Our mentorship programs are endorsed by Chris Irwin/Irwin Insights
Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship offers mentorship programs for those who would like to completely immerse themselves into an evolutionary type of natural horsemanship (non-resistance training method – click here for more info) and intensively study the philosophy and non-resistance methodology and principles of world-renowned Canadian horse trainer, coach and clinician Chris Irwin (Irwin Insights). The mentorship program is suitable for any rider wishing to accelerate their horsemanship skills, both on the ground and in the saddle, and is an outstanding opportunity for horsemen and horsewomen who wish to become future equine professionals, but also for those who would like to improve their relationship with their own horse(s).
Each course curriculum is designed based on the individual mentee’s experience and goals, but will include various ground work exercises such as round penning, lungeing, long-lining/ground driving, in-hand work, riding lessons with horses of various training levels, as well as theory sessions on equine behaviour and psychology.
Birgit will teach you how to proactively work with horses and help you improve your body position and timing, as well as your awareness of the horse’s rhythm and bend, further enhancing communication with the horse and thus helping the horse become more confident, more willing, more responsive, more relaxed, softer and more focused.
As there are usually a variety of training horses at Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship, students also get the opportunity to watch Birgit’s training sessions with young horses and horses with “issues”, and depending on the participant’s skill level, may also work with client horses.
Specific topics such as trailer loading, how to handle behaviour problems such as biting, bucking, rearing, spooking, bolting, aggression, difficult to catch, difficult to handle feet, not standing for mounting, head shyness, difficult to bridle, etc., may also be addressed, either in theory sessions or in hands-on sessions.
A big focus will be on teaching the student how to properly diagnose the cause of the issue and the knowledge and skill required to address cause rather than symptom by giving the student the opportunity to practice this by working on horses with issues under Birgit’s tutelage. The student will be able to take this powerful ability to diagnose a wide range of problems with him/her, and allow him/her to continue to improve after the student leaves Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship.
Correctly diagnosing the issue and dealing with the cause rather than the symptom is what sets the method of Irwin Insights apart from other horsemanship methods.
Mentees receive two lessons (ground work and/or riding) per day (either private or in small groups of two or three students) and are encouraged to audit any training sessions and riding lessons for the rest of the day.
This is a unique program for students who not only want to improve their horsemanship skills on the ground and in the saddle and learn more about this evolutionary type of natural horsemanship method (also called non-resistance training method), equine body language, equine psychology, and biomechanics, but also for those looking to achieve certification in the Chris Irwin non-resistance training methodology from Irwin Insights and for those who strive to become equine professionals.
The mentorship program is different from our working student programs in that the mentee isn’t involved in the day-to-day operations of the ranch (e.g. no chores to do) and can therefore fully immerse himself/herself into studying.
Mentees may stay on as working students at Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanships and further develop their horsemanship skills after completion of a minimum of a two-week mentorship at Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanships. A working student position is however NOT guaranteed upon completion of the mentorship at Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship and depends on availability of working student positions and skill level of the applicant.
Access to study material
Mentees will have access to Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship’s extensive library consisting of training videos, DVDs, books and articles for studying purposes.
Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship provides all the horses for the mentorship program. You may be working not only with Falling Star Ranch horses but also with client horses, depending on your skill level. Our horses are not the usual type of lesson or dude horses. They are well trained and responsive, and are ridden by experienced riders on a regular basis. Through careful training, the horses are allowed to keep their own personalities and stay sensitive and responsive, giving you immediate feedback, instead of being shut-down and dull and just putting up with whatever the rider/handler asks them to do. Birgit believes strongly that every horse is an individual and that the secret to unlocking its full potential is reached by putting the needs of the horse ahead of the handler/rider in every context. By doing so she has many times produced amazing changes in horses and as a result in their humans too.
Our horses are all kept in groups outdoors year-round, and through their natural keeping they are very alert and sensitive. They are wonderful teachers!
Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship’s facilities include a beautiful 60′ x 120′ indoor riding arena (built in 2013), a 65′ x 140′ outdoor riding arena with a breath-taking view of the Rockies and Cariboo Mountains, as well as a 50′ outdoor round pen. Click here for more info on Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship’s facilities. We love to ride outside, but if the weather is inclement, or the sun is beating down on the sand in the outdoor arena, or the bugs are bad, we always have the option of riding indoors.
Sessions run from 9 a.m. to approximately 5 p.m. weekdays (with an hour for lunch). Please note: times are subject to change. We are on horse time after all!
Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship’s mentorship programs are of various length, from one week to several months (beginning of April to end of October). Please contact us for openings.
Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship’s mentorship programs are suitable for any level of rider, and have been developed so that every program participant can learn and progress at his/her own speed.
Participants must be at least 16 years old in order to participate in the mentorship program. We accept a maximum of three mentees at any given time to maximize the amount of individual attention and instruction that each student receives.
Come join us for this incredible educational opportunity of learning new horsemanship skills and non-resistance training methods taught by a top Irwin Insights trainer in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere in a beautiful environment.
Participation in a mentorship program at Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship does not guarantee that the student will receive certification from Chris Irwin (Irwin Insights) and depends on the skill level of the mentee.
Evaluation for skills certificates is available via video at no extra charge for students working towards Irwin Insights Certification.
Certification clinics with Chris Irwin take place in Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario), United States, Belgium and in the Netherlands. Chris Irwin’s clinic schedule is available at www.chrisirwin.com at the beginning of each calendar year.
Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship usually hosts one or two certification clinics with Chris Irwin per year as well.
Please contact us for registration form and fees.
Accommodation is not included in the mentorship program. Mentees may bring a camper or tent and stay directly on the property of Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship (depending on space). Please be aware that there are no public washrooms (except an outhouse) and no public showers available at Falling Star Ranch. Limited hook-ups for power are available at $25 per day. Please bring your own drinking water as we have to haul our drinking water. You are welcome to use our firepit or barbecue to cook your supper. Wireless internet and cell phone reception is available at Falling Star Ranch. The closest payphone is located 10 km from the ranch at the Dunster General Store.
There is also a simple campground (no hook-ups) minutes from the ranch along the beautiful Fraser River. Simple campsites (no hook-ups) are also available at the Dunster school (availability of showers and Wifi, and next-door to the Dunster general store).
There are also several hotels, motels, cabins and bed and breakfasts in nearby Dunster, McBride and Tete Jaune (click here for recommendations or send us an email – some of them offer special rates for our students!
Mentees may rent one of the guest rooms in the main house (shared bathroom) if available. Please inquire for availability and cost.
Transportation to Falling Star Ranch Academy of Foundational Horsemanship from accommodations in Dunster and McBride may be arranged. We also have bikes available for rent.
Meals are not included in the mentorship program. Mentees are responsible for all their own meals and refreshments. Bottled water, juice boxes, cookies, muffins, fruit and popsicles are available for purchase at the ranch.