Many people start with the Beyond Horse Massage book, video, and/or wall chart, which can all be found in the Store. Jim covers the foundational principles and techniques in this series. Try out some of the techniques in the series with your horse or a friend’s horse, and if you’re hooked (like us) or want to know more, look for a course near you from the Courses page.
We have created a variety of introductory courses to meet the needs of students with various interests:
Beyond Horse Massage Weekend Course teaches the foundational techniques described in the Beyond Horse Massage book and video, and is the prerequisite course for students who wish to go on to the Advanced 5-Day Course. Students must be comfortable picking up front and hind feet (for the scapula releases and hind leg releases).
Prerequisite: Read or watch the Beyond Horse Massage book or video
Light to the Core Course teaches “light touch” and “subtle movement” techniques with an emphasis on subtle and gentle techniques and staying under the bracing response of the horse. This course does not involve picking up the horse’s legs. Light to the Core is beneficial for those new to equine bodywork and the most experienced practitioners of The Masterson Method.
Prerequisite: Watch the Light to the Core video
Masterson Method Equine Specialist Course is designed specifically for those working or volunteering in equine-assisted services (EAS) programs, and teaches both a selection of techniques they can use with EAS horses and a framework for facilitating an experience with program participants.
Prerequisites: Read or watch the Beyond Horse Massage book or video, and have at least 2 years experience safely handling horses
The cost is listed on the specific page for each course, and varies depending on the type of course and the location (country). All course costs are listed in USD (US Dollars). Start by going to Courses page, choosing the type of course you’re interested in, and then choosing a specific course date and location.
Yes! You do not need to own a horse to attend our courses. However, some courses have specific prerequisites that require horse experience (see more above). If you do not yet satisfy the horse experience requirements, you are encouraged to work with a trainer to gain experience with horses.
No, in fact it’s best to learn on other people’s horses first! Facilities are chosen that have the appropriate number of horses for the class size. This way, you will gain experience with a variety of horses, and you’ll be able to take the Masterson Method tools home with you to help your own horse!
Yes, is it essential to your learning that you are present all days of the course to receive hands-on instruction with Masterson Method techniques. When selecting a course to attend, please select dates where you are able to attend all days. If something comes up that prevents you from attending all course days after registering, please contact our office at (641) 472-1312 or by email at .
Yes, the Home Study Course is a supplemental course that helps students practice and improve their skills. The Beyond Horse Massage Home Study Course AND the Beyond Horse Massage Weekend Course are prerequisites to attend the Advanced 5-Day Course.
Yes! Each course has slightly different hosting requirements, and you can apply to host online (see links below).
Note that there are no public hosting options for the Advanced 5-Day Course.
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
- attend a Beyond Horse Massage Weekend Seminar Workshop,
- complete the Beyond Horse Massage Home Study Course,
- be physically fit,
- have horse experience, and
- have basic knowledge of equine anatomy (learned from the Beyond Horse Massage book).
For more information on the requirements, please go to the Advanced 5-Day Course page
Our courses are interactive, hands-on instructional courses. Our instructors work with each student to ensure they understand and are able to learn each technique.
All students are required to attend the Beyond Horse Massage Weekend Seminar Workshop because they need to have a firm understanding of the foundational techniques of The Masterson Method before attending the Advanced 5-Day course.
In order to become certified in The Masterson Method students must have:
- Completed all of the training requirements of the program listed below
- Demonstrate proficiency in all of the techniques taught in the program
- Have taken the anatomy portion of our course or have equivalent experience.
Certification Program Phases
- Complete Phase 1 Courses by attending the Beyond Horse Massage Weekend Seminar Workshop and the Advanced 5-Day Course
- Complete Phase 2 by completing an approved Equine Anatomy Course and the Field Work Course
- Complete Phase 3 by attending the Certification Completion Course
For more information, please visit our Certification page.
There are three steps to gaining certification:
- Attend the 3-day Masterson Method Equine Specialist Seminar.
- Complete fieldwork, which involves practicing the bladder meridian technique with a variety of horses, practicing facilitating someone else doing the bladder meridian on a horse, sharing reflections on these sessions in writing to a mentor, and receiving feedback.
- Pass the online exam to demonstrate knowledge and competence.
Yes, in order to attend the 3-day Masterson Method Equine Specialist Seminar you need:
- At least 2 years of experience safely handling horses on the ground. Horse handling experience is critical to help ensure that you are experienced in reading horses’ responses and anticipating their behaviors.
- To read the Beyond Horse Massage Book to be familiar with the basic principles and techniques of The Masterson Method.
Although it is not required, it is recommended that students attending have at least 2 years of experience working as a volunteer or professional in an equine-assisted service setting.
It typically takes from 2-6 months to complete the Equine Specialist fieldwork. Students will:
- Practice the Bladder Meridian Technique with 7-9 horses, and report on any challenges they experienced, what they learned, and if/how this horse would work in a facilitated bodywork session.
- Review written feedback from their mentor to incorporate into subsequent practice sessions.
- Practice teaching or facilitating a person unfamiliar with The Masterson Method in how to do the Bladder Meridian Technique, and provide a write-up reflecting on that experience.
- Complete a final exam to assess their knowledge of The Masterson Method and its use in equine-assisted service programs and their overall readiness for certification.
- The responsibilities of a Masterson Method Equine Specialist are varied, including basic competence in the Masterson Method and the ability to show a variety of equine-assisted service program populations how to do the Bladder Meridian Technique in a safe, structured setting. This includes acute peripheral perspective, insight and sensitivity to challenges for participants, and ability to step back from interactions between horse and participant while keeping the experience safe for both. They must be flexible and competent in multi-tasking during a Masterson Method session.
- Horses working in equine-assisted service programs can have unexpected responses that the trained eye can foresee and intervene for optimal safety, while providing the utmost care and sensitivity to the participant’s wellbeing.
- Participants may also have unexpected responses, and the Masterson Method Equine Specialist is only trained to facilitate the experience of providing equine bodywork. Therefore, MM Equine Specialist must either partner with an equine-assisted service program “people professional” (instructor, therapist, or coach) or be dually-qualified to appropriately respond to the needs of participants in order to provide a safe personal experience for participants.
- The Masterson Method Equine Specialist is primarily responsible for safety around horses, while the instructor, therapist, or coach tends to the participant(s). In the case of a Masterson Method Equine Specialist having dual roles as both bodywork facilitator and people professional, a horse handler should be present to manage the horse in the event any issues arise for the participant(s).
Equine-assisted service professionals serve a vital role in the facilitated bodywork session. They can—
- Help the participant not take any issues that arise for the horse (e.g., a horse being excused from the session due to safety issues) as a personal failure/fault.
- Help to encourage and accommodate participants who are fearful of horses.
- Use their training to take precautions with and respond to any issues that could be triggered by the bodywork experience.
- Help bring awareness to participants who are uncomfortable with hands-on assistance.
- Appropriately reflect upon and/or process the experience with the participant after the bodywork session.
In most MMES Seminars, when the host helps promote the seminar to fill the course with a minimum of 7 paid registrants by 35 days prior to the start date, the host earns a free spot in the seminar. For more information, please go to our Hosting Information page.