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#2 The Masterson Method - How Horses start to Relieve Tension on their Own

Jim Masterson is known as the founder of the Masterson Method. As a Horse-Massage-Therapist, he spent some years with the US National team on tour. During this time, he learned a lot about the neurological reactions horses have shown to certain touches. He also figured out that horses begin to relieve tension on their own if we humans interpret their reactions correctly and follow them.

He was one of the first to develop an animal-centric approach instead of just using a human-centric method. As many people want to learn his method, he began to travel around the world and still is, to give seminars and to show people how his method works.

In this podcast episode, he gives an insight into his life and describes how the Masterson Method exactly works.

Podcast Transcript

This transcript was created by an AI and has not been proofread.

This transcript was created by AI and has not been proofread

[SPEAKER 1]Hi everyone, this is the Equestrian Experience from wehorse, the online riding academy. My name is Christian Kroeber and welcome to this episode. We’re going to talk about everyone’s dream, a calm, supple and relaxed horse. One of the ways to get there is the Masterson Method, a technique that literally conquered the world in the past years and is these days highly popular on both sides of the Atlantic. Today I talked to the founder Jim Masterson, originally from Fairfield, Iowa, about how to apply it and why his method can help every horse. Let’s go! I’m very pleased to have an expert in our wehorse podcast today, which we are very happy about to meet here in continental Europe. Welcome, Jim Masterson.

[SPEAKER 2]I’m happy to be here.

[SPEAKER 1]Welcome to the WHEHAUS podcast. We’re going to talk about you, going to talk about your methods and the way you do stuff, the Masterson method. Many people know it that watch the WeHorse videos for instance, know your books about the masters and method. What precisely is your method?

[SPEAKER 2]So it’s a method of equine bodywork that we teach horse owners and therapists. to release tension in their horses. The thing about the Masterson Method that’s different is that we read, we pay close attention to subtle changes in the horse’s behavior while we’re working on the horse. So I call them responses. So if we’re, for example, running our hand down an area of the horse and we’re watching the horse’s eye and the horse blinks, then he’s telling us something is under our hand. That’s an example of one of the responses we look for in the horse. There are lots of them. There are subtle responses like the eye might blink or lips might twitch. The horse’s breathing might change. He might shift his weight from leg to leg. So if these behaviors correlate to something we’re doing with our hands, then they mean something. So that’s one part of this body work. The horse is telling us what’s going on when we watch what he’s doing with his body language. and he’ll tell us where there’s tension and he’ll tell us when it’s released also with changes in behavior. The other part of this body work that’s interesting and that actually makes it work is that we stay underneath the horse’s natural bracing response. Horses survive by blocking out pain in the wild. They really have no other option. If they start to get sore in the wild and they start limping immediately, then they become a target. They become the next meal. So they’re programmed to block out pain. That’s naturally. And so we, if we stay underneath, that’s the sympathetic nervous system, that’s fight or flight nervous system that blocks out pain. And so if the horse is in pain, there’s always some level of that nervous system active. If we can stay under that, get him to let go of that sympathetic response, then he’ll release tension with the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system that that regenerates and that heals. And that’s not usually active unless they’re being chased by somebody. So we use the parasympathetic nervous system to get the horse to release tension. And we do that by staying under the horse’s bracing response. So there’s paying attention to visual cues in the horse, and there’s using a level of feel that keeps the horse from bracing and guarding.

[SPEAKER 1]You’re teaching your method and the style about it for over 20 years. How did you come up with this method? Because it’s, as you said, a very complex system with different parts and pieces that all come together for the good of the horse. How did you come up with your concept? I googled it.

[SPEAKER 2]No, I didn’t google it. I was grooming show jumpers and I watched other therapists working on the horses.

[SPEAKER 1]Show jumpers in the States?

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, in the States, on the show circuit, horse show circuit, like in Wellington and, you know, going, following the horse show circuit. I worked for a show jumping barn and I

[SPEAKER 1]Especially in Florida and the neighboring states, there are plenty of horseshows in Wellington, Ocala and Tampa.

[SPEAKER 2]So in the winter, all of the horseshows are there. And then as the weather warms up, they start to move up the coast up to New York and Kentucky. But I would notice therapists working on horses, massage therapists or acupressure therapists or cranial sacral, whatever. And while they were working on the horses, I noticed these subtle changes in the horse’s behavior, you know, such as the eyes blinking, you know, or the lips twitching or the breathing changing. And so the therapist, they probably noticed that too, but they were trained to do something else than follow that. So they would massage or do whatever they were trained to do. But I wasn’t trained to do anything. So I was intrigued by the horse’s behavior. So I started experimenting with it. And I found that, for example, if you run your hand lightly down the top line of the horse and he gives you a response like a blink or any change, If you’re not sure that’s you, you go back over that spot again. If you get the same response, then it means something, right? It’s not just random. So if I wasn’t trained to massage shit or do anything, so I just waited there and did nothing. And if I just kept my his attention on that spot long enough, his head would start to drop. Then he would maybe shake his head and then start to lick and chew or sometimes start to yawn, just from keeping his attention on it, that’s all. So that’s his nervous system releasing the tension. So that was kind of the first step, you know, to see that the horse could actually release tension if you allowed it to, if you allowed the space to do that. And then there was another, an old horse chiropractor from New Zealand that lived in the States that he was really, really good. He’d been doing it for 40 years and he learned from another old horse chiropractor in New Zealand who’d been doing it for 40 years. And he used very long lever forceful techniques, which I don’t use, but he was very good at reading the horse. For example, he would do a really big adjustment on a horse and then he’d step back to see what the horse had to say. And if he got a good adjustment, the horse would start to yawn repeatedly over and over again. And so that to him, that meant he got a good adjustment. So when I was doing this first early on, I was doing this light work to see what would happen. Often when I waited and did nothing, when I got a response, the horse would lower his head and then he’d start to yawn repeatedly. So there was a connection there, right? The horse was releasing huge amounts of tension from me doing nothing. So I put those two together. But I started adding movement into the techniques and found that if you move, for example, the pole and atlas and neck through a range of motion in a relaxed state without the horse bracing, that the horse would release tension in the muscles around it.

[SPEAKER 1]Back then, were there any methods around? You mentioned that showjumpers on the circuit, you observed them actually applying methods to their horses.

[SPEAKER 2]What were those methods? They were human modalities that they were applying to horses.

[SPEAKER 1]So massage?

[SPEAKER 2]Massage, trigger point therapy, you know, Jack Maher, he was a sports therapist and he was the first one to start applying that to horses. So pressure points, trigger points, Swedish massage, acupressure, acupuncture, myofascial release. These are all human modalities that they were using on horses. But they weren’t following the horse. They weren’t observing what the horse was saying as they were doing it. They were just doing what they were trained to do. Does that make sense?

[SPEAKER 1]So it was a method that was unanimously, generally applied to the horse and not really taking into account what’s actually happening with the horse, correct? Right, yeah.

[SPEAKER 2]So that, yeah, it wasn’t taking account with what the horse was saying about it. You know, they were just doing what, you know, your massaging muscles, you do cross fiber friction or effleurage or whatever those, you know, massage techniques are that you would use on a human and a human might say ouch every once in a while, but the horse wouldn’t. The horse would just tense.

[SPEAKER 1]So. Did you look into these methods, or did you, like, in the first place, say, okay, this is not going to be my style, I have to come up with my own thing.

[SPEAKER 2]No, I didn’t want to learn those methods, because then I would be doing, I would have that method in my brain, I wouldn’t be observing the horse. But I did start adding movement methods, techniques, because, for example, the chiropractor, he would, to adjust the neck, he’d get the horse’s head around by his shoulder and get him to relax, and then he’d push the horse over into the next box, you know, and you’d hear five pops in the neck. And then he would, this old New Zealand guy, and then he would step back and he would see what the horse had to say. Well, I didn’t want to use that much force with mine, but I saw what he was doing. He was releasing tension in the vertebra of the neck. So rather than use force, I would gently wiggle my way down each vertebra of the neck. And if I came up across an area where the horse tensed, I softened. And when I softened, the horse released that tension. And then he would look and chew and yawn. And then when I went to do it again, it would be loose. So, you know, just by experimenting with the feel, I was able to get the horse to release tension with movement techniques.

[SPEAKER 1]And back then I believe there weren’t too many animal-centric methods, as you said. It was all human-centric and then applied to the animals. It was quite kind of like a fully new concept that putting the animal in the center.

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, put the animal in the center and you’re working with the horse and they’re releasing the tension rather than you doing it to the horse. So there weren’t many. And I don’t know of any, like this old horse chiropractor, he used long lever chiropractic techniques on horses because he was a horseman. So he was very good at being successful with those long lever chiropractic techniques with horses because he had a very good feel with horses. that would be an example of somebody that I would follow around and learn from him. Like, whenever he came, I would offer to hold the lead rope, I’d drive him around to the barns and just help him, you know, and he didn’t talk much, you know, didn’t share much, but he would, I learned like two or three key things that were really important from him just by watching, or he would let something slip once in a while and say something, and I would make a mental note of it. Like the importance of the pole and the atlas. That’s the most important junction in the horse. Any tension, any… In the horse’s brain? No, in the… Limbic center? In the… Between the skull and the first vertebra. The atlas is the first vertebra, so… Anything going on in the horse’s body is going to create tension in the atlas and then that tightens and that’ll tighten up and that causes the rest of body to tighten up. So the atlas is really important. All the nerves from the brain go through here.

[SPEAKER 1]So to the body.

[SPEAKER 2]So if when you get tension in the pole, it affects the whole horse or if you get, if there’s anything in the horse that creates tension in the pole, you know, anything going in the horse’s body shows up in the pole that goes both ways. So I learned the importance of that. And then the neck shoulder withers junction where the neck and the trunk join and the forelimbs is an important junction. And then the sacroiliac and sacral lumbar junction behind where the hind limbs join the body. All the force from the hind limbs transfer into the body at that junction. And if it gets torqued, I like to think of it not as alignment, misalignment. I think of it more as the tension that’s putting twist on these junctions. And that, when those twist, then the muscles around them spasm to protect it, and then you have loss of range of motion and pain in the horse. And so if you can release those junctions, all the muscles around it let go too.

[SPEAKER 1]Jim will be part of our fantastic WeHorse online festival September 12th at 10 a.m. Eastern alongside Olympic and world champion Ingrid Klimke, dressage trainer Karen Rolfe, classical dressage expert Anja Beran from Germany for presentations and QA sessions. It is all digital. You only need a device and internet connection and of course a ticket. They are limited. but for free so book yours on slash festival dash us it is forward slash festival dash us And every human can relate to that as well. When you have a naking back, the jungle nuts worked probably as well.

[SPEAKER 2]No, yeah, and sacroiliac pain in people, the muscle spasms, you feel it all the way down your leg, everything tightens up. So if you can release that tension, then…

[SPEAKER 1]Feels good.

[SPEAKER 2]And then the horse the horse, you know that there will be an improvement in movement in the horse So that’s about results, you know with this method you get it’s about seeing results afterwards in the horses movement But you see results during the work because the horse is telling you with these responses the yawning You know that it’s working or he’ll drop his head and start to wobble on his legs, you know

[SPEAKER 1]So back then you’ve been on the circuit with all these showjumpers, you had the New Zealand chiropractor who was giving you bits and pieces, some hints what to do. How did your story continue? So you’ve been on the circuit and training horses?

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, well I was grooming and hauling horses, driving them for the show barn. And then I started working on our barn’s horses. I was learning on them. And then I started working on other trainers’ horses. And then eventually I just worked on horses. I just went from show to show to show and worked on horses. But I knew people wanted to learn this early on because it’s so interactive with the horse. I don’t know if you saw the demo yesterday but you get the horse laying on your shoulder and releasing tension in his pole and horse owners want to learn it because it’s very interactive with the horse. So I started teaching seminars on weekends between the shows to horse owners. And therapists wanted to learn it, other therapists, because they saw the value of learning to read the horse. You can integrate it into other modalities. And so they wanted to learn more, so we put together a five-day advanced course, and then they wanted certification. Since I didn’t even have certification, I thought, well, this is a tricky one, but we put together a program of case studies and having mentors and coaches work with them and so that they can get good at the techniques and then they can become certified.

[SPEAKER 1]What’s your personal background? Have you been growing up with horses as well?

[SPEAKER 2]Well, when I was a kid we had our family horse and then I had my pony and then I got away from horses for a long time and then got back with them when I started grooming the show jumpers.

[SPEAKER 1]And where both of the states are you originally from? Are you also from the southern part, from Florida?

[SPEAKER 2]I’m from California.

[SPEAKER 1]California? Nice.

[SPEAKER 2]But I live in Iowa now, which is in the Midwest. But most of my work is travel, on the road.

[SPEAKER 1]Your patients or your clients value your work because you make horses better and you improve stability, you improve strength.

[SPEAKER 2]Strength, suppleness, straightness in the horse. They start to get crooked, you know. The horse starts bracing on one rein. He’s bracing because of discomfort, probably up in here. Or it could be something behind. But he’s bracing against something because it’s uncomfortable. And when you feel the bracing, you try to train him not to brace. Well, you’re not really helping him by training him not to brace because the muscles are still tight. So if you can release the tension that’s causing the bracing, then you have an even horse, you know, a supple horse.

[SPEAKER 1]So would you say that with applying the Masterson method, horses generally get better regardless whether it’s a horse from the western sport, a show jumper, dressage horse or just my horse for riding in the woods?

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, you’re going to improve the movement in the horse. They all have their own Issues, you know, for example, your horse that’s riding in the wood is just going straight the whole life, right? So he doesn’t have much flexibility. And so as he gets older, he’ll start to get stiffer. And so you can help keep him loosening up. The dressage horse has a different set of issues. They’re using a lot of core muscles and they need to be able to collect. And especially depending on how they’re ridden, you know, if they’re ridden properly and conditioned slowly they’re going to be healthy and remain supple and strong but if they’re not then they’re going to be gets tighter and tighter and tighter in certain areas and they’re going to lose their suppleness which is an important part of of training that I think gets lost the suppleness flexibility.

[SPEAKER 1]How important is it to take into account the horses circumstances as you said being trained in a dressage way, being a show jumper, being the horse for going into the woods.

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, or western horses. Well, you go in with a blank slate, you know, because you don’t… With this method, we evaluate the horse, we find out where he’s sore, we find out where he’s restricted. They mean two different things. But you go in and what you find is what you work on. But you might you might go in and to work on a dressage horse and you’ll see a lot of muscle built up here You know behind the jaw, which is a sign. He’s been bracing You’ll might feel super soreness in the hamstrings very sore in the hamstrings So he’s been bracing and he’s been pulled in he’s been pushed into the rip bit from behind. He’s not been properly collected because he’s extremely jammed up here and extremely sore in the hamstrings so and then he might be inverted in the back so you can see by that that he hasn’t been he’s been pushed into collection forced into it so those are signs that you’re gonna find a lot of tension but then your job is then to release this releases back and take tension off of his hamstrings so that he can move better. And hopefully the rider will change the way they’re riding because they’re causing that, you know. But you might come across another dressage horse that is very well balanced in their body, tension-wise. And you’ll know, well, this horse has been ridden properly, which for me, properly means not causing excessive tension in certain areas. You know, balanced horse.

[SPEAKER 1]Do you also have to take into account the rider’s abilities? Because you just said, if you always just come in just to fix things, it’s probably not the way to go, is it?

[SPEAKER 2]No. Because whatever’s causing what you’re finding in the body, you want to find out what the primary issue is. So the primary issue could be the rider. The primary issue could be the saddle. Could be the feet. The sore feet create tension in the pole. And on the same side, if it’s a right front foot that becomes sore, then they’ll brace in the right pole and atlas. And they’ll brace in the diagonal behind in the gluteal. So when you see that pattern, then you might look at the foot. This might be coming from the foot. And so you can take out that tension in the pole and atlas and in the gluteal and the diagonal that’s associated with the sore foot. But then you have to do something about the foot because you’ll come back next time and you’ll have the same pattern of tension. So trying to help the owner find out what’s causing it is important, causing the muscle problem.

[SPEAKER 1]To generally have a solution for the problem you just described, right?

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, so I can tell them in the horse’s body he’s tense here, he’s tense at the pectoral on the same side on the right and he’s sore in the gluteal on the left. Those are three signs that point to the right front foot. So you can point the owner to the right front foot, since I’m not a farrier, but I can say The right front might be bothering, might be causing this. So you want to have the farrier look at the foot and see what’s going on. Or the vet, you know, it might be in the joints or something. So I’m not the vet and I’m not the farrier, but I can point them in that direction and say, there’s something going on there. You might want to look at it. And what’s important, I think, is the team approach, you know, when you’re competing. It’s not just the rider and the vet, you know, or the rider, the vet and the farrier. They all have to work together. And if you have a body worker that can give them information from the horse’s body to help them in their job, it’s just that they have to be open to hearing it from the body worker.

[SPEAKER 1]Do you think that the general mindset changed in that regard? That body workers and methods like the Masterland Method are generally more accepted in the horse world? Slowly, yeah. Slowly but surely. Yeah, slowly but surely.

[SPEAKER 2]Because they’re seeing results with it, you know. They’re seeing results. Maybe the vets are having to… Inject joints, fewer injections. If there’s a body worker working on the horse, they’ll find that less tendon and ligament injuries and less joint injuries. The farriers usually start to pay attention when you can make their job easier. They can pick up the leg now, the hind leg without fighting with the horse to shoe the horse. Whereas before the horse, every time they did the right hind, for example, the horse is fighting them. and then you work on the horse, and then the ferrier comes and picks up the right hind leg, and the horse is relaxed. That will get the ferrier’s attention, because you just made his job easier. But also, hopefully, he’ll start to notice, well, there was probably something bothering the horse before. So the body work is helping then.

[SPEAKER 1]What is a success in your sense? Is it the better result on the horse show? Is it the welfare of the horse? Is it the farrier that is happier about some little issues? What is the ultimate goal for you?

[SPEAKER 2]All of those are success for me because I don’t want to see a horse competing that’s in pain. So, you know, the goal for me is to have the horse happy and comfortable in his job. And then I’m happy if he wins. But I’m not happy if he wins if he’s in pain. So it goes together. The goal is for the horse to move better because the owner is the one that’s paying the bills, right? So you want the owner to be happy. You want him to win. But I don’t want him to win at the horse’s expense. So if you can get the horse moving better, and then the owner’s happy, so then they’ll do more of the same for the horse. I had a success story with a farrier who, I used to go with the U.S. endurance team every two years to the WEG. And the first time was in 2006 at Aachen, so that was the first time I came to Germany. Which was great, because I came for two weeks before the event, you know, as we’re conditioning the horses and working on the horses. during the event, during the holds between the loops, you know, they’ll do a 20-mile loop or whatever and come back and then the vets jog the horse to make sure he’s still sound, they’ve given water, food for 45 minutes, the shoer checks the feet and I do the body work and then the horse goes back for the next round.

[SPEAKER 1]Is it allowed in those vet checks actually to have the own body worker coming in and also working on the horse?

[SPEAKER 2]Which is good because you can release, they get sore in their lower back or shoulders, you can loosen them up while they’re eating and getting their water and getting hydrated. So they’re going to move better and be better off when they go back out. But the team farrier, he was a nice guy. We got along great. But he didn’t think the body work was much. But we got to become friends. And after the event, I would run into him in North Carolina or somewhere at other events. But one time, he had a horse. And one of the riders had a very good horse. And the farrier was having a really hard time shooing the horse behind. And the horse was starting to not go well behind. And so the owner and the farrier were both concerned. So I worked on, the owner knew me, so he asked me to work on the horse, and I worked on the horse’s hind end. And then the farrier went to do the feet, and he could pick up the hind leg. And he thought, oh, there’s something to this. And then the rider felt the horse getting better. So that farrier now, he prefers to have all of the horses whenever he can work on, have body work before he shoes them, not because it makes his job easier, but he realizes now he’s showing the horse to a natural posture, not a compensating posture. So when the horse is compensating for pain, he’s going to not be standing the same.

[SPEAKER 1]He’s in a different way to relax.

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, to a natural posture, you know, the, you know, compensating posture might be the horses in like this, you know, he’s kind of tight like this. So the legs aren’t really in a natural straightness. So, so now he prefers to shoe to natural posture. So if you work on the horse, and you get the tension out of the core muscles and the and the postural muscles, the horse has been compensating, the horse stands in a natural stance, and then he trims the feet.

[SPEAKER 1]How did you come in touch with the endurance scene? Because the endurance scene in the States isn’t necessarily big, I reckon. How did the connection come up with endurance?

[SPEAKER 2]When I was in Florida, I happened to work on Valerie Kanavy’s horses and she was a two-time world champion. And so I worked on her horses and she liked the results. And then three months later I was up north driving somewhere in Michigan someplace to some barn somewhere and the phone rings and it’s Valerie and they just made her the chef to keep of the team, the endurance team for the 2006 WEG. So she asked me if I would go with the team. So that’s how that got started. And then every two years the next chef to keep. A lot of the writers were the same and they liked me to be working on their horses. So every two years I would volunteer to go with the team. They would pay my expenses and I would go with them. So I got some nice vacations. I got to go to Malaysia. Normandy and England which I go anyways and so that’s how I got hooked up with the team.

[SPEAKER 1]So the big horse shows, the big events all around the world for the endurance team and the results speak for themselves if you make the horses better and especially in combination with the farrier that are two very important elements for endurance.

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, yeah, yeah, they are.

[SPEAKER 1]You also mentioned that you run courses not only in the States, also here in Europe, and you have a certification which you also have come up with. What is precisely the certification for the Masters in Methods?

[SPEAKER 2]So the certification, it kind of goes like this. We have weekend clinics for horse owners or therapists. We teach them some basic techniques and then people want to learn more. We have a five day advanced course and so they’ll come and do the five day advanced course and learn more and learn how to evaluate, how we evaluate the horse. And by evaluation, part of the evaluation, the important part is not just seeing where the horse is sore, but seeing, trying to find out what’s causing it. So like I pointed out, certain patterns. Pole, pectoral, diagonal gluteal point to a foot, you know. So we want to start to find out what’s causing what. So we learn the evaluation, we learn more techniques. And then if people want to get certification, we have a field work program where they go out and do case studies, and they turn the case studies in, and the mentor gives them feedback to the case studies, so it’s an interactive learning process. It’s just a little bit from a distance. And then during that field work, you have to meet up occasionally with a coach and work one-on-one with the coach. And then at the end, if you’re ready to go, you go to a final course with me, a final two-day course. And then if then you’re certified, which means it just certification means you’ve gone through our course of training and that you’re proficient in the techniques and you’re. No, then you’re good to go.

[SPEAKER 1]Would you say that everyone can learn the master of the methods?

[SPEAKER 2]I would say that almost everyone can master submit. Yeah, it’s just it’s just some people start out a little better than others and and But it’s a very practical method and a lot of it’s about feel. So some people have better feel than others. But the goal of the program is to get everybody up to that level of proficiency that they can do this. So if it takes extra work, it takes extra work. But anyone can learn to do this. The goal is to become proficient in the techniques, not just go through the steps of the training. And that’s what we support you in the training, is becoming good at doing the techniques.

[SPEAKER 1]And having the techniques, and you also mentioned that taking into account the reaction of the horse to every method you apply, that’s very important also. And that’s the difference we were talking about at the beginning of our conversation. that it’s a horse-centric method. It is the horse that is in the center of the method and the reactions probably everyone can learn if the horse or observe if the horse blinks after you apply something.

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, everybody can learn that. And the interesting thing is every horse is different too. So you’re really learning, you’re learning about horses in general how they behave by working on so many different kinds of horses. Some horses are very stoic and they won’t tell you much so you have to look for the smaller signs. Some horses are more bracing when you ask for the movement and you have to learn to yield when they brace and you become very good at it through practice. Your feel gets very refined and you feel the horse start to brace, you soften. before it braces. And then that I mean, as your feel gets better, you get better at it. That’s why the practice is important. And a lot of people, you know, they they say that it affects their riding to when they get on a horse to ride. They have much better feel because they’ve learned to when when you’re, for example, going down the neck to move the vertebra of the neck and you’re asking for a little movement and softening movement, softening. And if you hit a spot on the neck where there’s tension, say at C3, it’s tight. When you get there with this hand, the horse will brace. So you have to soften then. And then when the horse relaxes, you ask for the movement. So you get very good at softening before you feel the brace. And so when they get on the horse, their hands are a lot better because now they’re naturally not even thinking about it. When the horse starts to brace, they give a little yield, you know, naturally.

[SPEAKER 1]Are you also inspired by other methods, by other techniques? Do you look into this?

[SPEAKER 2]I don’t study them because I don’t like to get too much in my head about things, but I’ll notice things about other methods that I like that maybe I would integrate or incorporate into this. For example, a chiropractor showed me a craniosacral technique with horses, and so she showed me what she was doing with the tail and her hand, and so I did it, and I was trying to do it the way she was teaching me, and I noticed the horse blink, so I changed what I was doing. So rather than feeling for some cranial pulse, I noticed the horse blink. So I stopped there and the horse started yawning and dropped his head and released tension. So I took that, that was a nice technique she was showing me, but since I’m not trained to feel the cranial pulse, I went with the horse blink and it worked. So that’s an example of a technique that we use now that started as a craniosacral technique. But I was following the horse. But a lot of times I remember I’d be working on a horse down in Wellington and and a therapist would walk by the stall and look in and say, oh, you do myofascial release. And I go, oh, yeah, I do. And then I go home. What’s myofascial release? Oh, yeah, I’m doing that. But because I’m following the horse, what the horse said. And it turned out the horse was teaching me how myofascial release works.


[SPEAKER 2]But it’s kind of cool, you know, and it’s very effective because the horse is telling you exactly what’s working and what’s not. So if you’re doing, if you are a myofascial therapist, you could go in and do your technique on the horse. And if you watch the horse, he’s going to help you do it better. So it integrates really well with other modalities.

[SPEAKER 1]Jim, at the end of every WeHorse podcast, we have the four classical WeHorse questions.

[SPEAKER 2]Oh, I’ve heard about those.

[SPEAKER 1]I got to go. I wonder if you’re prepared.

[SPEAKER 2]No, I’m not.

[SPEAKER 1]The first question I would like to ask you is, do you have a motto?

[SPEAKER 2]A motto?

[SPEAKER 1]We have a few that we use. One, less is more. That’s a very classical one. Oh, it is?

[SPEAKER 2]Okay, do I have to have another one? No, I was asking if I have to have another one.

[SPEAKER 1]Can I use that one? Of course, of course. Fully accepted. Question number two is, who inspired you especially in your professional life the most?

[SPEAKER 2]I think that at that old horse chiropractor that from New Zealand.

[SPEAKER 1]Yeah. Yeah.

[SPEAKER 2]And then also a guy I worked with for nine years on the horse show circuit. You know, he he he took me on because we we were both inspired by this old horse chiropractor. And so he had he had lots of clients. He you know, this his name is Bill Stanton. And so when he needed help, he asked me to work for him. So we worked together for nine years and did I think probably 700 horses a year I did for years because he had so many horse show clients. So I learned a lot doing that. But we were both inspired by this old horse chiropractor who’d come out to Wellington and work on the horses.

[SPEAKER 1]He laid the groundwork.

[SPEAKER 2]Yeah, he laid the groundwork. And I don’t use his name because He liked to have me help him, you know, the old horse chiropractor and follow him around. But what happens is people would watch him or follow him around and then they would go out and say they were trained by him because he had a good reputation. And they weren’t trained by him. So he he he he would get upset because people were saying they were trained by him. And I said, I’ll never do that. So I’ll never say I was trained by you. But I’ll say that I followed you around, which was true. Yeah. Observed you. So I don’t I don’t I don’t brag that I was trained by this guy. So this was inspired by him. Actually, there’s a funny story if you have a few more minutes. I was up in Kentucky somewhere working on horses and I was early on, I’m trying to build my business. So I would drive hundreds of miles to work on a couple of horses to build my business. And I met this barn in Kentucky and there’s this this guy in a pickup there and he’s got a cowboy hat and he’s kind of, you know, strutting around. And I was watching him work on horses and he looked like he worked, he looked like he was doing the same thing this chiropractor was doing. And I said, hey, do you know so-and-so? And he said, He said, yeah, I was trained by him. And then and I thought, oh, that’s cool. So I called the chiropractor. I said, I said, Sam, I said, I just ran into somebody who said he was trained by you. I thought maybe I could I might mentor with him. What do you think? And he said, what was his name? And I told him and he says, I told that guy never to touch another horse in his life. Don’t don’t do anything he does. So I said, OK, I want to mentor with that guy. So that kind of demonstrated what he meant. People would watch him work and say they were trained by him.

[SPEAKER 1]Wonderful story. Question number three. If you could recommend one thing to a rider or horse person, what would it be?

[SPEAKER 2]It would be slow down and soften and wait for the horse a little more. I think a lot of times when we’re riding or training the horse, we’re asking the horse to do something and the horse, the horse is getting it, but we don’t recognize that the horse is getting it yet. So we ask for more and then the horse gets confused. So when you ask the horse for something, wait and try to pay attention to see if he’s getting it rather than to keep asking for more before he’s got it.

[SPEAKER 1]Don’t rush it. Yeah. And at last, I would like you to complete this sentence for me.

[SPEAKER 2]For me, horses are… For me, horses are life-changing. You can learn a lot from the horse. If you slow down and don’t rush.

[SPEAKER 1]Wonderful. It was very interesting, very inspiring talking to you, Jim. We have your videos about the Masterson Method on our platform, And a pleasure talking to you. Thank you. Thank you.

[SPEAKER 2]It was a pleasure talking to you. Thanks.

[SPEAKER 1]Thanks for listening to the Equestrian Experience Podcast. For more information, follow us on Instagram or visit Make sure you subscribe to us on Apple Podcast. If you’re an Android user, check us out on Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts. Remember, wehorse Online Festival, September 12th, 10 a.m. Eastern. more information on slash festival dash u s thanks for listening from wehorse the online writing academy and tune in next time for the Equestrian Experience

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