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







Falling Star Ranch


Horse Training
Riding Lessons
Camps for Adults
Horse Whispering Demonstrations
Working Students
Horses for Sale
Lesson Horses
Saddle Horses
Foals and Young Stock
Biography Birgit Stutz
News and Info
Photo Gallery
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Contact Info

Falling Star Ranch

Birgit Stutz and
Marc Lavigne

General Delivery
Dunster, B.C.
V0J 1J0

Phone (250) 968-6801






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

- Chris Irwin





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Training, Lessons, Clinics
Workshops, Short Courses, Demos
Horsemanship Courses
Mentorships Programs
Student Programs

With Birgit Stutz, Irwin Insights Level 4 Master Certified Trainer

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 an evolutionary type of natural horsemanship (non-resistance training methods)?
Would you like to expand your natural horsemaship skills?

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


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 our 2017 mentorship programs.
Click here for more information.

Please note:
Preference is given to applicants for working student positions who have completed at minimum a two-week 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. We are, however, willing to train the right person who commits to a minimum stay of three months.
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 twelve 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. We also board several client horses.

Working students receive a comprehensive, practical education in all aspects of a horse business, including horse health care, grooming, feeding, stable management, tacking/untacking, tack care, as well as horse handling. Working students basically learn how to run a farm. Working students may also help out with other aspects of the business, such as advertising and marketing, web design, and other computer and office 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) based on Chris Irwin's non-resistance methodology (Birgit is an Irwin Insight Level 4 Master Certified Trainer, the first one to receive certification at this level in Canada, and as of December 2016 only the fourth one world-wide) 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, yard work, general maintenance of buildings, gathering and stacking firewood, snow removal, and various other tasks). 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 and length of stay (minimum two months), 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 as they will be fully immersed in the Canadian way of life. 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, Australia and Canada. Several of our working students have become certified Chris Irwin trainers.

All working students, regardless of prior experience (unless they are returning working students), 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. Each 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:
Overseeing new working students
- 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.

- 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 know how to ride a horse from back to front 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 and mentally 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 work independently as well as with others, and with consistent reliability, and take instructions.
- Working students need to be able to think ahead and solve problems.
- Working students must be honest, trustworthy, polite, reliable, responsible, self-motivated, keen, hardworking 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.
- Attention to cleanliness and detail is important as well. Overall, working students are expected to be positive team players who are willing to help out wherever needed.
- 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?).

- Applicants for working student positions must be at least 19 years old.
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.
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.

Advice on being a top working student
What is a working student in the horse-industry?
So you want to be a working student?
Recreational opportunities
What to bring for a stay at Falling Star Ranch 

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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 opportunities 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



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

Pat hiking in the alpine


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


River rafting

Helicopter tours

Pat boarding helicopter

Trail riding

Trail riding in the alpine

Trail riding in the alpine


Fall Fair Parade

Fall Fair Parade


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

Ready for the dance



Annie snowshoeing

Snowshoeing at the Falling Star Ranch


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 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 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 updatJanuary 15, 2017->->->


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