tailor the course to each individual needs. Good broad overview of many aspects of interacting with horses.

  11. Jacky Robinson

    Welcoming, attention to detail, safe and encouraging learning environment. Inclusive to all participants. Excellent mix of lecture, demonstrations and practical hands-on. More than expected. Really full on and thorough content, a great mix of tutors and comment and subjects.

  12. IH Office

    I would definitely recommend the course a really worthwhile course. I give it 10 out of 10 very enjoyable!

  13. Jennifer Such

    I just wanted to say a huge thank you for the five day foundation course last week. Having read all the glowing online reviews I was starting to get worried that my expectations had been set too high, but the course absolutely delivered. The wide range of trainers gave a really varied experience & it was a great mix of topics. I have already been able to put some of the techniques successfully into practice with my own horse & it has made me start to think about things a little differently. I’m really looking forward to joining more courses in the future. Thank you very much!

  14. Nikki Senior

    This has been such a fantastic experience – I’ve learned so much about my interactions with Horses. Thank you!

  15. Laura Chandi

    I was here as a helper as I’ve done the course before. I knew it would be excellent but talking to the course students confirmed this! The course is full of learning and amazing value for money considering the amount lesser courses (non-IH!) Charge! It’s very real and non-intimidating – great for nervous people.

  16. Caroline Tim J

    Very informative. Lots of hands-on experience. Approachable and knowledgeable tutors. Highly recommend

  17. Claire Harrison

    Complete game changer on understanding human horse communication.

  18. Lizzie Ray

    I would recommend this course to anybody looking for a deeper understanding of their horse and themselves. I would like to say thank you.

  19. Joe Fox

    I think every every horse owner should do it. Everyone is so helpful and willing to share information.

  20. Jessica Greenfield

    The course covers so many areas of Horsemanship. You get a lot for your money and time.

  21. Damian Stenton

    Essential knowledge for any horse person in varied topics.

    The atmosphere meeting new people and sharing knowledge were wonderful aspects of this course

  22. Michelle Taguchi

    It’s absolutely brilliant! I’ve learnt so much and everybody has been so nice. It was more than I expected! So varied and practical.

  23. Claire Barnett

    Ian and Kelly’s stories are fabulous and bring it all to life. The variety of tutors, who are so incredibly knowledgeable and gifted as well as generous is excellent.

  24. Doug Robinson

    Fantastic range of discussion. Wonderful horses wonderful people. A thoroughly enjoyable time. I learnt so much and I have so many new things to try.

  25. Ali Reypert

    In September 2019 I embarked on the IH Foundation Course. I was so excited to be going on the week of learning about horses in a new way compared to how I had looked at and been around them before. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I had a good feeling in my bones.

    Well, it was the most transformational week I have experienced. It was a feast of learning a new approach to horses, how and why horses do what they do and what I was inadvertently doing and saying to them. I can’t lie, it was also emotional and I felt bad for how I had been towards my horses in the past. The first thing that I wanted to do was to apologise to Tio, my horse, when I got home.

    This week with Kelly, Iain, Sandra and the team was the start of my new way of trying to be with horses – a direction that I am still moving in. But, the most important result of my week of education was that I got to meet Bridget Colston, IHRT. Bridget is still guiding my horse and me as we progress along our better way of horsemanship.

    So, I owe huge thanks to IH and their IHRT Bridget Colston for my new and much better direction of travel with my horse.

  26. Veronika Green (and Polly)

    The course was way better than I expected! Truly life changing by giving us the tools and letting us open our minds to better horsemanship. Practical parts and fantastic support from the tutors. Very high professionalism and knowledge. Truly First Class

  27. Kate

    A life changing experience

  28. Anon

    Much better and covered a lot more in a lot more detail than I thought possible in 5 days

  29. Anon

    best part of the course I really appreciated having such a variety of tutors and doing a variety of activities I really enjoyed watching Kelly working with Mar and seeing how to adjust and break a loading problem down. Excellent empathetic tutors who found all the positive aspects of the students work.

  30. Jo Scott

    I have and will continue to recommend this and other IH courses because quite simply what you teach works.

  31. Nancy

    a very good way to understand better handling skills and how to be a better horse person. Nicely put together and a good way of learning with practical and theory.

  32. Ann Williams

    good mix of lecture and practical sessions. The most positive aspects of this course were the mix of horses and mix of instructors and support from fellow students and volunteers. The individual long lining was very helpful. It was a great mix of lecture and practical and I can’t suggest any improvements.

  33. Kelsea Taylor

    Having worked in a riding school, I know a lot of parents who really want a better understanding of horses and I think this course would be perfect as you don’t have to have loads of experience to get loads out of this course

  34. Alison Messenger

    I learned how much better life can be for me and my horse. I learned new skills. Rider positioning was a revelation!

  35. Suzie Fletcher

    Friendly advice with lots of examples. Felt very supported in every way. So to be here I feel as if I’ve had the best holiday 😊

  36. Jim

    The ability of the tutors to adapt the session to the individual student means it is suitable for all standards of horse person. The most positive aspect of the course with great tutors and a variety of great horses and being with horsey people for a week meant I’m very happy and I got exactly what I came for.

  37. Susan Rice

    The learning atmosphere was so positive and I came home full of motivation to do more and learn more for the good of my horse

  38. anon

    I had always felt with conventional training that it was so prescriptive… ‘This is the way to do it ‘with an unwritten subscript which read ‘ and if your horse doesn’t respond like this then you are clearly incompetent!!’

  39. Anon

    Just a note to say thank you so much to you and your team for a fantastic week. Murphy and I have gained so much from it. It exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I went there looking to improve my ‘bond’ with Murph and came home with the answer to so many unanswered questions that remained from my years working with horses.

  40. Ceri

    Shared learning, relaxed environment, good learning pace. There was enough time to engage with the instruction instructors on a one-to-one basis surely more Great facilities, ideally suited to the course and love the range of teachers, each brought something different or a new perspective

  41. Sally Carlisle

    Excellent explanations of all information. Thoroughly rounded so helping me to think a lot about how to assess the horse human partnership

  42. Sophie

    An amazing five days with a very special group of people – both lecturers and students. Thank you for your help and support. I’ll be back!

  43. Hannah

    I didn’t expect the course to include so much information and lecture content. Everyone was really friendly and supportive. The practicals were well organised.

  44. Alice

    The instructors were friendly and tuned into everyone equally. There was so much covered but in plenty of detail

  45. Rachel Murat

    All of the instructors were excellent at explaining and teaching. They were also very observant and had a great attention to detail

  46. Megan Roberts

    It’s been one of the best (if not the best) experiences of my horsey life and I look forward to continuing. Thank you all!

  47. Nancy Bruce

    Hi Kelly, I just wanted to thank you and your team for an amazing week on the foundation course; it was superb and was one of the finest courses I have ever attended.

  48. Katharine

    I don’t expect you to remember me but I attended your stage 1 courses years ago (I had written a couple of articles about Monty’s work after attending a demo), my name was Katharine Wealthall then. I just wanted to say that those courses were one of the best periods of my life. I loved every minute of them and would have given anything to be part of your team! What a great group of people and you are an exceptional teacher and a lovely person to be around. Thank you.
    Hope you are all keeping safe and well.
    Kind regards,

  49. Julie Axup

    A huge thank you to Sandra, Kelly and all the trainers for a fabulous week. You are all so patient and generous with your time and knowledge, nothing ever seemed to be too much trouble and no question deemed ‘stupid’. It was really refreshing to spend a week with like minded people who were totally non-judgemental. The way everyone celebrated each other’s successes and were happy to share the things which didn’t quite go to plan, but from which we learn so much, was wonderful. There was no feeling during the week of always having to get it right or be the best, it made for such a nice, friendly, relaxed atmosphere in which to learn.
    And of course a huge thank you to all those lovely horses who each teach us so much.
    Thank you all so much for a wonderful week.

  50. Donna Udall

    I just wanted to write and say thank you so much for last week. It was brilliant and I sincerely appreciate the years of dedication, and organisational skills, it takes to get it that right. Now I know my direction, I’m going back to basics with Betty and we’re spending the next 6 months trying to get good at the fundamentals.


    Thank you so much for a wonderful course last week.

    I’m still buzzing and the changes in Milo are so noticeable, I can’t thank you enough for your guidance and non judgemental approach please pass on my gratitude to Kelly and Rosie and of course Ian.

    You have all accomplished so many incredible things and it’s really humbling to be able to learn from you all. I hope you never underestimate the difference you make not only to horses but to the people you train. You’ve all inspired me on so many different levels , even to go on to see if I could become a trainer one day

  52. Evangelene Stickley

    Hello Sandra Firstly I wanted to say, how amazing it was to do the foundation course this week and pass it. Walk away less nervous around horses then I was when I arrived. To have support from Kelly, Sandra, and other IH trainers but also have support from my fellow students on the course. It was just once in a life time feeling and special to be a part of a group in the equine world, which was special.

  53. Paula Hawker

    Firstly, can I thank the IH team for the amazing foundation course that myself and my daughter Sarah attended just recently.
    My daughter Sarah came away from the foundation course with aspirations of becoming a recommended trainer and I will help her as much as I can by coming along for the ride.

  54. Emma Busk

    Just back from 4 back-to-back courses (Feeding/Athlete; Psychology, Foundation & Untouched). Life-changing and simply brilliant! In lieu of competing this summer, will be doing my Psychology project and doing my join ups. Every horse person says “we never stop learning” but sometimes that is just lip service. One of the (so many) things I learnt at my stays in Witney from great ‘teachers’ is to admit that and how to open myself up to really learning.
    Part of that is the effectiveness and ‘intelligence’ of the content. The other part has been the skill and empathy of the trainers and the environment that enables, encourages, supports and celebrates individual breakthroughs. Probably the most positive and useful 11 days in my entire equestrian life!!!

  55. Sue Cobbin

    The friendly vibe within the whole farm. The professional quality of everything that’s taught and so much more!

  56. Megan Stratton

    All absolutely fabulous. Many thanks

  57. Christina Wyman


  58. Julie Rimmer

    A perfect 10. Very practical with great feedback and time to reflect.

  59. Carley O’Callaghan

    Spending the week on the foundation course with such lovely, supportive people really made me realise how much passion I have for this, and how life is too short to let things get you down. So I needed to get out the rut I was in.
    So as you know from previously, my job wasn’t the best, and was really grinding me down and knocking my confidence, so the 1st of this month I handed in my notice and today was my last day. What a weight lifted of my shoulders.
    I have a week before my new employment to give myself a break and I thought, I need to find my happy bubbly self again. So on Monday I’m going on a Solo riding adventure riding Andalusian horses in Spain!I’m so excited about life again, I haven’t felt this motivated for so long. I can’t wait for the Foal Handling course in June. See you soon, I think your all amazing and can’t wait to spend so much more learning time with you. Much Love and appreciation!

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