Chris Irwin's Blog (12)

HARNESSING HORSEPOWER? - Don't "put the cart before the horse".

As we all know, the old expression “don’t put the cart before the horse” is a metaphor about making sure that we have our priorities straight. Having said that, what is literal is how tragic it can get when someone arbitrarily assumes that it would be fun to drive their horse in a cart or buggy and that the horse will just agree do his or her job and be okay with pulling the contraption down the road.

Unfortunately, what all too often happens when even the best riding horses are… Continue

Added by Chris Irwin on August 29, 2009 at 5:00pm — 5 Comments

Walking The Talk of Natural Horsemanship

Hello and greetings to everyone from Riversong Ranch in Alberta. I’m sitting here in my office reading over a recent chat I found on Barnmice about the merits – pros or cons – of Natural Horsemanship. And I must say that I am truly encouraged by most of the comments I read that seemingly indicate that now that the natural horsemanship “revolution” is over that perhaps now the evolution of natural horsemanship into “supernatural horsemanship” will begin.

Despite all the marketing hype… Continue

Added by Chris Irwin on July 12, 2009 at 1:00pm — 13 Comments

Beware of Easy Answers

It was a few too many years ago that I remember the first group of certified trainers from my “train the trainer” program got together at their graduation party and they collectively gave me a box of Depends diapers. This was their way of teasingly letting me know how they felt about the fact that I answered just about each and every question they ever asked with the answer “it depends”. In fact, this happens so much that it has become somewhat of a trademark for me. Often when I am at a clinic… Continue

Added by Chris Irwin on June 27, 2009 at 2:30pm — 8 Comments


When it comes to developing a truly willing mind from a horse there is a critical difference between training and schooling. Focused schooling for specific tasks as to exactly when, where and how the rider wants the horse to perform should only begin when the horse consistently chooses not to fuss, challenge or search to find a way out from between the legs and reins of the rider. Once the horse has had enough training to willingly choose the easy path of staying balanced with a rider and is no… Continue

Added by Chris Irwin on June 9, 2009 at 3:00pm — 7 Comments


As I travel the world working with people and horses there are significant cultural differences between the various countries. However, it is always true that wherever I go - people are people and horses are horses. But then again there is the very real challenge of how often the time needed for translation of verbal languages takes us “out of the moment” with the horses.

Of course, that delay between a rider hearing what I have to say - and then translating my English into their own… Continue

Added by Chris Irwin on May 24, 2009 at 10:30am — 5 Comments


Hello friends and greetings from England. After a very rewarding week of work in Ireland last week I now find myself in England enjoying a clinic with the Brit’s and taking time to shoot some new video footage for Riding the Wave 2.

Yesterday I was invited by Roger and Joanna Day to be their guest at the Badminton Horse Trials during the first day, the dressage test, before I drive north… Continue

Added by Chris Irwin on May 8, 2009 at 10:30am — 10 Comments

Food For Thought (that leaves a bad taste)


I’m supposed to keep a focus in this blog about how equine body language, psychology and behaviour relate to training issues with horses. However, in all honesty, it’s been a whirlwind week at work and I am way behind schedule on my “to do” list and now I am soon needing to catch a plane from Calgary across the pond for a clinic this weekend in Ireland. So… I thought that since there is so much debate rearing up again about the issue of horse slaughter that I might take…


Added by Chris Irwin on April 23, 2009 at 9:30am — 16 Comments

An EAPD EASTER: The Resurrection of Kindness & Joy

Greetings friends!

In honour of the symbolic meaning of Easter I would like to invite you on a brief journey down the horse trail less travelled, the amazing and, dare I say “miraculous” journey of equine assisted personal development - EAPD.

I’m very blessed because I enjoy the good fortune of being able to work with thousands of people all over the world, in my own unique way facilitating their ability to become their better selves by becoming more enlightened and…


Added by Chris Irwin on April 11, 2009 at 1:00pm — 8 Comments

Raising The Bar

I’m often asked about my thoughts regarding the paradox of a rider or horse owner/enthusiast trying to develop a true bond with a horse while the horse is in a boarding stable and therefore primarily "in the care" of others.

For many people it seems almost futile to put the time and effort into becoming so conscientious about your own approach to your horse when you have little or no control over how the staff and/or volunteers at the boarding stable are behaving with and handling…


Added by Chris Irwin on March 27, 2009 at 2:00am — 4 Comments

Perfect Flying Changes Aren't Easy

Greetings, my many Barnmice friends, from Riversong Ranch in Alberta. It is so good to be home again after this latest whirlwind trip to Bermuda and the Netherlands.

While I love my job when I am in the arena with the students and horses, what I am getting increasingly tired of is flying. The “friendly skies” are just not all that user friendly anymore.

So it was while enduring the 8 hour flight from Amsterdam to Toronto only to then connect for the 4 ½ hour flight from…


Added by Chris Irwin on March 13, 2009 at 8:00pm — 8 Comments

The Fine Art of Letting Go or Making Go

The Fine Art of Letting Go or Making Go

By Chris Irwin

Hello and greetings to all from Pearson airport in Toronto. As I type these words I’m sitting beside my lovely wife, Kathryn, waiting to board our early morning flight to Bermuda. For the next five days I’ll be coaching dressage riders and jumpers on this small island nation in the Atlantic before flying next week to the Netherlands for the first European Train the…


Added by Chris Irwin on February 26, 2009 at 3:00pm — 2 Comments

A horse of a different colour

Hello and best wishes to you all from our winter wonderland at Riversong Ranch in Alberta.

This being my first blog here on Barnmice I’d first like to say what an honour and privilege it is to be invited to join the ranks of such renowned colleagues as Jane Savoie, William Micklem and Tim Stockdale.

I’d also like to say right up front that I believe it is truism that a writer should only express opinions about what he or she has proven themselves to know something…


Added by Chris Irwin on February 13, 2009 at 4:00pm — 12 Comments

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