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

 

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Contact Info

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

Working Student Positions

 

Are you looking for a farm stay/ranch stay experience in Canada?
Would you like to experience life on a horse ranch that practices natural horsemanship (non-resistance) training methods?
Would you like to expand your natural horsemaship skills?

Then come to Falling Star Ranch in Dunster in British Columbia's beautiful Robson Valley in Western Canada
for the experience of a lifetime!

Applications for 2014 are now being accepted.
Please carefully read over the following page before applying.

Falling Star Ranch also offers mentorship programs.
These programs are different from our working student program in that the mentees are not involved in the day-to-day running of the ranch and therefore are able to immerse themselves into horsemanship full-time.
Now accepting applications for 2014 for the mentorship programs.
Click here for more information.

Please note:
Preference is given to applicants for working student positions who have completed at minimum a one-month mentorship program at Falling Star Ranch.
A working student position is, however, not guaranteed upon completion of the mentorship program and depends on availability of working student positions and skill level of the applicant.
Non-resident (non-Canadian) working students need to have a valid working holiday visa in order to work at Falling Star Ranch.

Falling Star Ranch is a small training and lesson barn located in British Columbia's Robson Valley, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and Cariboo Mountains and endless wilderness. We currently own thirteen horses, some of which are used as lesson horses while others are being started under saddle or are already in more advanced or specialized training.

Working students receive a comprehensive education in all aspects of our horse business, including horse health care, feeding and stable management, tacking/untacking, tack care, as well as horse handling. Working students basically learn how to run a farm. If interested, working students may also help out with other aspects of the business, such as advertising and marketing, web design, and other computer related tasks.

Working students work full-time as volunteers, 6 days a week with one day off per week. This position, like any agricultural business, is not a 9-5 job. Days are long and hard. It is a lifestyle for those who don't mind working long, hard days in any weather conditions.

Working students receive room and board and riding, horsemanship and groundwork lessons (time and weather permitting) with Chris Irwin Gold Certified Coach and Trainer Birgit Stutz in exchange for working on the farm, in both horse-related and non-horse related activities (including, but not limited to gardening, housework, cooking, baking, weeding, general maintenance of buildings, gathering and stacking firewood). Horse-related activities include general farm chores such as feeding and watering livestock, cleaning pens and shelters, turning out horses, haying, fencing, painting fences, grooming horses, tacking up and untacking horses, cleaning tack, medicating horses, and assisting with the handling of horses, etc. Depending on their skill level, working students may also assist with exercising and training of horses (lungeing, round penning and other groundwork, as well as riding).

Working students from non-English speaking countries get a chance to improve their English language skills. However, it is important that working students already have a good working knowledge of the English language. Working students also get to meet local residents as well as attend and participate in local events (see recreation). In the past, working students have come from Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Holland, France, England and Australia. Several of our working students have become certified Chris Irwin trainers. Click here for more info on past working students.

OPPORTUNITIES:
All working students, regardless of prior experience, start out at the same level. Working students earn authority, privileges and responsibilities based upon their performance, work ethic, problem solving skills, riding and horsemanship skills, etc. The working student
gets out of the program what he/she puts into it. As working students develop in their own horsemanship, both on the ground and in the saddle, they gradually get to take part in the teaching of lessons and training of horses and eventually develop into "assistant coaches and trainers" (depending on length of stay).

Many opportunities exist within the program (depending on the working student's skill level and length of stay), including:
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Overseeing new apprentices
- Helping with the training of young, green and "problem" horses
- Riding advanced horses in training and schooling sessions

- Assisting with lessons, clinics and workshops

- Participation in a Chris Irwin clinic or a private/semi-private lesson with Chris Irwin (at their cost) and, depending on their skill level, may ask for an evaluation to become certified by The Irwin Institute for Equestrian Arts.

REQUIREMENTS AND QUALIFICATIONS:
- Preference is given to applicants who have a healthy comfort level around young horses, problem horses, and stallions, have experience handling and riding young horses and difficult horses, have a good, solid seat, soft hands and following elbows, and know how to ride a horse from back to front into a frame with effective seat and leg aids.
- A
keen interest in learning Chris Irwin's non-resistance training methods is required. Working students are expected to study in their sparetime our extensive DVD collection of Chris Irwin training videos to accelerate their horsemanship skills.
- Horse training is a physically demanding occupation. You MUST be physically fit and able to carry out the demands of the job, which includes, but is not limited to, handling horses, cleaning shelters/pens/stalls, hauling water buckets, unloading feed bags, stacking hay, lifting heavy saddles, etc.
- A good working knowledge of the English language is important.
- Working students need to be able to think ahead, solve problems, work well alone as well as with others.
- Working students must be hard working, reliable, trustworthy, responsible, self-motivated, and able to stay on task even when the going gets rough. A good work ethic and a positive attitude are essential. A love of nature and a willingness to live in a remote area (the closest small town is 25 km away) is also required.
- Working students must have a commitment to improving oneself through physical development (general physical fitness, strengthening, flexibility development), as well as intellectual and emotional development.
- Working students must have a commitment to the further development of one's education, and must take responsibility for their own learning.
- Required minimum length of stay is two consecutive months. Longer stays are encouraged to make the most out of your stay. Experience has shown us that it takes the average volunteer two to four weeks to get into the swing of things.
- It is advantageous for a working student to have a clear idea of where they are heading in their riding/career.
- Every working student is required to carry personal liability insurance that covers horse-related activities. Insurance can be purchased through Horse Council BC for $60 a year if you don't have your own insurance (http://www.hcbc.ca/Individual-Membership.html?).

HOW TO APPLY:
- Applicants for working student positions must be at least 19 years old.
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The application for a working student position consists of a questionnaire as well as a video (no more than 10 minutes please!) of the applicant riding a horse at all three gaits (English or Western) as well as bareback at all three gaits, catching a horse in a corral/pasture (haltering), picking out feet as well as tacking (saddling and bridling) a horse. You can either post the video on YouTube and email us the link or mail us a CD. Please also include a resume as well as three references (one personal reference as well as two from riders/trainers/coaches). Please email us for more information about our working student program and to require an application form.
- A good
working knowledge of every day English language is very important. Otherwise, a stay in an English language school is highly recommended before your visit to Falling Star Ranch in order to make the most out of your stay.
- A $200 deposit per month is required to hold a spot in our working student program. The deposit will be returned at the end of the working student's stay.
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Local applicants (those within a 2-hour drive from Falling Star Ranch) will be expected to come for an interview in person. If you are not local, but willing and able to come for an interview, please indicate this on your resume/letter. All other applicants are required to do an interview by phone or via Skype.
- If you are accepted as a working student, your acceptance is on a "probationary" status. After two weeks, your performance will be reviewed and a decision will be made whether you are to remain in the working student program. However, please be aware that at any time, we can terminate your apprenticeship based upon sub-performance (in your work or your riding/horse handling skills), inability to follow orders, inability to work well with others, dishonesty, mistreatment of the horses, etc.

Good blog on how to be a top working student
Working students from today and the past
Recreational opportunities
What to bring for a stay at Falling Star Ranch 

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Working students from today and from the past
(click on the links or pictures to read some of their comments
and see slideshows of their stay at Falling Star Ranch)

Ronja and Chris Irwin

Ronja from Germany
Length of stay:
April 2-August 20, 2013

Chris Irwin Bronze Certified
Trainer and Coach

Read a testimonial written by Ronja for her school website (in German)

Henna riding Cash
Henna from Germany
Length of stay:
June 5-July 27, 2012
No picture available

Kerry from Dunster, B.C.
Length of stay:
May 8-June 5, 2012

Kerstin riding Cody
Kerstin from Germany
Length of stay:
August 22-September 29, 2011
Dani riding MoJo
Daniela from Germany
Length of stay:
August 1-September 2, 2011
Isabel and Alberta
Isabel from Germany
Length of stay:
July 31-September 29, 2011
Clara and Shooter
Clara from Germany
Length of stay:
July 1-August 1, 2011
Chantal and Miho
Chantal from Switzerland
Length of stay:
May 10-July 13, 2011
Lou riding Fire

Louisa from Germany
Length of stay:
April 4-June 23, 2011

Chris Irwin Gold Certified
Trainer and Coach

Anja riding Alberta

Anja from Australia
Length of stay:
August 2, 2010 - August 30, 2010

 

Anina riding Cody

Anina from Switzerland
Length of stay:
June 13, 2010 - July 21, 2010

 

Justine and Bandit

Justine from France
Length of stay:
April 26, 2010 - June 21, 2010

 

Mandy riding Sam

Mandana from Germany
Length of stays:
April 15, 2010 - June 10, 2010
July 26-August 25, 2012

 

Annie riding MoJo

Anneke from Germany
Length of stays:
October 10, 2009 - December 10, 2009
July 3-July 27, 2010
July 9- August 4, 2011
June 23-July 27, 2012

Chris Irwin Bronze Certified
Trainer and Coach

 

Lia and Alberta

Lia from Australia
Length of stay:
October 24, 2009 - November 16, 2009

 

 

 

 

Marjolein riding Sam

Marjolein from The Netherlands
Length of stays:
July 29-September 28, 2009
July 12-August 30, 2010

Chris Irwin Gold Certified
Trainer and Coach

 

Alana riding Sam

Alana from Germany
Length of stays:
June 13-August 7, 2009
July 15-August 23, 2010
July 31-August 21, 2011
August 17-September 29, 2012
August 6-31, 2013

 

Chris Irwin Bronze Certified
Trainer and Coach

 

Corinne and Alberta

Corinne from Switzerland
Length of stay:
April 4, 2009 - September 28, 2009

Chris Irwin Bronze Certified
Trainer and Coach

 

Marina riding Sam

Marina from Austria
Length of stay:
September 29, 2008 - November 9, 2008

 

 

 

Urs on trike

Urs from Switzerland
Length of stay:
July 28 - August 4, 2008

 

 

 

Susanne riding Cody

Susanne from Switzerland
Length of stay:
July 23 - 28, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bianca and Shooter

Bianca from The Netherlands
Length of stay:
July 8 - September 26, 2008

 

 

 

Corinna with Charley and Jake

Corinna from Germany
Length of stay:
July 10 - September 11, 2008

 

 

 

Pat and EA Shades of Fire

Pat from Switzerland
Length of stay:
May 4 - July 2, 2008

 

 

 

 

Marcia and Bandit

Marcia from Holland
Length of stay:
April 3 - June 20, 2008

 

 

 

Corina from Switzerland riding TS Bold Cody

Corina from Switzerland
Length of stay:
July 9 - November 3, 2007

 

 

 

Fabienne from Austria riding Bandit up Lucille Mountain

Fabienne from Austria
Length of stay:
July 17 - August 6, 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cowgirl Dominique and Bold Cody exploring the Falling Star Ranch property

 

Dominique from Switzerland
Length of stay:
July 2006

 

 

 

 

 

No picture available

 

 

Petra from Switzerland
Length of stay:
July 2006

 

 

Desiree and Katharina from Austria on a Swift Current Creek backcountry day ride

Desiree and Katharina from Austria
Length of stay:
3 weeks (August 2005)

 

 

 

 

Jeanine from Switzerland helping with Miho

Jeanine from Switzerland
Length of stay:
1 week in July 2005

 

 

 

 

Tanja from Switzerland riding TS Bold Cody

Tanja from Switzerland
Length of stays:
3 weeks (mid-May to beginning of June 2004)
1 week in September 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karin from Switzerland on a short hike

Karin from Switzerland
Length of stays:
1 week in August 2001
11 weeks (July-September 2002)
1 week in October 2004

 

 

 

 

 

Sabrina from Switzerland  with one of our cats

Sabrina from Switzerland
Length of stay:
September 5 - November 30, 2004

 

 

Corinne from Switzerland and Jake

Corinne from Switzerland
Length of stay:
September 5 - November 30, 2004

 

 

 

Marina from Switzerland riding Bold Cody on a trail ride in the Rocky Mountains

Marina from Switzerland
Length of stay:
July 17 - August 14, 2003

 

 

 

 

 

Bettina and Bandit

Bettina from Switzerland
Bettina comes to Falling Star Ranch for a week or two almost every year and helps out wherever needed. She is a gem.

 

 

 

 

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Recreational opportunities

The Robson Valley is in close proximity to the world-famous Mount Robson, highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, as well as a 90-minute drive from Jasper National Park. The recreational opportunites in the area are endless.

 

Recreational activities
in the summer time
Recreational activities
in the winter time
  • Trail riding
  • Hiking
  • Nature walks
  • Interpretive trails
  • Biking
  • Mountain biking
  • Golfing
  • Campfires
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Farmers markets
  • Trips to Jasper National Park
  • River rafting
  • Float tours
  • Kayaking
  • Canoeing
  • Climbing
  • Helicopter tours
  • Parades
  • Rodeos
  • Dunster Ice Cream Social
  • Dances
  • Music festival
  • Cattle drives
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Downhill skiing in Jasper
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sledding/Tobogganing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Dogsledding
  • Ice-skating
  • Ice fishing
  • Heli-skiing
  • Hockey
  • Curling
  • Dances
  • Volleyball
  • Badminton

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Campfires and cookouts Campfire evening at the Falling Star Ranch (Birgit, Marc and Desiree)

Corinna cooking a marshmellow

Marc singing cowboy songs

 

Marc playing the guitar

   

Hiking

Corinne, Sabrina and Birgit's sister Karin on a hike to a waterfall near McBride

Pat hiking in the alpine

Biking

Corina on a bike tour

Pat biking on Read Road

Canoeing and boating

Katharina and Desiree on a canoe trip on the Fraser River

Corinne on a boat trip in Jasper National Park

Rafting

River rafting

Helicopter tours

Pat boarding helicopter

Trail riding

Trail riding in the alpine

Trail riding in the alpine

Parades

Fall Fair Parade

Fall Fair Parade

Dances

Ready for the dance at the Dunster Community Hall (Sabrina, Birgit, Corinne and family friend Harold)

Ready for the dance

 

Snowshoeing

Annie snowshoeing

Snowshoeing at the Falling Star Ranch

Rodeos

Birgit riding Machlon in barrel race

 

 

Marc, Birgit and Jaci with Nadeika and Alyosha from Belarus

Birgit, Marc and Jaci with Nadeika and Alyosha from Belarus at the Jasper Heritage Rodeo and Dance, which takes place every year in August

 

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Birgit on Joker, Sabrina on Cody and Karin on Bandit are ready for a trail ride on a fall day

Birgit on Joker, Sabrina on Cody and Karin on Bandit are ready
for a trail ride on a fall day.

 

Please email or call us for information regarding volunteer/working student positions. We'd love to hear from you! Limited availability of positions.

Falling Star Ranch now also offers mentorship programs for a fee. These programs are different from our volunteer/working student program in that the mentees are not required to work in exchange for learning more about horsemanship, but instead are able to immerse themselves into horsemanship full-time. Click here for more information on our mentorship programs.

Three cowgirls at the Falling Star Ranch

Three cowgirls - Corinne, Sabrina and Birgit -
riding Bandit, TS Bold Cody and Rockn W Jody

Three cowgirls at the Falling Star Ranch

Page last updated July 29, 2014

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