Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork:
Advanced 5-Day Course

The Advanced 5-Day Course in equine massage is an advanced, practical course that is open to anyone with experience handling horses and a basic knowledge of equine anatomy, who is interested in improving relationship, communication and performance in horses. It is also the primary course for the Certification Program.

It consists of five days of practical training. This is spent almost entirely working on horses. You will learn where to look, what to look for, and how to release and clear issues that most affect performance.

This course attracts horse-people for a variety of reasons, some of which are listed here:

  • to improve professional skill as an equine therapist
  • to improve results as an equine competitor
  • to increase personal knowledge
  • to become a better all-around horse-person
  • for a better understanding of the horse
  • a sense of accomplishment

During this course you will perfect your understanding of the principles of release of tension in the horse, your ability to recognize and use responses of the horse to your touch to get that release, and your ability to enable the horse to participate in the process of releasing tension.

The advanced techniques taught in this course are those used successfully by Jim Masterson on FEI Nation’s Cup, Pan American, World Championships and World Equestrian Games equine competitors to improve performance.

You will also learn evaluation techniques that will help you identify bio-mechanical patterns in the horse associated with possible Primary Issues, and resulting Secondary Issues.

Course size is limited to ensure one-on-one instruction.

Course Prerequisites:

First Prerequisite – Beyond Horse Massage 2-Day Seminar-Workshop

You must have taken the Weekend Seminar-Workshop before attending the Advanced 5-Day Course.

We encourage you to space out the time between the Weekend Seminar-Workshop and the Advanced 5-Day Course. This will enable you to go home and “soak in” what you have learned. That said, we understand that life gets in the way so you are welcome to come to a weekend and stay for the Advanced 5-day if both courses are contiguous.

Second Prerequisite – Home Study Course

It is a prerequisite to complete the Beyond Horse Massage Online Home Study Course prior to attending the Advanced 5-Day.  For those continuing on to Certification in The Masterson Method, the Home Study Course and is a good resource tool going forward.  Jim found that those whom had completed the course prior to the Advanced 5-Day came better prepared.

Third Prerequisite – Physical Fitness

The Advanced 5-Day Course also requires a certain level of physical fitness. You must be in good physical shape to meet the demands of these five days. You will be working with horses every day and often on your feet for the whole day. It is physically demanding and we want you to be aware of this and be prepared for it. To give you an idea of the physical requirements needed to successfully complete the course, what would be required would be roughly equivalent to one of the following:

  • Forty minutes of aerobic activity without the need to sit down
  • Thirty minutes of Pilates with hand weights or bands
  • One hour of serious riding (not a gentle hack out)

Fourth Prerequisite – Horse Experience

You must have enough experience with horses that you are able to safely and comfortably perform the techniques taught in the course. In addition to working safely, you should be able to:

  • work in an enclosed space such as a stall, with an unfamiliar horse
  • pick up and handle the fore and hind feet and legs of an unfamiliar horse
  • hold a leg long enough to examine the foot and leg.

Course Outline

Time Breakdown: Approximately 15 to 20% will be spent on lecture, including:

  1. The anatomy of key junctions of the body that most affect performance; the poll/atlas/axis, the neck/shoulders/withers junction, and the sacroiliac/sacro-lumbar junction and major muscles associated with that junction.
  2. The principles and mechanics of release in the muscles and connective tissues of the horse, different levels of pressure, recognizing and using the responses of the horse to touch, and how our use of pressure, movement and position causes a muscle or junction to release.
  3. Initial and final evaluations, primary issues vs. secondary issues, and pain vs. restriction in the body.

Approximately 80 to 85% will be spent practicing and perfecting techniques and advanced techniques on multiple horses with a range of issues.

Following are topics that will be covered during both the lecture and practical parts of the course:

  • Initial Evaluation
  • Advanced techniques (take out Nervous reflex, and adoptive response)
  • By-passing the survival response
  • Nervous reflex, and adoptive response
  • Working on different body types
  • Manipulation and Release
  • Important: Head Shy Horses
  • Pain and behavior
  • Pain vs. restriction
  • Relationship of primary issues to secondary issues
  • Feet, and pain in the body
  • Touchy issues like saddle fit and pain in the body
  • Other joints and junctions in which restrictions are commonly found
  • Follow ups
  • Working with owners, trainers and other equine professionals.
  • Final Evaluation – Putting it all together

 “After the Weekend Course, I was excited to be able to work on my horses and get releases.  After the Advanced 5-Day, I now feel I can perform all the techniques, recognize all the different types of releases and figure out what techniques to use to release specific restrictions.”  ~ Mary Godfry

“5 Good Reasons That You Should Attend an Advanced 5-Day:

  • It will increase your confidence in handling horses
  • You will get a better understanding of how a horse thinks
  • It will make you look at yourself as to your affect and approach
  • You will make a new friends from all over the world!
  • You will be challenged, no matter what level of experience and go home knowing that you learned something”

~ Crystal Lode: Advanced 5-Day Student

Required and Suggested Reading and Viewing for the Advanced 5-Day Course



There are numerous books on equine massage and bodywork. Any background reading on position release, myofascial release, neuromuscular, craniosacral, acupressure, bio-dynamics and muscles and movement will help. Below are some suggestions:

Books are available on our online store:

  • Whole Horse DVD series, Jim Masterson (5 DVD Series)
  • The Horse Structure and Movement, by R.H. Smythe and P.C. Goody (Good structure, joint and ligament drawings)
  • Horse Anatomy: A Pictorial Approach to Equine Structure, by Peter Goody.
  • Horse Anatomy: Equine 3-D, app for iPhone and iPads (Strongly recommended for iPhone and iPad users)
Go to the Advanced 5-Day Course Calendar

One of the Best Educational Experiences

“I have a Bachelor’s degree, two Master’s, a PhD and was a Fulbright Scholar, and this past week was one of the BEST education experiences I have had since my “academic” work began in 1992. I feel so well prepared to begin the Fieldwork and I have learned enough to recognize when I need to ask questions. Coralie, you are a great teach and you need to know that!”     ~Beth Watzke

New Level of Confidence

“I have gained a new level of confidence in my horsemanship thru this course. I feel more connected to myself and horses for having taken this class. I can’t wait to share it with others!”    ~Rita Jemeyson

The Advance 5-day was a Perfect Course for Me

“The opportunity to get really personalized, individual coaching on the techniques is unlike any course I’ve had. The course offers a really appropriate balance of lecture and practical application. Jim and his team have a wonderfully encouraging coaching approach that facilitates learning, confidence and skill. Throughout the 5-Day each one of us had the experience of getting the “feel” of what certain techniques are designed to release.”     ~Nikki Kagan

I Love this 5-day Course!

“You always walk away rewarded. no greater feeling then to know you were able to help without force. To know that the slightest/lightest touch can make a world of difference.”  ~ Stacey Col

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