An all inclusive Irwin Insights Vacation.

Mental Health Practitioners ~ Masters Course

A 5-day Master Certification course designed exclusively for practitioners in all modalities of equine assisted personal or professional development.



Participants are required to have qualifications as a mental-health professional, counsellor, certified life coach, or facilitator by a recognized equine assisted governing organization such as EAGALA, EFHMA or NCEFT.

Participants do not need to have previous experience with horses.  



The horses in most EA programs are merely used as catalysts to spur human emotions from participants.  This experience enables the therapist to make a metaphorical transfer from the interactions with the horse to how the person relates to challenges in life and relationships with people.  

This modality is limited and controversial for two reasons.  First, the approach is not respectful or considerate enough of the emotional well-being of the horses.  Secondly, people need more than mere metaphors to experience practical and truly meaningful insights into their own behavior.

Irwin Insights significantly raises the bar of efficacy, ethics, and sustainability in EA coaching.  Practical life-lessons in accountability and responsiveness are enriched as participants change their behavior to become who the horses truly need us to be as leaders, teachers, healers, and caretakers.

Far beyond games and metaphors is the physics of metaphysics where we learn to balance practical essential life skills such as awareness with focus, patience with decisiveness, sensitivity with assertiveness, and boundaries with receptivity, all while building upon a foundation of consistency, clarity, compassion, calm and confidence.

When EA therapists, counselors and coaches can reach beyond theory and metaphors and become well-grounded in their practice of real-live essential horse handling skills, then and only then are we mentoring the actions that lead by example.  

When are the metaphors appropriate and meaningful?  Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychology, said that the connection between our conscious and unconscious minds is much like the relationship between a horse and rider. 

First, to not put the proverbial cart before the horse, we need to develop a much deeper personal understanding and greater practical ability with horses.  With Chris Irwin’s revolutionary insights into the mind and behavior of horses we have a new paradigm for bringing metaphors into meaningful practice in the personal training and psychological development of our own inner horses.   As Oscar Wilde said, “Far back in the recess of our minds, a dark horse prances.”  



Approximately ½ of each course day consists of private and small group coaching with Chris and his team of Master Certified Trainers in the practical skills with horses.  

The remainder of each day is dedicated to private and small group discussions that delve deeply into how the insights with horses transfer into a new awareness for our understanding and managing of our own behavior.  

Healer, heal thyself, by first and foremost understanding, connecting with, and keeping our own Freudian inner-horses “in-hand”.  As we learn what the horses truly need from our authentic leadership skills in real-life then we are much more aligned, tuned in to ourselves, and better able to train our own inner horses.  We discover new practical insights on how best to be level-headed, calm, and collected, as we lead ourselves and others. 

The Hold Your Horses Course offers practical experiential learning in:


  • • Increased self-awareness for the cause & effect of your body language

  • • Understand the counter-intuitive psychology of horses

  • • Learn to read the most nuanced body language of horses

  • • Develop essential handling and groundwork skills with horses

  • • Enhanced awareness of self, relationships & environment

  • • Developing focus for personal accountability

  • • Developing confidence as the calm within the storm

  • • Redefining the essence of boundaries

  • • Enhanced awareness for balance in body, mind, and spirit

  • • Redefining past experiences to increase presence in the moment 

  • • Redefining how to develop confidence and courage

  • • Embracing the vulnerability of coaching

  • • Find the courage to see the difference between illusions and intuition

  • • Transmuting blame and anger into acceptance and forgiveness 

  • • Transforming uncertainty and chaos into creativity and opportunity



The Hold Our Horses course includes daily theory sessions along with private and group coaching with the horses. 

A credit/Skill Certificate is issued upon completion of the course.  1St Level Master Certification in Irwin Insights requires a total of 10 credits.

Additional credits/skill certificates for essential handling skills and groundwork exercises can be achieved in this course during the time dedicated to training with the horses.

Each of the following Insights can be achieved to earn additional credits towards Master Certification.


  • • Horse Handling Essentials:  Levels 1 & 2 = 2 credits

  • • Loose Leading:     Levels 1 & 2 = 2 credits

  • • In-Hand Leading:   Levels 1 & 2 = 2 credits

  • • Lunge:  Levels 1 & 2 = 2 credits

  • • Round Pen: = 1 credit 

  • • Long Lines (Ground Driving): Levels 1 & 2 = 2 credits

Upcoming Date(s):

Due to COVID-19 we will not have courses in 2021,  but stay tuned for 2022 dates

All Inclusive

All the Irwin Insights courses are All inclusive, this means that we completely take care of you! You do not have to worry about anything, and can completely focus on processing all the information you receive during the course.

While staying in one of our cozy and state-of-the-art cabins the Willow Ranch team will take care of all your meals, snack and drinks. 


At Willow Ranch we love to take care of people, so we will make sure that we will do everything we can to provide you with everything you need. 

Do you want to relax a bit after a day of learning, and want to see the beautiful nature around the ranch? Our guides love to take you on a short ride at the end of the course day.  Do you want to wake up watching the horses while enjoying delicious Italian espresso? The Willow Ranch team will make sure you get that. Are you worried how to get to the ranch from Edmonton Airport? Our shuttle will take care of that! Wondering what to do in your down time? Use of our gym, library and "ranchgames" are also included.

We believe that offering all inclusive, really means all inclusive! 


The use of our horses for the course is also included, but if you prefer to bring your own horse(s). We have a horse hotel where your horse can stay in during the course. And of course this is also included in the course. 

Other Options

Its important to us that everyone can enjoy a holiday at Willow Ranch exactly how they like it. 

Thats is why we like to offer some different options of how you can join us for the course besides our all inclusive option.


Join for the course and the meals, but stay somewhere else. A great option for guest that are traveling with their own camper or RV (we have some spots on the ranch where you can park your RV). 


Join in for the full course but take care of your own meals. A great option for guest that live in the area.

More info and Sign Up

To sign up or for more information on our course please send us an email  (info@willowranchvalemount.com) or give us a call ( +1 250 566 4100)