William Kriegel is living his dream. The skilled and successful energy entrepreneur has realized his passions for horsemanship, equine education, and ranching in La Cense Montana. This horse training and Black Angus cow/calf operation provides the growing world of recreational riders exceptional AQHA Registered Quarter Horses trained using natural horsemanship methods. Kriegel’s mission is simple—raise and train horses in their natural environment and offer recreational riders well-started, quality horses.
Kriegel’s lifelong interest in horses, especially in the American Quarter horse, led him to create Haras de la Cense in his native France in 1985. Located just outside of Paris, Haras de la Cense is one of the largest importers of registered quarter horses in France, and is fast becoming a center for reining in Europe. Kriegel’s French facility, as well as La Cense Montana, offers clinics and resident programs for students with a focus on becoming professional horse trainers. Students involved in the horse program in France are also required to study and work at La Cense Montana in order to complete their horsemanship education.
La Cense Montana sits on 88,000 acres near Dillon in the southwestern part of the Big Sky State. Montana horseman and clinician Jeff Griffith is responsible for all aspects of La Cense’s horse education and training program. Griffith has spent his entire life with horses, and is known nationally as a skilled instructor and trainer. He’s worked with the likes of Joe Stiles at the King Ranch, and with some of the country’s best horsemen including Buck Brannaman, Barney Hinds, Cliff Kelmer, Tooter Waites, and Leon Harrel. Griffith’s methods allows recreational horse lovers of all levels to experience a true partnership can be between horse and rider. Natural horsemanship education at La Cense is a two year process that takes a respectful approach. Under Jeff ’s guidance, La Cense trainers gradually build trust in the horses to perform as they’re asked using positive reinforcement.
For riders coming to La Cense, the Colt Starting and Foundation Training allows them an opportunity to work with un-started two-year old horses; helping them from halter to ground work to first rides in the arena, and then in pastures. Horsemanship Clinics at the ranch are offered throughout the year, as well as opportunities to work with visiting clinicians. La Cense is affiliated with the University of Montana- Western in Dillon, and participates in the University’s Natural Horsemanship and Equine Studies programs, as well as both the equestrian and rodeo teams.
La Cense Montana has a long history. The Lewis and Clark expedition explored the area in 1805, and the ranch was established in 1869. La Cense is one of the earliest and largest cattle ranches in Montana, and is located just east of the Continental Divide at the hub of four primary ecological systems that support a wide variety of wildlife.
To learn more about La Cense Montana, its horses, its beef, its programs, or to plan a visit, go to www.lacensemontana.com.