Masterson Method
Free the Body, Free the Motion
By Karen Brown


At the end of three days of dressage lessons, Kristina Paledes, a horse-owner-rider who lives near Seguin, was pleased with how well her horse V. performed.

V. had done particularly well in the trot stretch circles that required her to carry her weight behind without falling onto her forehand and losing her rhythm by getting faster.

This was different from other lessons. In those V. wasn't consistent in maintaining her gait or in driving from her hindquarters.

The reason for the change? The Masterson Method(TM). After several sessions with Janet Terry, a certified Masterson practitioner, Paledes confirmed that V. performed with noticeably greater suppleness and improved muscle strength and control.

The Masterson Metho(TM) uses a variety of modalities to release tension in the areas directly affecting performance: the poll, neck/withers/shoulders junction and hindquarter junction.

According to Jim Masterson, who developed the method, certain areas of the horse's body accumulate stress and tension that affect mobility, comfort, attitude and performance. This can result from any number of reasons including feet and shoeing problems, problems with saddle fit, teeth issues, conformation, old injury or lameness, and just plain work.

"When accumulated stress in your horse's connective tissues and muscles is released, owners will notice increased mobility and range of motion in their horse, improved jumping, bending and stopping,"" said Masterson.

In this Method, the horse is an active participant. A knowledgeable practitioner identifies areas of stress and restriction by focusing on the horse's subtle responses. He interprets that response to know where, what technique, and how much pressure to apply. It often takes no more than a light, slow touch and gentle flexion to release the stress and tension in the identified area and keep the horse relaxed during the session.

"It is my hope that the Masterson Method will lead to not only deep muscle and tissue release for the horse," he says, "but a new and exciting way of communicating between horse and owner. We don't have to shout for the horse to hear us...we can whisper and the horse will listen, and if we are listening, the horse will answer."

Masterson regularly uses his Method on U.S. and international equine competitors in FEI Grand Prix, Nation's Cup, Pan American and World Cup show jumping events and on horses on the USET singles driving and jumping teams. In 2006, he was invited to be the equine massage therapist for the U.S. Equestrian Endurance Team in Aachen, Germany, and joined the team again for the 2008 and 2010 World Games.

Learning this method can start with Beyond Horse Massage Book/DVD and attending a hands-on weekend seminar-workshop tailored to horse owners and handlers. The seminar gives you the tools to help you work with your horse to relieve tension and connect more deeply. No knowledge of anatomy is necessary.

A weekend workshop is being held at Solitaire Ranch in Bandera, Texas, June 13-14, 2020. Registration and information is on the website, and select Courses from the top menu. Inquiries can be sent to

Students of the Method are certified practitioners once they pass the Certification Completion Course with Jim Masterson. This is only after successfully completing all field-work requirements.

To contact a Texas certified practitioner:

Janet Terry, Pipe Creek, 210-385-9933,
Dwayne Johnstone, Santo, 661-755-9882, Email:
Gretchen Stanfill, Austin, 512-627-2824,
Kelly Jefferson, Georgetown, 281-850-5566, Email:
Marcy Berbrick, Austin,512-258-2273, Email:
Marty Clark, Cypress, 346-818-7254, Email:
Sarah Supulski Adams, Smithville, 512-497-5206, Email:
Toni Stevens, Brenham, 979-877-4841, Email: