Falling Star Ranch - Training, Lessons, Clinics, Camps. Falling Star Ranch offers horse training, riding lessons, coaching, horsemanship clinics, kids camps, camps for adults, vaulting clinics, demos and short courses, equine behaviour workshops, horse whispering demonstrations, and horse sales.

 

 

 

 

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Falling Star Ranch

Birgit Stutz and
Marc Lavigne

General Delivery
Dunster, B.C.
V0J 1J0
Canada

Phone/Fax
(250) 968-6801

 

 

 

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"Ask not what your horse can do for you.
Ask what you can do for your horse."

- Chris Irwin

 

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Welcome to the Falling Star Ranch

Training, Lessons, Clinics, Camps

 

Testimonials

 

From Elke Vogelpohl, Tete Jaune, Valemount, British Columbia:

"I did not grow up with horses. When I got my own horse I wanted a relationship based on trust and mutual respect. I also wanted to stay safe around them and have fun hanging out with them. Yet little did I know how they communicate with each other, besides the pinned ears, swishing tail and little things like that. I thought there had to be far more to their body language and there certainly is much more! Now I had this horse that had been trained so well but the two of us had  communication issues. If you are not the leader on the ground you won't be in the saddle - it is as simple or complicated as that. Chris Irwin's method that Birgit has taught me has filled in all these gaps. It was an eye opening experience and a lot of fun to be taught by her. I enjoyed the workshop on equine behaviour and body language immensely and my private lessons too. It has made a huge difference in how I interact with my horses now. To know their body language means I can go with the flow when the 'game is on' for my horses.  I do not feel intimidated, helpless or scared anymore. These unpleasant feelings have been replaced by smiles and the feeling of being safe around them at all times. I know my horses are much happier too. There is no more guess work, we communicate in horse language. That is the only language they know. They don't just like me for the treats, they respect me as their leader and trust me. I can not get any better than that. I wish more horse lovers would give this a shot. There is nothing to lose but so much to gain.  Why drive hundreds of kilometres to clinics when you can have it right here in the valley?! Thanks again Birgit for another great workshop at Falling Star Ranch!"

From Riette Kenkel, Valemount, British Columbia:

"Over the years I have explored and examined several different methods in horsemanship and have watched and participated in a few clinics as well. I learned about numerous different methods, and kept coming back to Chris Irwin. His methods just make the most sense, with no gimmicks. As so many women, I took time off from horses to start a career and a family, and in my late 30's I decided to get back in the saddle. After taking lessons with Birgit, my riding skills and my confidence increased considerably, but more importantly, my horses responded better to me because I was communicating better with them. I was so pleased with what I learned, that I signed up my kids for lessons with Birgit. Now both of my kids are confident beginners with solid foundations. They still have a long way to go, but at least they are smart, safe and respectful around our horses, which makes our horses more respectful around them. A few years ago, Dan and I were fortunate enough to add Sam to our herd. Sam is a rambunctious 4-year-old shire who knows how to "throw her weight around". I was hoping to train her myself (the fool that I was) and we managed to get her to the point where she was comfortable with a saddle and rider on her back, and a bridle and bit in her mouth. We rambled around the roundpen, but never ventured beyond that. She didn't really know what we wanted her to do, and we had no idea how to teach her. That's when we decided to hand her over to Birgit for 30 days of training. It was the best money we've ever spent on a horse. We are now able to ride her on the roads, through all kinds of trails, and with other horses. She understands walk, jog and lope, on the ground and in the saddle, using our legs as well as voice commands. She stands quietly when we mount, and best of all, she knows NOT to run us over when we lead her around. Without Birgit's training I am certain that Sam would have been a very expensive moving lawn ornament, with lots of untapped potential. I have recommended Birgit to anyone I know who needs an excellent horse trainer or riding instructor, and I will continue to do so for years to come. Thank you for being there for us."

From Kim Gilbeau, Prince George, B.C.:

"I am very happy to say that I would recommend Birgit to anyone who wants to have their horse trained. She works magic on the horses she trains. I first learned about Birgit when I was contacted about a book that was going to be written about my horse. Bella was one of the rescued horses from the Renshaw Mountains and Birgit was the person who spearheaded the rescue. It seemed that the timing of this was perfect. I needed someone to work with Bella and had started the search and then Birgit came along and with her credentials as a Chris Irwin trained professorial it just seemed like it was  meant to be and I was correct. Birgit was very dedicated to making sure Bella had the level of training needed so that I would be able to enjoy her on the trails. She handled my horse with consistency and respect, never harsh or cruel. This was very important to me. The communication between Birgit and myself was very good. She provided me with consistent updates and pictures of my Bella's progress and took the time to answer any questions or concerns I had. I am so excited about now being able to ride Bella out on the trails. I feel safe riding Bella which was the most important goal for me. I would and do recommend Birgit to anyone looking to find a trainer for their horse." - A Very Happy Customer

From Yasmine Djabri, Yukon Territory:

"I highly recommend working with Birgit if you want to improve your riding and your horse's attitude. In a short time, I was able to correct some of my mistakes and - after working trough some resistance - my horse's attitude dramatically improved. I can only praise Birgit's patience and encouraging attitude. Training with her was the best investment ever for me and my horse."

From Anna Carle, Hinton, Alberta:

"My experience with Falling Star Ranch has been nothing but extraordinary. I sent my two young horses to Birgit this past summer (2009). Not only did she put her experience and knowledge into training my horses, she also gave a caring personal touch in her dealings with me. The horses changed incredibly in the 30 short days they were under Birgit's guidance, her natural approach definitely worked for them. My personal circumstances changed during the course of time the horses were getting trained, and Birgit responded with care and understanding. Not only did she go out of her way to transport the horses back to me, she also has been incredibly supportive in my efforts to sell my mares to good homes. Most people would just do their job and walk away, but Birgit continues to show she cares for the horses and myself. I would recommend Falling Star Ranch to anyone who wants their horses to be trained in a manner which encourages their natural instincts and abilities, as well as your own well being."

From Barb Gilmour, Jasper, Alberta:

"I took my 4-year-old gelding to Birgit in May of 2009. With him having bucked me off once shortly after I purchased him as a 3-year-old, I was concerned that he would attempt the same thing in 2009. I decided it would be a good thing for me to send him to a qualified trainer to 'evaluate' his abilities. I wanted someone to work with him, to find out what he knew and what he needed work on. I didn't feel I had the ability to do it myself. Also, knowing my fear level was pretty high I knew taking him to someone like Birgit would accomplish more in a three week span, then me fumbling along with him over the entire summer. I was so correct. Birgit worked with him for three weeks, finding out what level he was at and where he needed work, she them took him out on the trail to 'de-sensitize' him and get him trail ready for me. Once I knew what he could do and how to ask him to do it we started to work pretty well together. He was moving off my leg with half the amount of pressure I had used in the past and he picked up his gaits a lot easier and kept going in them longer. He was also a lot more relaxed while being ridden. So over all, she ended up producing a well started horse for me to work with. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending Birgit. Whether it's for an evaluation, training or a 'tune-up', she can work wonders with your horse."

From Riette Kenkel, Valemount, British Columbia:

"Dear Birgit,
Thanks so much for a great day yesterday! Your clinic was very informative and lots of fun. It really helped me to understand the techniques by watching others while you were teaching. I also appreciated the feedback I received from you and the other participants. Every time I work with you and the horses, my confidence and my skills improve. Thanks again for hosting the clinic and providing such a warm and relaxed atmosphere in which to learn. I'm looking forward to the next one."

From Otto and Mabel Young, Peers, Alberta:

"The experience that Kathryn and Birgit create for the participants and spectators of their clinics is one of mutual respect for horse and human. In a relaxed and tranquil setting natural horsemanship is taught. The utmost care and consideration are given to both horse and participant allowing neither to ever feel training is a battle of wills, it is just understanding. This understanding of the equine language is an amazing and uplifting tool that has permanently changed my horse's world as well as mine. With my sincere appreciation to Kathryn and Birgit, I will continue to learn and grow in a new communication with my horse "Otto". Thank you both for sharing the gifts you possess. I highly recommend a visit to Riversong Ranch or Falling Star Ranch for anyone looking to truly bond and find the magic with their horse."

From Corinne Grant, Carrot Creek, Alberta:

"I have tried many different methods of horse training. The method taught at this clinic is the definition of Natural Horsemanship. There are no gimmicks or quick fixes as it is all about the communication and true bonding between human and equine. This connection is so natural that there is no need for special equipment like some of the other methods I've tried. Body Language is the only thing necessary to achieve a calm, level-headed horse both in hand and under saddle. The experience of watching the clinic has inspired me to learn this language. I know that learning from both Kathryn and Birgit will help me to achieve a mutual, respectful relationship with my horses. I thank them both for sharing their knowledge."

From Sherry Mastrogiacomo, Orlando, Florida

"Birgit, I wanted to let you know that I finally got a chance to work Bria in the round pen today using Chris's techniques and it was the best we've ever done together. My husband was amazed as I was able to get her following me at liberty. Before her injury and lay up, I was working her regularly, but, she would be very resentful and angry and no bonding was taking place at all. After watching the videos that you suggested and being very careful not to push her head, we had a huge break through today!!! Thank you so much! I have a long way to go, but, at least now I'm on the right track!!"

From Lisanne Hendriks, Holland:

"My time at the Falling Star Ranch was fantastic. I never thought that I could learn so much in just one week. You learn so much by following and watching Birgit all day and asking as many questions as you like. She takes the time to explain everything really well, even when she is riding a horse. And the two private sessions a day are perfect. You can try everything that you have seen all day yourself with the help of Birgit. And if the weather is not perfect, do not worry there are many DVDs with lots of information about the Chris Irwin method. The mentorship at Falling Star Ranch was an amazing experience. I would recommend it to everyone that wants to learn how you can really work together with your horse, and build a really strong and good relationship with your horse."

From Riette Kenkel, Valemount, British Columbia:

"Hey Birgit, I just want to once again thank you for the great job you did training Sam last year. She is so nice to ride, and every time we get her out on the trail her confidence increases a little more. She's so soft in the bit, listens to our voice commands, and responds to the most subtle movements. I just love her! Thanks!"

From Noia Wyss, Switzerland:

"I decided to do a mentorship program at Falling Star Ranch because I really wanted to find a new way to work with horses. I was not happy with the way I used to work with and train horses. I knew that the horse has a lot of effect on me in general but after a while just training horses I found out that I was just mad at myself all the time because I didn't have the skills to deal with young horses and I was mad at the horse and had no patience anymore. I hated the way I was but I didn't know how to changes things and do things better. I was thinking of quitting training horses, thinking it's not for me anymore. I like working with one horse and building a good relationship with that individual horse. Then I can have a lot of patience.
I came across Falling Star Ranch on the Internet, when I was looking for a ranch where they do some kind of horsemanship. I didn't know of Chris Irwin at all, but I had read some articles on the Internet about him and I really liked the way he sees the horse and helps the horses.
With the mentorships program I had two lessons a day and the rest of the day I watched the other lessons and training sessions. I took a lot of notes and it really helped me to understand everything.
During my stay at Falling Star Ranch it rained a lot, but I was still able to learn a lot between the rains and the storms. At the beginning I was even afraid to go close to the herd because everything was so different. I had to be so aware of everything and I was really not used to that! My first riding lesson was a revelation. I felt like a total beginner. The week before I arrived at Falling Star Ranch, I was jumping 4 feet with different horses and here I had a hard time to work the horse at a walk! I was so sore just riding for 45 minutes at the walk. I had to put my ego aside and accept that "I don't know everything". But it's a great thing too.
I'm just amazed at the method and how using horse psychology changes the horses. Chris Irwin's method is based on body language, the language of the horse, as well as our body language. I feel like I was blind for so many years and it's like I finally opened my eyes and realized how a horse lives. The horses are prey animals and as humans we act as predators, and this can scare the horse, and if we don't pay attention to what the horse tells us with its body, then we just don't get the respect and trust.
In mid-August, I attended a train-the-trainer certification clinic with Chris Irwin at Riversong Ranch in Whitecourt and received my certification in the Chris Irwin methodology. I look forward to keep improving my skills and being able to help people with their horses and horses with their riders. I'm going back to Switzerland at the end of the fall and I hope I will be able to help as much as I'm able to and show and spread this method around! I know that people, especially Europeans, are looking for a better way to work with their horses but they don't really know how! So I am excited to see how it will change!
I really enjoyed my stay at Falling Star Ranch. The people and horses are great! I felt like I was living in a different world, like in a dream!! No matter what's going on in the world you're just in a peaceful place where the horses are the king. I hope I can come back to Falling Star Ranch in the future ;)."

From Lisanne Hendriks, Holland:

"Thanks for all your time the last couple of months I learned so much from you. You really changed the way I see horses and how I work with them and that means so much to me. And it is so nice to know that I can always come to you when I have problems with horses. Thank you so much. I look forward to learn more and more. THANKS SO MUCH!!!!"

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Page last updated May 18, 2013

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