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Hugh Blue gets his Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning Certification

By March 16, 2015April 19th, 2020Volunteers

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A student sits atop their horse attentively listening to this tall man with a giant smile on his face and wearing cowboy hat. The tall man looks his student straight in the eyes and then something magical happens.

The student smiles back and you can see their whole demeanor relax. This is the magic of Hugh Blue, one of our incredible instructors who gives above and beyond what most would consider their limit. Hugh just completed his ESMHL, or Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning Certification, but you’d never know it by his humble presence. We caught him silently tucking his certificate away where he hoped no one would see it.
The ESMHL is not training for just anyone. It requires someone with great horsemanship and equine therapy experience. After a 3 day intensive training at Horses Help!, in Arizona, Hugh then had to complete a horseman skills test. Hugh will now be able to facilitate and support the horsemanship piece of Equine Facilitated Learning and Psychotherapy with a specialist.

Hugh grew up ranching and riding horses his whole life. He started volunteering with Swiftsure Ranch in 1999 and is now a part time instructor, volunteering his time with our riders. Hugh has been a loyal and gracious contributor to this organization for 16 years. We are extremely grateful to have this gentle giant as part of our Swiftsure Ranch family.

If you are interested in becoming an equine instructor and/or volunteer, please contact us! We’d love to share this incredible experience with you and would appreciate your passion and support!  Lacey Heward, PR Coordinator 208-578-9111, or email