Jim McDonald is a life-long horse enthusiast, AQHA Professional Horseman, and CHA Master Instructor and clinician who is highly respected in the equine community for his expertise in horse behavior and learning theory. His unique approach to training both horses and humans applies horse-centric principles to help students and clients build trusting relationships, overcome challenges, and reach their goals.
Jim’s own horsemanship has evolved over the past 60 years. He grew up believing the prevalent thinking that horses learn via force and intimidation and must be “shown who’s boss” in order to do what we ask. But as an adult, Jim transformed his approach and adopted a more sophisticated and effective model based on instinctive equine behavior and learning theory. Today, he helps students ranging from brand-new riders to competitive athletes apply those principles to improve their horsemanship and enjoyment.
"It’s not difficult or mysterious - we just need to learn what the horse needs and present things to him in a manner that a prey animal will understand."
- Jim McDonald
Testimonials ~ Jim McDonald Horsemanship
"I honestly was at a loss with my mare. After just 15 minutes of Jim working with her I had a whole new horse ! Super happy with her and the way he handled her and all the information we gathered from today’s session!"
~ Nicole Small
"We're so grateful for the wisdom and effectiveness of Jim's teachings! My daughter has been learning from him for a year now. She was a already a skillful rider when she arrived (even at 10 years old) but her riding has been elevated greatly and in ways that are valuable even off of the horse. Jim has taught her how to be in partnership and communication with the horse and to see the world thru equine eyes. He has taught her to lead in cooperation and positive relationship instead of trying to control with fear and intimidation. Witnessing the shift has been profound and she loves riding even more than she already did.
I came to Jim as more of a beginner and am feeling more confident and comfortable than I ever have in the saddle.
Jim's gentle and skillful way of teaching creates an environment in the arena where horse and rider feel safe and in the hands of a wise, experienced teacher and worthy leader. I highly recommend Jim for riders of all levels and also for those who want to understand or bond more deeply with their own horse. He is truly a gem!"
~ Cindy Conner Edwards
"I have been working with Jim for about 7 months now. I am brand new to horses and a rather timid rider. Working with Jim has increased my confidence as a horsewoman, rider and person. He is extremely knowledgeable, compassionate and patient! I have learned so much about the way the horse's mind works. He is helping me to strengthen my relationship with my mare and establish a mutual trust. There was a time when I wasn't able to do anything with my horse without Jim around. Now I am able to groom her, tack her up, go through my groundwork, mount up, and ride ALL BY MYSELF! One of the most important things that Jim has taught me is that learning to be a horsewoman is a journey; there will be ups and downs...but if you put your heart and soul into it, you will develop a bond with your horse that lasts forever. I still have a LOT to learn, but I am giving myself the gift of time. I am so happy to have Jim in my life, as my instructor and new friend. If you get a chance to take a lesson with him, you won't regret it...it might even change your life."
~ Jen Manzari
"Yes, he is a wonderful teacher, kind and caring person....I highly recommended him and looking forward to getting back into routine training with him....You are the best Jim!!" ♥️
~ Kathy Kohlerman D'Antonio
"Absolutely the best. Knowledgeable, perceptive, great communicator who can analyze a myriad of challenging situations and devise creative approaches to solving them. And all of this with patience and a sense of humor."
~ Jim Corwin