FAQ’ ~ Frequent Questions re: Horse Think Course & Optional Certification
What does it mean to have a “lifetime membership” in the Horse Think Course?
We call it a lifetime membership in the Horse Think Course because for a one-time only purchase you will have ongoing access to new, emerging content as Chris continually adds more and more information to the course over the years to come. This is just the beginning! There is already an unprecedented quality and quantity of training insights in the Training Before Schooling course and Chris will continue to share new videos and written articles exclusively “for members only” who take the course.
As Chris continues to work with horses and students in the months and years to come, he will continually add new ”case study” videos and written articles that further explore and explain the myriad of insights involved in Training Before Schooling. The information and education will indeed be an ongoing journey, not a destination, so there truly is no end to the learning opportunity!
Horse Think members will be in the “inner circle” of students who will continue to receive ongoing insights from Chris regarding Training Before Schooling concepts for as long as Chris is training and coaching. He just turned 60 but Chris has no intention of retiring as a trainer and coach anytime soon. So, your lifetime membership gives you direct access to the current course , all the new material Chris will be producing over the years to come as he meets and works with new horses and students, as well as never-ending support from Chris and his Coaches Cavalry of the best Master Certified Trainers on the Horse Think FB members page. In short, a lifetime membership means that as long as Chris is alive and working with people and horses, he will continue to contribute new content to the Horse Think Course and you will always have support available online.
What does it mean to “customize” my own course?
When doing his research to develop the Horse Think Course Chris discovered that most online courses are offered as “cookie cutter” lessons. Meaning, every student was expected to start at the same place and go through the same lesson process without any regard for who the student is, what their experience level is, or what their goals are.
For example, Frank does not ride but he does a lot of groundwork and he drives a pair of harness horses. Frank has personally worked one-on-one with Chris on a few occasions, but he is not currently certified. So Frank is not starting in the same place in the course as Evelyn who also does not ride but has already earned a few skills certificates in Irwin Insights from working with Chris live at clinics during the past few years. So, neither Frank nor Evelyn will be practicing any of the Irwin Insights related to riding, but they will both be working towards certification in their groundwork skills with horses. Having said that, Evelyn already has a few skills certificates in groundwork, so she is not starting the course at the same place as Frank. And then there is Kim, a professional riding instructor who has a lifetime of riding high level dressage, but she is new to Irwin Insights. Kim wants to earn certification in both groundwork and riding. So, Kim, despite all her experience in riding, will indeed be starting at the beginning of the course and working her way through every exercise. Kim does not have access to a Master Certified Trainer where she lives so she will rely on the FB support from the Coaches Cavalry to find her way forward with the insights. Now consider Jill, an amateur rider who has worked with Chris many times, many years ago, in both groundwork and riding. She is not a high-level rider like Kim, but she has indeed already been introduced to Irwin Insights but has never been certified. And Jill does have the support of a Master Certified Trainer where she lives. So for Jill, she will also be starting at the beginning to earn her skills certificates towards certification but she will likely progress through the course sooner than Kim (the more experienced pro rider) because she is already well on her way with many of the insights and she does have the support of a Master Certified Trainer.
The alchemy of how much lifetime experience a student has with horses, if they have any experience already with Irwin Insights, if they have already achieved some level of certification with Chris, if they have access to a certified trainer for coaching, and what are their goals with certification, all combine to make each student unique. So it is that the Horse Think course is designed so that you can “plug in” to the information to start and finish the course according to your own individual experience, opportunities, and goals.
Can I work through the course at my own pace?
YES! There is no structured timeframe that you are expected to adhere to. In fact, please take your time and do not rush! Work at your own pace and know that we are available to support you whether you are on a faster or slower track towards your goals for certification.
What is the difference between Skills Certificates and Master Certification?
Each specific lesson/exercise from the course can earn you a CREDIT when you send Chris a short video of you doing the exercise for review. Some of the exercises will be evaluated in Levels 1-2. Each level is valued as 1 credit.
For instance, the first exercise to submit a video for evaluation to earn a credit is titled: How to Catch (not capture) a Horse. This exercise is evaluated at LEVEL 1 for 1 CREDIT. Each credit earned from a successful video review will come with a SKILL CERTIFICATE that we will send you as a digital attachment you can download and print.
A Skill Certificate does NOT qualify as Certification – it is a certificate awarded for a specific exercise done well.
How do I achieve Master Level Certification?
To achieve MASTER LEVEL 1 requires a total of 10 credits/skill certificates. After earning 9 skill certificates when you earn your 10th skill certificate you will also receive MASTER CERTIFICATION LEVEL 1.
For each additional 5 skills credits earned you will rise up a level in Master Certification. 15 credits = Level 2 Master Certification all the way to 40+ credits to reach the peak of 7TH Level Master Certification in Irwin Insights.
Do I need to ride horses to be eligible for Master Certification?
No, you do not need to ride to be eligible for Master Certification. For any number of personal reasons there are plenty of coaches who offer groundwork training only. In this case, a Master Level 1 Certification can be achieved by attaining the first 10 credits in the course focused on Handling Essentials and Groundwork Exercises that do not involve riding.
YOU CAN EARN COACHING CREDITS!
It is one thing to learn how to clearly communicate with horses. It is another level to be able to teach! So it is that we offer COACHING CREDITS as well.
Once you have achieved a credit from a video submission demonstrating your new ability with the horses you can then progress to teaching the exercises you have achieved your credits in.
It is simple for Chris to evaluate your coaching skills because body language does not lie! Chris does not need to see you do your coaching of other people with horses. He does not need to hear a word you say as the coach. But when you upload a video of your student doing a specific exercise Chris will be able to SEE with his own eyes if the body language of your student is appropriate for the lesson they are showing on video with the horse. Bottom line, when you upload a short video of yourself, or your student with a horse, Chris will know within moments if you have taught them well!
So, for every lesson you can earn a credit by DOING with horses you can also earn a credit in COACHING. For instance: You can earn 2 credits for your ability to do Levels 1-2 In-Hand and you can also earn another 2 credits by proving with video submissions that you also have the ability to coach someone else at Levels 1-2 In-Hand.
What are the Levels of MASTER CERTIFICATION in Irwin Insights?
MASTER LEVEL 1 = 10 CREDITS
MASTER LEVEL 2 = 15 CREDITS
MASTER LEVEL 3 = 20 CREDITS
MASTER LEVEL 4 = 25 CREDITS
MASTER LEVEL 5 = 30 CREDITS
MASTER LEVEL 6 = 35 CREDITS
MASTER LEVEL 7 = 40 CREDITS (or more)
How do I go about submitting videos for feedback and/or evaluation by Chris?
Feedback on video submissions is free for all members of the Horse Think Course. Just join the Horse Think Members Only Facebook Page and you can upload videos anytime to our private FB page to receive feedback from Chris and/or the Coaches Cavalry. We ask you to keep the videos to just 1 specific exercise per video. Please do not submit multiple exercises for review in 1 long video. Each video only needs to be 2-5 minutes in length for the coaches to see if the exercises are being done correctly. For more information on the requirements for each video submission please review the CERTIFICATION GUIDE that comes with your library of video tutorials.
How Many Credits Can I Potentially Achieve in the Horse Think Course?
All told, there are 12 possible training credits you can earn with video submissions. And remember, another 12 credits can also be earned for COACHING, for a total of 24 credits and MASTER LEVEL 3 CERTIFICATION.
For students wanting to progress further than the 24 possible credits for training and coaching with this course please know that more courses are coming soon, including SCHOOLING TO SELF-CARRIAGE.
Why is this considered a “course” instead of a video library?
Good question! The language of horses is body language. A language of movement that we learn to read with our eyes. So, other than hands-on personal coaching from Chris or one of his top Master Certified Trainers, the most practical way to learn the insights Chris has to offer is through video. Still photos with text just do not even come close to being as affective a learning tool as video. But the Horse Think course has much more to offer than just a video library. A video library is a collection of information but is not necessarily structured in a progressive lesson format to maximize and facilitate your learning curve. Nor does a video library come with daily ongoing support from a group of Master Certified Trainers – The Coaches Cavalry – available exclusively to Horse Think course members on our private FB page for members only. And a video library may have lots of random information, but it does not include the opportunity for you to submit videos for Chris to personally evaluate for your skills certificate and certification.
Does the Horse Think Course affect my current certification with Irwin Insights?
No. For those who have already earned Skills Certificates or Master Certification in Irwin Insights our new online course does not affect your certification in any way. The insights and the requirements for certification are the same in our new online course as they have been these past few years, only now with a much better structure and a more clearly defined criteria for certification.
I already have Master Certification, why would I still take the Course?
Great question! If you already have a few Skills Certificates or a level of Master Certification then you have experienced what it is like to be coached by Chris and you know he is first and foremost a dedicated teacher and devout horse advocate. He is not a salesman! We sincerely hope you can trust that Chris is not trying to sell you a course you do not need!
What we’ve already been told by a few of the top certified trainers who have joined the Horse Think course is that they purchased the course because there is so much added value in having the available resource of so many Insights being instantly accessible and structured in a progressive format. In other words, current Master Certified Trainers are using the course as a teaching and reference tool with their students.
We are hearing from Certified Trainers that the Horse Think course will become their “go to” source for arranging their lesson plans with their students as well as refresher and constant reminder of how Chris explains and teaches the insights. And of course, the Certified Trainers appreciate the ongoing support provided by the Coaches Cavalry within the private FB page for course members. And last but certainly not least, as Chris substantially reduces his international travel to clinics the course members will still have one-on-one access to consultations with Chris at a discounted rate.
I already have Skill Credits or Master Certification with Irwin Insights, will they apply to the new Horse Think Course?
Yes! Absolutely! Whatever skills credits or certification you have previously achieved with Irwin Insights are automatically transferred over to the course and applied directly into your status with the Horse Think Skills certificates and Master Certification.
For instance, if you already have 7 skills certificates from previous coaching in Irwin Insights then you only need to achieve 3 more skills credits within the Horse Think Course to achieve Master Level 1 Certification.
Another example, if you already are a Master Level 2 Certified Trainer who has 18 credits then you will only need to earn 2 more credits within the Horse Think Course to make it up to Level 3 Master Certification. In fact, we have very dedicated long time students who are already at Master Levels 3,4, and 5 taking the Horse Think Course as the continue their journey towards 7th Level Master Certification.
What discounts with Chris are exclusive to Horse Think course members?
Special discounts are offered exclusively to Horse Think Course Members for video consultation with Chris, remote coaching, webinars, and all the future courses being developed in the Mind Your Horse series.
There is no fee for uploading your videos to our Members Only FB page to receive ongoing feedback from the Coaches Cavalry. The coaches will be replying to you with the best advice on what you still need to work on to improve and reach the skills necessary for earning your Skill Certificate from Chris. When the coaches providing your feedback reply to inform you that you’ve “got it” with a specific exercise they will let you know that you’re truly ready to submit your video to Chris with an expectation that you will pass his evaluation and achieve your Skill Certificate for that exercise.
For Chris to watch your video and personally reply with his feedback for refinement of your skills does indeed require some of his time. The fee for a NON-MEMBER seeking feedback from a video submission to Chris is $60 Canadian. ($45 USD or 40 euro). However, for Horse Think Course Members the discounted fee to submit a video to Chris for evaluation is only $20 Canadian! ($15 USD or just 13 euro!)
The regular fee for a 1- hour remote coaching or consultation with Chris via Skype, Zoom or FB Video Messenger is $175 USD. But Horse Think Members receive more than a 25% discount on remote services with Chris! A 1- hour private coaching or consultation with Chris for Horse Think Members is just $125 USD!
Chris will soon be launching a comprehensive series of ongoing webinars that are theme specific. For example, webinars will be focused on topics such as introductory dressage * intermediate dressage * high-school dressage, * problem solving in jumping * problem solving in reining * problem solving with groundwork * carriage driving * problem solving for trail riding * putting first rides on young horses * insights for practitioners of equine assisted personal and professional development * horse handling essentials for equine body workers such as Veterinarians, Farriers, Equine Massage Therapists and Chiropractors. And much, much more! We anticipate these webinars, being so specific in their themes, will draw in less participants than our introductory webinars we offered for free when launching the Horse Think course. This being the case, Chris will be able to be much more interactive with and have more time available for the individual participants in these upcoming webinars. The regular fee to participate in these webinars will be $60 Canadian. Once again, Horse Think Members will enjoy a 50% discount on any/all webinars with Chris. Horse Think Members will only pay $30 Canadian to participate in any interactive webinars with Chris. ($23 USD or just 20 euros!)
Horse Think membership includes a 35% discount on all future courses now in development and coming soon!
What is the Coaches Cavalry?
Chris has developed hundreds of equestrians into certified trainers throughout North America and Europe. Over the years he has come to know which of the trainers are absolutely the best of the best when it comes to their diagnostic ability to see what needs to be seen between a horse and a human. Be it on the ground, or in the saddle, the members of the Coaches Cavalry have exceptional abilities with horses and communication skills with people.
This is a short list of the most competent MASTER CERTIFIED TRAINERS who can do beautiful work in training the most difficult horses and they can also teach the most challenged students. Chris has reached out to these exceptional trainers and coaches to be available as monitors of the FB community page. The Coaches Cavalry are dedicated to offering you the diagnostics, coaching and inspiration you deserve to reach your greatest potential with your horses. And even better, the Coaches Cavalry can provide the support you need in English, Dutch, Flemish, German, or French!
Who are the trainers in the Coaches Cavalry?
Chris feels that “less is more” when it comes to multiple coaches being available to offer feedback to our members on the community Facebook page. While there are numerous Master Certified Trainers that Chris has full confidence in, we will begin the Course with just Chris and 3 of his top international coaches offering feedback. At times one of the 3 coaches from the Cavalry will need to “bow out” simply because they are too busy or they feel the need to take a break from social media. As one trainer from the Coaches Cavalry needs to bow out Chris will then “pass the reins” to another top Master Trainer so there will always be a minimum of 3 Cavalry Coaches to assist Chris in providing feedback to our herd of Horse Think Course members.
These are the Master Certified Trainers that Chris has invited to join his Coaches Cavalry to assist in the launch of Horse Think ~ Training Before Schooling:
Sofie Dethier: 7th Level Master Certified Trainer
Emily Cummin: 5th Level Master Certified Trainer
Sjon Grobbee: 4th Level Master Certified Trainer
Will there be more courses offered in the future?
Yes! Chris is not only an internationally renowned Equestrian he is also one of the leading pioneers in working with horses for human potential. So it is that INTERNAL COMPASS, the next course in the Mind Your Horse series, is now in production and being designed specifically for anyone interested in Equine Assisted Personal or Professional Development.
From Executive Coaching with horses to Equine Assisted Psychotherapists and Equine Assisted Learning, to therapists working with Veterans and 1st Responders with operational stress or PTSD, to counsellors working with horses to be of service to special needs and learning challenged people, all modalities of working with horses in the humanities can benefit exponentially by integrating Irwin Insights in the design and delivery of their programs. Chris has made it his personal goal to have the INTERNAL COMPASS course available by spring of 2021.
Assuming the Covid Crisis allows for international travel in April 2021 then Chris, Sofie and Adler will be on their way to Europe for a few clinics in select venues and to produce Course #3: Schooling to Self-Carriage! We aim to have this course available by mid-summer 2021.
Once we have released Schooling to Self-Carriage, we will then have the time available at Willow Ranch during the summer of 2021 to produce course #4: GREAT BEGINNINGS! This will be a course dedicated to the many nuanced skills needed to truly provide exceptional empathy to young horses going through their initial groundwork, first saddle and bridle, and first few critical rides under saddle.
By spring/summer of 2022 we will produce course #5: SCHOOLING THE JUMPING HORSE
By fall of 2022 course # 6: TRAINING THE HARNESS HORSE