Looking for a review of the Masterson Method Weekend Seminar? I completed the Masterson Method Beyond Horse Massage Weekend Seminar and Workshop a few weeks ago, and it was a fantastic experience. If you’re looking for a way to work with your horse to relieve tension and build a stronger connection this is for you! Here’s a post-seminar video interview with Becky Tenges, the Lead Instructor for the seminar.
Summary of My Masterson Method Review Video
The Weekend Seminar I attended was held in Beasley, Texas, which is about 40 miles southwest of Houston. Our instructors came from as far away as Wisconsin, and several of our students came from other states. If you’re thinking of attending the Weekend Seminar, it would be a good idea to register early because they fill up quickly. Here are my comments about my Masterson Method experience.
- The Weekend Seminar is very hands on so you get lots of opportunity to practice the techniques described in the Beyond Horse Massage video and the Beyond Horse Massage book.
- There’s lots of instructor help during the hands-on sessions working with horses. Our lead instructor, Becky, would demonstrate a technique with a student and then we’d pair with another student to practice the techniques on horses. Our instructors would rotate around to observe us and offer help.
- Our practice horses were accustomed to handling and our instructors were very conscious of safe handling practices, but you should be comfortable handling horses before you start the course. Horses can certainly sense nervousness and if you’re nervous your ability to benefit from the course would be impaired. Most of the students had been handling horses for years, but there was one student who had about six months experience handling horses. You should have some basic horse handling skills and be comfortable around horses before you start the course.
- There were all ages in the Weekend Seminar with me the oldest in my late 60s and some students in their 20s. You’re on your feet much of two days during your practice sessions with the horses.
- The Masterson Method offers you and your horse a way to build trust and strengthen your connection, even though you’re not riding or working on the lunge or in the round pen. In every aspect of the Masterson Method, you have to watch your horse very closely to look for reactions to your touch and your movements. Your horse is communicating with you through his reactions and you’re communicating back through what you do in response. This training and practice in watching your horse closely can benefit your riding and training IF you carry it over into those activities.
- Becky always started the practice sessions with a reminder to leave our “stuff” at the door. Here’s what she meant by that.
One of the big things about this weekend is helping you to see that the horses feel. And they feel your touch and they feel your expectation, and they feel your energy, and they feel your baggage and your anger. And it’s interesting to know that. And so, we want to really leave our “stuff” at the door. Check our “stuff” at the door and be present. And then focus on this process of having a conversation about the horse. Really, we’re ministering to the horse and saying, “Well, have you got stress and tension here? “Okay. Well, let’s see if we can help you “Unwind a little bit of that.”
- The Masterson Method techniques are a wonderful way for you to help your horse relief tension and stress while you build a better relationship with your horse! I strongly recommend the Masterson Method and the Weekend Seminar. Try the Bladder Meridian technique described on the Masterson Method website.
I initially registered for a Weekend Seminar in February but I got sick with a bad cold a couple of days before the event. The Masterson Method staff was very helpful in talking me through the process of shifting my reservation to a later seminar. Thank you!
Transcription of the Masterson Method Review Video
– Howdy, friends. My name is Paul Sherland from SaddleUpAgain.com and I’m with Becky Tenges, who’s an instructor for the…
– It’s the Beyond Horse Massage equine bodywork. It’s not really about the kind of deep-tissue massage or sports massage that people might think of, so it’s on the other side of that.
– You know, learning how to work with the horse to find and release tension.
– And it’s a weekend seminar, so it’s two days.
– Yep, we just finished a two-day. There’s a number of different education opportunities that we have, but it all begins with a two-day.
– Becky, could you just give me a little bit of your background with body work and massage, and horses.
– Yeah, sure. So with horses, I grew up, my dad was a farrier, and then my parents decided to have a horse ranch and they raised Arabian horses. So at the peak, there were 110 horses, and so I was part of the crew.
– That’s a lot of background.
– Yeah, yeah. And so I also rode. I was in 4-H for nine years in the Horse Project. So, I rode in 4-H and I rode at home, and my parents had a breeding farm, and so I had a lot of interaction with horses from a herd perspective, and then also from handling, horsemanship and handling. I did a lot of holding of horses for my dad while he was doing his farrier work. So that continued through high school, and then I went off to college and really didn’t have a lot of interaction with horses after that, because then I went off and became an investment banker, and, you know, life happens. So, from… there was a gap, about 35 years, between my active work with horses at home, and with my dad as a farrier, and when I got back involved with horses. I came back to horses actually for the therapeutic value. I might cry. That they can give to we humans who need some sort of help and guidance, and so one of my daughters, I thought, could really be helped by having an opportunity to interact with horses and ride horses. So that’s what brought me back. Then, the other sister was very much involved with Breyer horses and reading horses and very much involved and interested in horses, like a lot of little girls are, and when her sister got to do riding, that was not okay. So the younger sister started riding, too, and then for, I would say a couple of years, they did riding. It started out therapeutic riding, but then it became regular riding, and they were both in sort of the hunter land. And then the younger daughter continued on, and it gave me an opportunity to get back around horses again even though it was my daughters’ opportunity. So during that process, we actually… You know the way it goes. First they’re taking lessons one day a week, and then they’re taking lessons two day a week, and then the trainer says, “You should lease a horse,” and then you’re leasing a horse.
– Buy a horse.
– And then the trainer says, “You should buy a horse,” and so, you know, we went down that path, and we bought a horse. And about maybe a month after we had the horse, the trainer and I were like, “You know what? “That horse is lame.” And so we had a new farrier at that point, and he is a terrific farrier. Actually, his name is Scott Lampert, and he’s an amazing farrier, and so he helped us that day with our horse, sorting out, you know, was it in front or was it in back? Was it there? And after that particular horse then I was just hanging around. Because he kind of reminded me of my dad and watching him work. And I just was interested because he had a degree of tuning into the horse and inquiring, asking questions of the horses body, and then listening. That was foreign to me, it was new to me. And seeing things that, I had all those years of experience, but he saw things that I don’t even know how did he see it? And so, he finished with our horse and another horse walked into the barn and the horse was probably 30 feet away and he declared that the coronet band was swollen.
– And I was like “Well, how do you know that?” and he just said, “Well the hair is sticking up straight at us,” and I was like “Oh, right. Duh.” Once I knew where to look then I could see what there was to be seen the whole time. And so that horse walked up and he looked at its feet, and he was actually kind of funny, he’s like “Well that horse has feet from four different mothers.” And then he walked up and he touched the horse in a couple of different places and the horse flinched and reacted and he said, “Well, here’s the deal. I can help the horse’s feet, but unless somebody helps this horse’s body, it doesn’t matter what I do with his feet because it’s just going to go back to the same challenges because the horse has issues in its upper body.” And he said, “Do you guys have a good horse massage therapist around here?” I was like “What? What are you talking about?” Because I didn’t know such a thing existed.
– With even all that time around horses. And so I went home that night and I looked and I researched and I didn’t have the luxury of going away to a massage school, because I had young kids and a husband, and I couldn’t go anywhere. And so, but I quickly found YouTube videos of this gentleman by the name of Jim Masterson, and there were certain techniques that he was doing and one of them is the first one you learned yesterday, The Bladder Meridian. And so I saw a YouTube video of him doing this very light-touch movement where he was searching and then he would wait for a little while, and he was explaining how it is. And we can talk more about that in a little bit. But, he was explaining what he did but he was really tuned in on watching the horse. And then, the horse would yawn or lick and chew or shake its head, or shake its whole body and I’m like “That. “What is that? That can’t be true.” But I looked at how to do that technique from his website and then I went to the barn the next day and I tried it. And it worked. And the the horse … I found places where the horse responded, how I taught you how to do it, yesterday, where the horse responded and then I saw evidence of release like chew, snort, snot, yawn. And I thought “Huh. That is incredible.” That would be something I’m interested in and it would be something that I could do, and I wouldn’t be like hawking over my daughter. While she’s there, riding, if I could learn this it would give me something I could do and it would be a way for me to have a relationship with the horses and help them. So I asked my daughter’s trainer “What do you think “If I go get training?” And she’s like, “Yes!” Yeah, so he was teaching a weekend course then. And then, at the next course in the process to becoming certified is a five-day advanced course and he had another one starting Monday.
– So I did the two-day and then I did the five-day.
– So that was the beginning of my journey and that started in 2011.
– One of the things that was really valuable to me, in this course, is learning things like you did with the Bladder Meridian from YouTube, but learning a whole bunch of different techniques that I can use on my horses and that I can use to help my horses and build a relationship with my horses. One of the things that I find so remarkable and so great about the Masterson Method is that you can go to this two-day weekend seminar and you’re equipped with the knowledge, or the information that you need, to go back and start working with your horses and …
– And be effective. Yep. It’s very learnable and you can be effective in a really relatively short period of time.
– And, you know, it’d be nice if the weather were perfect all the time and if I could ride every day but it’s not that way, anywhere. There are going to be rainy days, there are going to be, depending on where you live, snowy days, or days where you don’t really have time to ride. But you can, with Jim’s method, you can spend some time with your horse and it might be 30 minutes, it might be 15 minutes or maybe 2 hours, if you had it on a rainy day, and you can be building a better relationship with a happier horse.
– Absolutely. And so fundamentally, this Beyond Horse massage is that what Jim has developed is a program where we, I help you now learn, but we teach people to read the horse’s responses, the horse’s body’s responses, to our touch and presence of our hand. In key junctions of the horse’s body, which accumulate stress and tension, in order to find where their body has tension and restriction, and then help the horse’s body to let it go. And so, it’s a interactive process. It’s not something we do to the horse. It’s something we do with the horse. And so, you just have had an opportunity where we’re helping you to see and read the … This is really actually quite … It’s very light and it’s very straightforward to do, but for the horse’s body, it’s pretty deep central nervous system work. And so, we do this work in the same areas that we humans accumulate stress and tension. You know, some of us get it from our head to our neck. Others of us get it in our shoulders. And others get it in the low back. And the same is true of the horses. And so, when we learn to become more aware. Sort of like me, when Scott said, “Well, his coronary band is swollen.” I’m like, “Well, how do you know that?”. It’s because I didn’t know where to look. And so, this weekend course we teach people how to see what’s in front of them, but they didn’t know to look for it. And so, part of what we do is we help you to see what there is to be seen. From the smallest nuances of a little blink or a scrinch of the eye, to changes in the facial muscle tension, to things that are happening on the muzzle or nostrils. And so, we teach you how to see and to see the correlation between where your hand is and the question you’re asking, and the response in the horse’s body. So, that’s we search for a response and then we stay until we get a release. And we’re really using the nature of the horse as a herd and a prey animal, and their need to not feel… They have a survival need not to feel their pain, and so we now we teach you how to search and where to search, and then you to read the horse’s body, so now you have an ability to go, “Oh, good. Right there.” And then we work in such a way that we work with the nature of the horse. And so we work under their ability to brace against, we found this place where their body has stress and tension, and we work. The horse’s body will tell us if we have too much pressure or presence, then they’ll do what horses do. Their feet will move or they’ll brace. And so, when we do this work we have an opportunity to have the horse’s body tell us where they have tension and restriction because we know how to look for it. And then, how much pressure or presence to have, and we teach you the different levels of pressure to use. And the horse’s body will tell us. If it’s too much, they’ll just walk away. But, if we have the right calibration, and it’s a different amount depending on where we are on the horse’s body and what their stress and tension is that they have. So, they tell us where, they tell us how much, and then it’s very visual and results-oriented, so we can see because we just wait. We just stay softly and present in that place where they have tension and restriction, and then we get to see external evidence of the internal tension release. Because there’s this list of things that the body will do, and so they might lick or chew, or snort, or sneeze, or cough, or yawn, or shake their head, or shake their whole body like a dog does. There’s a whole list of things that they do. And so, it’s really fun to do because in essence, we’re giving a gift to the horse. A gift of presence. And they can get uncomfortable when we’re drawing their attention to this thing that they’re like “la-la-la-la-la. I got nothing. “I’m good.” And then we come along and we find, actually, it turns out you have some things and so I’m just going to be here and hold space while your body unwinds and works it out. And then we can see that they lick and chew and yawn, when we do those things. So it’s very results-oriented. We can see the results. But it’s also results-oriented, I mean, you just finished with your partner taking a horse from 2:15 to 4:15, and you had a horse that had stress and tension both in it’s demeanor and it’s conduct and it’s behavior. And physical. You could feel it because now we’ve taught you how to ask, sort of, movement questions and you could feel that it was stressed, that there was restriction, and yet, you were one of everybody who raised your hand when we said was the horse different at the end? And they are. And so, it’s because we’re working with the horse and we’re saying, “Have you got stress and tension here?” “Oh, good. Yeah, mm-hmm, I can see that “Because your body told me so.” And then we work through that process of helping the body to let it go. By definition, if I’m stressed and my shoulders are up, if I had to go swim and I had stress and tension, I’d look like a T-Rex, okay? If I had a lot of stress and tension. But if somebody helped me to relax and release, I’d have a much better stroke. It’s the same with the horses, and so, we can see the results because we see the releases. But, then we can see the results in actually how they move, and they will move in a more fluid way. And parts that were a little sticky are going to be less sticky. So, we always make an improvement.
– One of the things that also impressed me about the course was that I’ve learned to better read the horse as a part of this. And, that’s useful not only when you’re doing the Masterson Method. That’s useful whenever you’re around your horse. Whether you’re riding the horse or working with the horse in ground work, or doing anything, if you can better read the horse’s responses to what you’re doing, you’re both better ahead.
– Yep. And in the end, you’re safer.
– Yep. Because we as humans are real do-ey, and we’re real box-checky and we can kind of be demand-y and we can be purposeful, and we can have in our head the agenda for the day. And the agenda for the day is we’re going for a ride. And this is what we’re going to do. And it may be that there’s something about the horses. Maybe they slept wrong. Maybe they got cast. Maybe they got in a fight with their frenemy outside. And so, you have a wider prospective now having gone through this horse about how to see in the horse’s body those things we taught you to look for. To find where they have stress and tension, and it’s really the correlation, learning how to ask these questions and then learning how to see and interpret what the horse’s body is saying. It’s not Voodoo Hoodoo. It’s really just learning to be aware. In the same way that I now can see any horse that has what Scott taught me in a moment because I was there to look for it. And what you now have, and anyone who takes the weekend course, that’s the foundation, has an ability to sort of understand and interpret more what the physical body is doing and potentially even the behavior. Because really, they just want to be with their buddies, and we’re one of the buddies. Because when we enter, if it’s the horse and us, we’re a herd. They know how to communicate. They know how to read the nuances of the facial … The one that’s in charge can scatter the herd with very small demeanor behaviors.
– Right, right.
– And so, it’s useful to us to learn “horse”. And that’s a part of what we’re doing is helping you sort of increase your understanding of the body responses, and the physiologic indicators of stress and tension. And if we have stress and tension in our body, we will tend to have more stressful responses. We’ll tend to have behaviors that are a short fuse and might be explosive. But, if we all can physically relax, we might have a longer fuse when things are a little bit of an agitation. And horses are amazing. They’re so… generous.
– Really. They’re so generous. To do what we say they’re going to do. Whatever that discipline is, whether it’s riding in a cart, pulling a cart, or any sort of Western discipline or English discipline, or Dressage discipline. They’re so kind and willing to do that. And because of the nature of the horse, as a herd animal and a prey animal, they have a survival need not to show when they’re uncomfortable. And so we now, if we expand our understanding about how to look for it, and read it and see it, then we can see what there is to be seen and understand it. And then, we also teach you how to help the body remove some of that stress and tension.
– Right. And one of the things that really impressed me this weekend was the variety of backgrounds of the folks taking the weekend seminar. I mean, you had people with maybe less than a year of horse experience–
– We did have one person who had six months’ horse experience.
– And then you had, there was a veterinarian in the group and some people with decades of horse experience. In order to take the weekend seminar you don’t need to have decades of–
– No, you don’t. I mean, you need to be able to have basic horse safety. You need to be able to confidently and physically pick up all four legs. You need to have the strength and stamina because it’s long days, at two full days, so there’s strength and stamina, and an openness and willingness to learn. A foundation of horsemanship, but it doesn’t need to be, I mean seriously, we had one it’s been six months and she’s a vet tech, so she’s getting exposed to horses a lot, but things are new for her and she doesn’t have sort of the rote behavior that I have, growing up on a farm. So, yeah, you need some basic horsemanship skills. Yep.
– And, you know, there’s one phrase that I want to close with. And I think you know what it is. But, before we went into a stall any time to work with a horse, you told us this. So, if you could repeat that.
– Yeah. You need to leave your “stuff” at the door. Really. Because one of the big things about this weekend is helping you to see that the horses feel. And they feel your touch and they feel your expectation, and they feel your energy, and they feel your baggage and your anger. And it’s interesting to know that. And so, we want to really leave our “stuff” at the door. Check our “stuff” at the door and be present. And then focus on this process of having a conversation about the horse. Really, we’re ministering to the horse and saying, “Well, have you got stress and tension here? “Okay. Well, let’s see if we can help you “Unwind a little bit of that.”
– Right. Well, I really appreciate the weekend seminar. I’ve learned a lot.
– You did a great job.
– Well, thank you very much, that I’ll carry back with me. And, so I really appreciate what you’ve done.
– Yeah, you’re welcome. For people who might be interested in taking a weekend course, the way to get more information about the Masterson Method is go to Jim’s website. So, it’s MastersonMethod.com. And there’s lots of information about what we do, and then there’s a course listing. They’re offered all over the country. And if you think you want to travel, you could go to England or Australia or Germany or South Africa. There’s lots of places a person could go.
– Okay. Thank you very much. And I had to change my course because I was scheduled for one course and got sick, and I had to change it. And I can say that the folks who work for Jim are super people. And they were very willing to work with me to change the course. So, just great people.
– Well, Jim has a goal and that goal … I’ll cry. That goal is that every horse at least experiences the Bladder Meridian. And everybody on the team, and we have a really big education team and there’s the office team, everybody is committed to helping as many people as we can help to learn how to read the horse and learn how to give the gift.
– Well, I really appreciate it. I know that there are many, many people who appreciate what you’re doing.
– It’s really fun.
– Thank you very much, Becky.
– You’re welcome.
– Thank you.