Basic Guide

This is the foundation and stepping stone to your professional guide career. The Basic Program provides the knowledge and experience for an outdoor enthusiast to lead and coordinate guiding and outfitting adventures. The basic program is conducted over a two week period clocking 120 hours of instruction and exercises. This is a prerequisite course for the advanced COAGS courses. Below are the topics of instruction and time allocated for each.

Basic Guide Curriculum

Introduction – 10 hours
School Standards
Outdoor Recreation Opportunities
Qualifications and Skills Needed


Basic Horsemanship – 30 hours
Introductory Riding Lessons
Saddles and Equipment
Horse and Mule Behavior
Horse Care and Common Health Problems
Trailer Loading and Transportation
Repair of Tack/Equipment


Leadership Development – 10 hours
Based on the concepts of Dale Carnegie’s How to win Friends and Influence People


Standard First Aid and CPR Certification – 10 hours


Orienteering – 20 hours
Using a Compass
Using a GPS (Global Positioning System)
Maps (Topos, US Forest Service, BLM)
Day/Night Navigation


Wilderness Survival – 10 hours
Safety and Prevention
Emergency Procedures
Emergency Shelters and Fire Starting


Outdoor Recreation – 30 hours
Hiking and Backpacking
Biking and Mountain Biking
Trail Rides and Pack Trips
Outdoor Photography
Camping and Tent Construction


Outdoor and Camp Cooking – 10 hours
Cooking on Camp Fires
Dutch Oven Cooking
Cooking on Wood Burning Stoves
Menus (Nutrition and Diet)
Safe Food Storage


Conservation – 8 hours
Organizations and Funding
Animal Activist
National Forest Service use and regulations
“Leave No Trace” Techniques