To register for these classes, please click on the ‘application form’ tab located on the homepage
For course information, please read below for all course information regarding the advanced course
In response to the current Covid-19, all 2021 classes require a $100 non refundable deposit for registration to be complete. The remaining balance for classes are due 2 weeks prior to the course start date.
March 29-May 07, 2021 – Langley, BC – Open
Monday-Thursday, 8am-5pm daily, Fridays, 8am-12
Valley Therapeutic Riding Association
3330 – 256th Street, Langley, BC
RV site may be available.
Contact Julie at: [email protected]
June 14-July 23, 2021 – Guelph, ON – Open
Monday-Thursday 8am-5pm daily, Fridays 8am-12
Old Orchard Farm
12386 1st Line Nassagaweya, Milton, ON
Limited accommodations available
Contact Linda at: [email protected]
August 02-September 10, 2021 – Edmonton, AB – Open
Monday-Thursday 8am-5pm daily, Fridays 8am-12
W.E.L.C.A. – Whitemud Equestrian Learning Centre
12504 Fox Drive
Self contained RV sites available.
Contact: [email protected]
One of the changes that has occurred due to COVID-19, is the viewing of videos. All videos have now been downloaded onto USB sticks for home viewing rather than viewing in class. This has modified the class times to be slightly shorter each day as class typically concludes around 4pm. Students must have the use of a computer during the duration of the course so they can view the DVDs. If a student does not have a computer, please inform the instructor at the time of registration so alternate arrangements can be made.
Each student will research and make a presentation to the class of any natural equine health care modality. Topics include but are not limited to: equine taping, essential oils, herbs for horses, reiki, hoof care based on nutrition, magnesium for horses, vibrating plates, thermal imaging, PEMF. Each student must make their selection prior to the course start date so they will have sufficient time to research their topic. Presentations may be with hand outs, slide show, Bristol board etc. Each presentation is approx. 30 minutes in length and will be done the last week of the course. Each student will have their own topic to research – there will be no repeat or shared topics.
When can I sign up for a course?
You may register for a course once it appears on the application form – located under the ‘application form’ button on the top right side of the web site.
A person may sign up for a course even the day before – there is no cut off date.
Are there any prerequisites for this course? Do I have to take the shorter massage course first?
No, you do not need to take the 7 day massage course first. The only prerequisite is the homework that is on line – located under the ‘homework’ button at the top of the web site page. The homework pass code is given to all registrants so everyone can study the same material prior to the course start.
What are the hours?
The course is from 8am-4pm daily Monday -Thursday, Fridays, classes are concluded no later than noon.
The total number of hours this course is rated for is 306 – this includes both actual in class hours and homework allotment.
Is everything taught in the shorter course included in the advanced class?
Yes, all information is included in the advanced course that is taught in the advanced course – with much, much more – see next questions.
What is the difference between the shorter massage course and the advanced course?
The information provided in the shorter course is enough to start a career in the equine massage field, but the course allows for either only a small amount of working time to try the techniques that I teach, or for me to talk about the specific area of issue with no hands on work.
The best example I have is working with the ribs. During the 6 day course, we do massage the ribs (of course); however in the extended course not only do we massage the ribs but we have to time to actually work the ribs. I also show 2 additional massage techniques in this course that I do not share in the 6 day course.
There is more time so that students can be given the opportunity to gain experience and confidence in what their hands – and most importantly – understanding what the horse is telling them! I know that this seems fairly obvious – more time – but it is an integral part of this course. The ratio of book work to hands on time in the 6 day course is 30:70. In the advanced course it is 20:80 – significantly more hands on work.
With regard to the massage therapy area of the 6 day course, we have 3 days to cover the information. The next 2 days are based on treatments and assessment of various issues. The last day is the final massage where students put this information together and assess and massage the horses based on their needs. During the shorter massage course, this is done once.
During the advanced course, beginning on the 6th day of the course, assessments and massages are done daily for up to 2 hours per day. That’s days of assessing and working with the horses based on the horse’s needs. (yes my math is correct as the VR course takes up 4 days of the course). This works out to approx. 34 assessments and massages vs 1 assessment and massage.
In the advanced course, all treatments are thoroughly explored and there is sufficient time for students to work with the horses. In the massage course, I am able to explain the issue and show how to assess for the issue – no designated massage time. In the extended course, the issue is explained, the horses are assessed, and they are worked on each day based on the information covered at that point and the horse’s needs.
There are more treatments in this course.
There are more massage techniques.
There are more assessment techniques.
Combining the palpation techniques with knowledge of both the skeletal and muscular systems, we paint the bones and the muscles onto the horses – a great teaching tool for any grads that wish to show movement assessment at events!
This course also spends significantly more time in business acumen – approx. 20+ hours
The Vertebral Realignment and Joint Play course is included in this course.
Another aspect of this course that is not offered in the massage course is my personal demonstration of massage and VR technique (if required by the horse). In the 7 day course, I teach people how to massage using various techniques, safe stretches, etc; however, in the advanced course, I will actually demonstrate for the class how I massage in a 1-1/2-2 hour session. This is the aspect of the course where students can get a chance to watch and learn how 25 years of soft tissue experience along with effective communication with the horse can be blended together to create a unique massage that is custom tailored to the horse’s needs. When I was a practicing human massage therapist, I would attend meetings with other therapists for demonstration sessions. This was our opportunity to learn from other therapists as they demonstrated various techniques – a very effective tool!
I have been working in the massage industry for over 30 years, and I still don’t know everything about soft tissue – no one can. All we can do is put in the time and effort so that we can learn.
This course allows for more time to not only learn more information, but to also allow the student to get comfortable, confident and to trust that what their hands, and the all important input from the horse, is telling them.
I have also included the Vertebral Realignment and Joint Play course. Palpation techniques of bones, assessment of joints, proper hand placement, proper thrusting technique – and most importantly – absolutely no mallets.
This course allows for much more hands on time with the horses. As there is significantly more time, more information is also included in this course:
More anatomy, groundwork and handling techniques – how to get the horses to move and how to get them to stay and accept the work we offer, more treatments, business acumen, communication skills (with owners), along with general equine care.
Our treatments include, but are not limited to:
Cervical, thoracic, lumbar and scapular injuries, including the mobilization of these joints
Limb injuries including lower limb swelling reduction and hydrotherapy techniques
Mobilization techniques of limbs, scapula and joints
Thigh and stifle work
Head and face work
Movement of CSF and deep fascial release technique
Lower limb swelling reduction technique (lymphatic drainage)
More assessment techniques
Colic relief technique – in 2011, I had the privilege to work on 3 horses during the course that had developed colic. The treatments took an average of 30 minutes! Beats walking the horse for hours on end!
This is the ‘short list’ – there are 11 different treatments taught for the head and neck alone based on specific issues.
More aspects of the course that are not covered in the 7 day massage course:
Painting/coloring of the bones and major muscle groups – yes, we will be actually painting/coloring the horses with non toxic pastels
Behavioral issues with physical origins (is covered in the 7 day course, but more in depth in this course)
Assessment of the horse in motion
Assessment of conformation – functionality over form
Various massage techniques that are taught exclusively by me as this work is a compilation of my work as a human registered massage therapist which I have taken and transposed into working with the horses.
No one else in the country can teach this information as it is based on my experiences, courses that I have taken (in human massage techniques) and transposed to work with the horses in a safe and effective way, and work that I have done with the horses to make the techniques I teach safe for both therapist and horses.
Horsemanship – in the Kamloops locations, Janice Jarvis will be your teacher. 5 Lessons with one of the most learned, patient, dynamic teachers of natural horsemanship! Perhaps Dave may join in too along with Lenox if we ask nicely!
in the Edmonton and Guelph courses Sidonia McIntyre will be your teacher.
You will not learn information from me that can be read in any book!
Will I be taught what to look for when the horse is in motion?
Absolutely yes! In the 7 day course, we do not have time to assess based on motion. In this course we will watch the horses as they move and learn how to see where they have a deficiency of motion.
Will I be taught how to paint/color muscles and bones on the horse?
Yes, palpation of bones is part of this course, along with learning how to paint/color the muscles and bones on the horse. This is a great tool for business and can be done for demonstration purposes to show how the muscles interact with each other during movement. We use non toxic pastels in this segment.
I’m not so good at ‘book work’. How heavily is book work weighed in this course?
There are many people in this position. Ultimately, it is of vital importance that my grads know how to work with the horses. The horses do not care if you can pronounce ‘brachiocephalicus’. The horses want you to be able to assess and work on the areas appropriately.
The hands on aspect of the testing is weighed at 80% and the written testing is 20%. A person can get perfect on every test, and struggle with the hands on work, or vice versa. My job is to pay attention to both aspects and help students with their weak areas and praise the strong areas.
Nobody in any of my courses is expected to massage like I massage. Frankly, nobody can massage the way I massage because it is personal and an expression of my abilities for that particular session. By the same token, I cannot massage the way any other person massages as it becomes an expression of their abilities.
When people begin to make the connection – that the massage is not meant to be a ‘mechanical’ thing where every manipulation is ‘text book perfect’, but instead flows freely as the muscles and the horse responds to the work, then the massage becomes their personal expression.
Imagine you are given a paint set – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. You have only painted with these colors. Then, one day a bit of the paint blends together creating a different color – shazam! The eyes have been opened to new possibilities of more colors. Massage is no different in the creative process.
I cannot teach creativity, but what I can do is create a safe environment where people are encouraged to let loose and actually begin to create. When we finally connect with the horses, that’s when the miracle of touch can do its finest work!
The difference in the massage techniques used, flow of the massage and the confidence of the students in this course grows by leaps and bounds from the first week in comparison to the last week – all done under full supervision so students can ask questions, check their pressure and learn how to read the horse’s responses to the work.
Is the Vertebral Realignment course included in this course?
Yes, as stated above, the VR course is included in this course.
Are accommodations included in the course cost?
No, accommodations are not included. It is up to the student to secure accommodations. www.airbnb.com is a very good site to search for accommodations or Kijiji is an excellent source for locating accommodations (“short term furnished accommodation” -and the search city name – can be used in the search engine to pinpoint ads). Please be safe, leave a paper trail, pay for deposits on line via bank transfers, get the address, phone number, full name of the owner and pictures (if possible) for the rental. Be sure to stress that you are looking for a quiet situation and you will be working from 8am-5pm daily.
The Edmonton facility has RV space available with no electricity, Please contact Diane at: [email protected]
There are rooms available at the Guelph facility – please contact Linda at: [email protected]
Are lunches included?
No, lunches are the responsibility of the student. Coffee, tea, cocoa, and the junk food bin are provided. There are refrigerators and microwaves at all 3 facilities.
Are there any prerequisites?
For this class, you will need a computer that can accommodate a USB stick.
The prerequisite is the homework. The log in information will be provided once the student has registered for the course.
Is there a minimum age requirement?
Yes, just like the massage course, the age minimum requirement is 16 or turning 16 during the year.
Do we cover business?
Yes, the course covers business acumen.
I have been self employed since 1990 and I carry with me knowledge on how to work with people, run a profitable business and still have a life! – and I am willing to share this knowledge in this course.
If I have taken the 7 day massage course, do I receive a discount for this course?
Yes, there is a discount of $400 if the graduate has taken the short massage course within 3 years of graduation.
If I have taken another massage course from another person, can I receive a discount?
No, there is no discount for graduates from another massage program.
Is there testing?
Yes, there are written tests during the course. There are also hands on tests with the horses during the course. This ensures that those individuals that do not test well with written tests have an opportunity to do well with the hands on work – this hands on work is more heavily valued as the horses are the clients and aiding them in their well being is ultimately the most important aspect of the course.
Do I need to bring anything with me?
A hat and sunscreen (for working outside – weather permitting)
Although not mandatory, steel toed boots are highly recommended
A cushion to sit on as I provide stools and they can get quite uncomfortable or you can also
bring a chair – the collapsible chairs are quite popular
weather smart clothing – in the winter, layer and bring hand warmers, in the summer wear bug smart clothing as there are often stinging insects in the barn…
You may bring a camera with you on the last day for group pictures, but no pictures or video taping of the course is permitted
Everything you need is provided: pens, pencils, highlighter, paper and the course manual.
A computer is needed to view the DVDs for the course as they are downloaded onto a USB stick
Do I receive a certificate?
Yes, at the conclusion of the course, graduates will receive a certificate and may call themselves an “Certified Advanced Equine Sports Massage and Vertebral Realignment Therapist”.
For students from BC, when the graduate has successfully completed all required courses (and all required courses are offered at the same location within the period), then a certificate will be issued. The certificate in BC is: “Certified Advanced Equine Sports Myo-Massage and Vertebral Realignment Therapist”. In the province of BC the College of Massage Therapists (human) owns the term “massage therapy” in any and all forms, hence the need to modify the certification in BC.
What is the cost of the course?
$3499 + applicable taxes
AB and BC + 5% GST ($174.95) + $3673.95
$100 deposit required with registration
Remaining balance is due 2 weeks prior to the course start date
ON: 13% HST ($454.87)
$100 deposit required with registration
Remaining balance is due 2 weeks prior to the course start date
If a grad from the 7 day massage class wishes to enroll in the Advanced class within three years of graduation, there is
a discount of $400.
The facilities where all courses are taught are real working farms who have opened up their barn doors and have graciously allowed us all to come to their properties and work with their horses. This is a big plus as students get to work with horses in real-life environments and not attend a school where the horses are massaged constantly – students learn how to work with working horses! These farms have altered their daily schedules to accommodate the course – which is a disruption to their day to day working schedules. Having the luxury of working with these horses comes with responsibilities which include barn chores. In order to have access to the horses, we take on many of the responsibilities to aid the owners/staff which include: cleaning stalls, cleaning and filling buckets, tossing down hay, sweeping alleys, taking horses in and out and feeding. When everyone helps a little, barn chores can be done fairly quickly – many hands make light work!
It has not been unusual in my practice to have to go and fetch my horse from the field, muck out a stall that is not clean and to fill up a water bucket and feed the horse some hay. In an ideal world, the horse is already in the barn, groomed and the stall is mucked, but in the real world, things sometimes do not go according to plan… If I have a bad attitude about having to get a horse from the field, groom them and muck a stall and it puts me into a bad state of mind, then the ‘energy’ of the massage will be changed (and not for the good!); however, if I accept that sometimes I will have to do these chores, and I keep a cheery spirit, then it will not change my attitude and the ‘energy’ of the massage can progress in a quiet and peaceful way.
Be prepared to get your hands dirty!
How do I register for this course?
The application form is located under the “application form” tab
1) fill out the on line application form
2) make your non-refundable deposit payment via:
a) interac e-transfer (on line banking) or;
c) mail a cheque to the address listed on the application form (Sidonia McIntyre 2776 South Talbot Rd, Cottam, ON N0R 1B0 )
Please visit the FAQ section of the site where I have answered many other questions people have asked me about the courses.
If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail (best) or call and leave a detailed message with your name and telephone number – including your area code – and your call will be returned.
The ‘contact’ section of the web site will take you to the e-mail page.