Willow Ranch would not exist without the inspiration that came from Irwin Insights.
Once upon a time there was a young Dutch girl who loved her horses. Her passion for learning about horses would draw her to venture away from the Netherlands to Canada where she would spend a summer totally immersed as an apprentice in horse training. It was on a ranch in the mountains of British Columbia that Lissy was introduced to a revolutionary method of horsemanship known as Irwin Insights.
At first, Lissy admits she struggled a bit. Irwin Insights was not easy. It seemed to be the opposite to everything she had been taught about horses. However, it didn’t take long before she was seeing incredible transformational results with the horses. The Dutch have a saying: “In the land of the blind, the man with one eye is King.” And for Lissy, Irwin Insights was quickly becoming an eye-opening, life-changing experience!
Like so many well-intentioned equestrians, when Lissy left the Netherlands for training in Canada, she did not know what she did not know about what was missing in the relationship with her own horse, a big beautiful warmblood by the name of Willow. But when she returned to the Netherlands she was amazed at how immediately responsive and appreciative Willow was for her new knowledge and skills! Before Irwin Insights Willow also did not know what Lissy did not know. But when she returned to her own horse after studying Irwin Insights, it was dramatically clear and evident to Lissy that suddenly, now Willow did know what she did know!
Knowledge is power. And positive results build confidence. Suddenly, what had always seemed like a dream was becoming a potential reality. Lissy and her sister, Claire, had long imagined owning and operating a horse business together where they could realize their heartfelt goal of making the world a better place for horses. But they also knew how often the road to hell can be paved with good intentions. They had been afraid that their dream of owning their own horse business could too easily turn into a nightmare! But as Lissy shared what she learned about Irwin Insights with Claire, and the two sisters trained together and continued to see better and even more amazing results with their own horses, it wasn’t long before their dream was looking more and more possible.
Long story short, it didn’t take long before Lissy and Claire moved with their parents, Teun and Nicolette, from the Netherlands to Canada, to start their own guest ranch and educational retreat. And of course, it was the love of horses that brought together Lissy and her husband, Simon. Now Lissy, Simon, and Claire, are a family team dedicated to serving the horses and public as Master Certified Irwin Insights Trainers.
We believe that life is best lived if we are doing what we love and loving what we do. For the team at Willow Ranch this is our path. And our greatest reward is always during that special “ah-hah” moment of recognition when we see that our guests now know what they didn’t know about horses, and the horses know the guests know, and the guests know that the horses know they know. It is magical! We didn’t think it could get much better. And then it did!
Long before the Covid Crisis of 2020 shut down international travel, Chris Irwin was searching for an international home base of operations. Having coached a few clinics at Willow Ranch each season during the past few years, Chris, and his wife, Sofie, had very much come to appreciate their time at the ranch. As Chris says, “There are barns, farms and arenas all over the world. And everybody says they love their horses. But it is the integrity and genuine hospitality of the people at Willow Ranch that I see as the charm, the grace, and the real magic.”
In October 2020 Chris and Sofie moved to Willow Ranch. Chris is cutting back substantially on his international travel to clinics and is now offering a wide variety of clinics and courses “from home” at Willow Ranch beginning in May 2022.
More info on Irwin Insights
We would advise anyone working with horses to check out the Irwin Insights some more. Life just gets so much better when you can understand your horse and your horse can understand you. We see the results every day and still feel truly lucky that Irwin Insights has come on our path. Please check out www.chrisirwin.com for more info on Chris and Irwin Insights.
We're super excited that Chris decided to bring out online courses! Please check out www.mindyourhorse.com for great quality courses! The first one (Horsethink) is online and we can truly say that the Mind your horse team did an amazing job! High quality videos with clear explanation and great online support from Chris and his coaches are making it possible to really learn a lot from home at your own pace.