Hello from Jim
Time to fill you in on the latest news. Sitting in an airport (again??) making my way to Wellington, FL for an Advanced 5-Day Course in the sun, and a Certification Completion Course, also in the sun. Next time I write I’ll be able to introduce you to a new group of Certified Practitioners.
While in Wellington I’ll be catching up with my ole’ pard, Bill Stanton of Bill Stanton Integrated Equine Bodywork. Well, he’s not that old, but Bill gave me the opportunity to spend over eight years working on some of the finest competition show jumpers and hunters in the world. So, he is a pard.
I’ll also get to spend time with our Masterson Method Instructor, Marie Riley, who has been working with Bill on the show circuit for the past four years. She’ll be helping me teach the Advanced Course, along with Instructor Lise Lunde, and Certified Practitioners; Mary Last, Wendy Shaffer, Beverly Jaramillo, and Lee Barnes, who organized the course. One day of the Advanced 5-Day course we’ll be working on Polo ponies belonging to my buddy Adriane Wade, a professional 5-goal polo player from the UK. He has one of the highest handicaps currently held by a British player!
Back at the Ranch – MMET
Meanwhile back at the ranch, our Masterson Method® Equine Therapy Specialist Program, has finally come together. After tons (yes, tons!) of research, planning, and course testing we have a curriculum and program in place to certify qualified applicants to work as Masterson Method® Equine Therapy Specialists. Their jobs will be to facilitate the interaction between the EFT/EFL client, horse and mental health therapist when applying basic Masterson Method® techniques in the Equine Facilitated Therapy and Learning field. I’m not an expert in this field by any measure, but I’m very fortunate to have a team of very passionate and dedicated individuals who came to me with this idea, who have put the program together and are moving it forward.
From the MMET program description: “There are human benefits in practicing the Masterson Method®, as well as benefits to the horse: by learning to read and follow the horse’s responses to touch, those embarking on the practice may improve their connection with the horse, create a trusting bond, develop greater self-awareness, and even deepen their quiet and mindful presence.
The use of the Masterson Method® has expanded to equine-facilitated therapy and learning settings to actively benefit clients as well as horses. We have observed clients – including but not limited to veterans, people with eating disorders, at-risk youth, and people recovering from addiction – who practiced the Masterson Method® in a safe and structured setting become more relaxed, focused, and connected in their interaction with their horse.”
MMET Instructor Lise Lunde, program coordinator Megan Dushin and Sara Sherman presented our program successfully at the PATH Region 6 Conference in Minnesota this month, which prompted us to apply to present at the upcoming national PATH conference. Read her reflections below.
It’s our intention to reach out to all organizations interested in using the Masterson Method® in the EFT setting, as a way to give back to the horses engaged in this work while at the same time giving the human participant the value of this special interaction.
Go to our new Masterson Method® Equine Therapy Specialist Program website here if you’re interested in becoming involved: https://mastersonmethodequinetherapy.com/
MM and FB
If you’re a Facebook person you may have noticed this mystery person Kait Uehling putting posts on our Masterson Method Facebook page. She’s not really a mysterious person. Kait is on our team and does an amazing job of coming up with fun, inspiring and educational MM stuff to share on FB and Twitter. This may be because she is fun, inspiring and educational herself… and maybe a little mysterious. On “Funny Monday” she finds things that are, well, uh… kind of funny. “Why Wednesday” answers the question, um… Why? On “Educational Friday” she either researches, or makes me write stuff that could be called “educational”. And don’t worry, whatever she posts on the USA Facebook site, goes on the Masterson Method Australia and the UK Facebook pages too! If you live in Europe, or Australia, we post all the course calendar listings in your area, giving you a quick and easy way to keep up.
This last couple of weeks especially we’ve posted some video clips of students working on horses and doing some impressive stuff. Even I’m impressed, and I’ve seen everything. Well, maybe not everything. If you go to our Facebook page and scroll down to March 3rd you’ll see a series of three videos of a student getting some amazing releases on a horse, that may even impress you! Just wanted to alert you to the fact that Kait’s our social media mystery person, and that there’s some pretty good stuff coming up on the Masterson Method Facebook page these days.
Zuckerberg, look out!
Horse Expos (and Home Shows?)
Back in the horse expo world, we’ve scheduled quite a few Horse Expos this year, with live demos done both by me and by other Masterson Method Certified Practitioners (MMCP) around the country. We even had one of our MMCPs do a demonstration of MM at a local Home Expo here in Iowa. To create a larger audience, the organizers of the Home Expo had scheduled a well-known local horse trainer to do a demonstration. Our MMCP knew the trainer, and asked the organizers if they would like her to do a demo as well. They liked the idea. Martha Becker, MMCP, said she was surprised how many horse people were among the home products shoppers, and how many of them attended the demo! Who woulda’ known! Cool idea, for other MMCPs out there!
Where else we’ll be this year: Let’s see, we did the Western States Horse Expo in Pomona, California this winter and have been invited to the Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento in June. We will also be at the Minnesota Horse Fair, and, well, check out the links to all the Expos we have set up so far below.
We’re also planning on being at the Mane Event in B.C. Canada in October. I’ll be doing demos and meeting people at all of these Expos and would love to meet anyone I haven’t met, and even some of those I have. If you’re in any of the areas where we will be, come on down.
Making Sure Your Saddles Fit!
We can help our horses release tension and be comfortable, but if we don’t take care of what’s causing the tension and discomfort in the first place then it’ll keep coming back. MM is about listening to what the horse is telling us. Those of you who do this may have noticed that a lot of the time the horse is telling us that he has a sore back. The back can be sore for a lot of reasons besides saddle fit, but there’s no denying that a lot of saddles are matching up to a lot of sore backs.
I have an amazing saddle-fitting resource in Mike Scott, and I’ll be visiting with Jochen Schleese who developed the Saddle Fit 4 Life training program, at the Western States Horse Expo this June. We’ve planned to spend a day together after the expo comparing notes. Looking forward to that. I’ll let you know what I find out.
Horse Articles and Jec Ballou
Horse Trainer and writer, Jec Ballou published an article in the February issue of Dressage Today that includes some easy Masterson Method® techniques that owners can use along with exercises that can be used under saddle to augment their spring training. Jec has some very good books on training and conditioning horses, and her philosophy on riding and conditioning fits hoof-in-hoof with ours.
For barefoot proponents, we’re collaborating on an article to be published in Eclectic Horseman Magazine on helping the horse that’s transitioning to barefoot. There may also be similar articles coming out in the U.K. and Australia. Stay tuned!
On a Lighter Note… (it’s fun doing these titles!)
On Saturday I got together with the Great River Classical Horsemanship Association to do a one-day clinic on Light to the Core techniques to raise funds for their club.
We left with a bunch of happy people and sleepy horses.
Until then, like me,
Enjoy your horses!
Horse Expo Schedule
The Masterson Method® will be presented at:
Iowa Horse Expo: Des Moines, IA,
March 31st – April 2nd
(Presented by MMCP’s Theresa Burns, Martha Becker,
and Janice Kennedy-Davison)
High Desert Horse Expo: Redmond, OR
April 21st – 23rd
(Presented by Allison Wetter, MMCP)
Minnesota Horse Expo: St. Paul, MN
April 28th – 30th
(Presented by Jim Masterson)
Western States Horse Expo Sacramento, CA
Masterson Method for Therapy Horses and Clients
We’re excited to share new developments in the Masterson Method Equine Therapy Specialist arena. For those of you who recently joined us from the PATH Region 6 conference… Welcome!!
Last weekend Lise Lunde and Sara Sherman from Brainerd, MN presented on the Masterson Method and how it’s being used with therapy horses in equine-assisted activity and therapy programs. In all, over 100 people attended the talk and demo at the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) Region 6 Conference in River Falls, Wisconsin (they cleaned us out of handouts!). Two very sweet horses helped us demonstrate the bladder meridian with volunteers from the audience. Participants asked great questions and left excited to try out the bladder meridian on their own horses.
Jim himself will be presenting on and demonstrating this application at the Minnesota Horse Expo in late April. We hope to see you there!
For more information on this application and upcoming trainings, please visit us at http://mastersonmethodequinetherapy.com.
The Principle of Non-Resistance in Equine Bodywork By Jim Masterson
The Masterson Method of Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork comprises of two basic categories of techniques: those that release tension in situ, and those that release tension through range of motion in a relaxed state.
Releasing tension in the muscles and restoring flexibility and range of motion to the skeleton work together. Relieving tension in the major muscles that control a joint allows the joint to operate more freely. Simply asking for movement of a limb or body part in a relaxed state can release even more tension in the muscles and soft tissue that control that area of the body.
Whether you are using a technique to release tension in situ or to restore range of motion, how you “ask” the horse is fundamental to success. By using too much pressure or moving too fast, the horse will brace – either externally or internally – against the technique. If the horse is not in a relaxed state when you ask for movement of a limb there is likely to be bracing against the movement and tension is generated.
“Ask” is the key word here. We invite the horse to release tension. We can’t make him relax a muscle. We invite him to move a limb using a technique that will ultimately release tension. We never demand the movement. This use of non-resistance puts equine bodywork squarely into the realm of possibility for the average horse owner to learn.
This doesn’t mean we don’t use pressure with this Method. We do use pressure with some techniques, but the key is to yield when the horse yields, soften when the horse softens, and for the horse to release tension when we are under the bracing response.
For example, when you ask the horse to bend his nose toward you and he resists because the muscles of the poll and neck are tight, your first impulse is to pull harder and make him bend towards you. If you react to the resistance in the horse by doing more or harder, the horse will continue to resist, tense or brace. He may bring his head towards you, but he is still, to some degree, resisting, tensing or bracing. You cannot force a horse to relax. Only the horse can relax himself.
The Masterson Method teaches that when the horse resists, soften your hand(s) slightly. When the horse feels you stop pulling, he will stop pulling (let go), and you can continue the movement. When you give the horse nothing to resist, he will stop resisting, and you can immediately continue on with your move. You must train yourself to: feel the brace, immediately soften (which means stop asking for the technique), and wait until you feel the horse relax, and finally, continue on and ask for more movement.
If the horse is resisting because there is an injury or excessive pain in an area while doing any techniques that ask for movement, he will continue resisting in order to protect the area. In any case, whenever you meet resistance, soften. In this way you run little risk of aggravating a hidden injury.
Try this: When you pick up the horse’s foot and he pulls away, your first instinctive reaction may be to pull back. If you brace against him or keep pulling it causes him to continue to pull away. However, if you yield or ‘go with him’ just slightly, and you do it properly, he will almost always relax. This doesn’t mean you let go, only soften-or yield-to the resistance. Then, immediately ask him to continue with the movement. This takes practice, as it is counter-intuitive. It requires conscious control of yourself and often split-second timing in response to the horse’s behavior. But when you get it, you’ll be amazed at the results.
By “staying under the radar” the techniques of the Masterson Method are performed in such a way that the horse doesn’t brace against them. This requires feel and skill that may take practice to perfect, but if you begin with the basics you will get results immediately.
For a video of Jim teaching a hind end technique and using “ask” click here; https://youtu.be/Ewofj4uQtXw
Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) Region 6 Annual Conference Presentation of The Masterson Method Equine Therapy Specialist Program, by Lise Lunde, Instructor (written by Lise Lunde)
The Masterson Method Equine Therapy Specialist (MMETS) training is a program that grew out of the intention of bringing some of the basic techniques of Masterson Method to Equine Assisted Activities and Therapy (EAAT) programs. Clients in the program learn some basic Masterson Method techniques which they share with the horse with the intention of giving a gift to the horse. The horse benefits from receiving Masterson Method bodywork and often the client also benefits from the interaction.
We were recently invited to present an overview of the MMETS program and training and demonstrate how it works at the PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Region 6 annual conference in River Falls Wisconsin. The classroom overview and arena demonstration were presented by Lise Lunde, MMCP and Sara Sherman, TBAH Equine Gestalt Coach, who have been partnering together at DIscovery Horse with some of Sara’s clients. Megan Dushin, who has been coordinating much of the MMETS program development was also involved with the presentation.
There were approximately 50 attendees to the classroom presentation in the morning and 100 attendees at the arena demonstration at University of Wisconsin Equine Center in the afternoon. Four volunteers from the audience were easily recruited to assist with the demonstration of the bladder meridian with two wonderful equine volunteers – Kelly and Leonard. Lise and Sara worked together to coach the session and answer questions from the group as the horses and volunteers interacted using the bladder meridian.
During the weekend many attendees expressed interest in learning more about the Masterson Method and MMETS with the goal of helping the horses that they work with and the clients that they serve. The initial MMETS training program is currently scheduled in Texas this summer and we hope to see some PATH Region 6 attendees join us.
Take a look at the Calendar at the bottom of this newsletter for the MMETS training in Texas in July.
The Masterson Minute
In this Masterson Minute, well, a little bit more then a minute…….Using the Masterson Method techniques to release tension neck and shoulders and positioning the horse to allow the horse to relax in a “Horse Yoga” position.
You can subscribe and see videos as they become live at the Masterson Method, You Tube Channel: The Masterson Method You Tube Channel.
Testimony by Jodie Brenner
My Mustang mare I adopted in September from one of the Prison (WHIP) Wild Horse Inmate Programs began to have some stifle issues recently. One day when our chiropractor was here working with her, I did a bit of what I learned from the Beyond Horse Massage, DVD and to say it was a profound and powerful experience for all of us would be an understatement. I practice Animal Reiki and see the difference it makes, but this was amazing!
We watched her go into a very deep place of healing and process. Most likely she has a LOT of trauma from her capture and her young life. To see her fully trust us, to be in a space with her as she began her own healing still brings tears of how powerful and healing this can be.
Our chiropractor was amazed and grateful to be a part of this.
I feel this is only the beginning and know she has led me to study this, so I can help her and others like her.
Thanks you so much-I had to share how it is already making a difference.
Horses In the Morning Radio Interview with Jim Masterson
- The HORSES IN THE MORNING Crew: Glenn the Geek: co-host, executive in charge of comic relief, Jamie Jennings: co-host, director of wacky equestrian adventures, Coach Jenn: producer, Chaos Control Officer.
- Guest co-host: Lisa Wysocky
- Title Sponsor HorseLoverz.com
- Photo source The Masterson Method
- Guest: Patrick Kayser, Southern Equine Expo
- Guest: Jim Masterson, The Masterson Method
- ND Flax Milling Health Report Guest: Dr. Cubitt, Performance Horse Nutrition
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