Scottsdale Community College is becoming an equine heartland for horse lovers across the United States — and the world.
Interest is expected to pick up to a full gallop Thursday when a new computer-based training course called the Horse Sense Success Series starts at SCC.
The noncredit course will offer everything from how to ride and what to feed a horse to how to massage the animal, said Don Blazer, 64, a veteran author and horse trainer from Scottsdale, who is the creator of the course.
"This online course is the only one of its kind in the world," said Blazer, who has written seven books about horses.
Blazer and several other equine experts, including two others from the East Valley — Sue Davis of Tempe, an equine massage therapist, and Jack Sales, a Scottsdale veterinarian — will teach the online course.
SCC students will pay between $75 and $200 for individual courses but will not receive class credit. They will be given noncredit certificates that can be added to their resumes, said Blazer, who has taught at two California colleges and lectured at dozens of other equine learning centers.
"Scottsdale is among the most popular cities in the nation for horse lovers," Blazer said. "The course will try to fill an educational gap that has long existed in the equine world."
Blazer said that in Arizona and in most other Southwestern states, only trainers of race horses are required to obtain state licenses, which requires passing qualification tests. All others, including trainers of performance horses, horse dealers and even people who sell horse equipment such as bridles and bits, need no licenses.
"Unfortunately, many people who deal with horses don’t have knowledge of horses," Blazer said.
More than 20 years ago, Blazer, then a teacher at the University of California, introduced the first correspondence course for students who wanted to learn how to train horses for performances and horse shows.
"Like our new computer program, it was a first mailorder course and we got responses from people in the United States as well as from Brazil, Italy, England and Canada," Blazer said.
Blazer said the computer program will offer 11 different online courses, including 10 electronic lessons and three elective courses taught at the SCC campus at 9000 E. Chaparral Road.
"Until the Internet, it was virtually impossible to bring experts from around the nation to a single college and give one-on-one help to every student," said Zhara Dean, director of continuing education at SCC.
"Now we can do it. We’ve taught equine courses for a long time, but this new program expands the information and will reach more people," Dean said. "It’s a wonderful concept but, I must admit, at first I was a bit skeptical."
Among the online topics available are the proper use of bits, shoeing, equine health and diseases, legal aspects of horse management, color genetics, behavior modification, training horses and how to make money with horses.
How to register
Students wanting to register for the Horse Sense Success Series at Scottsdale Community College starting Thursday must call SCC at (480) 423-6321. No online registration is available. Information about the course can be found at www.horsecoursesonline.com or at www.donblazer.com.