Aikido for Horsemen


Aibado: The Way of Blending with Horses


The focus of the workshop is the development of self confidence, creation of openings and connections with one's self and with others (human or horse). In addition, you will learn easy ways for riders to get in shape and stay in shape, the development of feel between partners, overall self protection during a fall or during an attack and the overall improvement of feel, timing, blending, balance and breathing.

Goals: Give participants ideas on how to start taking care of their own bodies, work with their core, give them experiences that they may not have done before as well as help develop a quiet mind. Learn how to deal with situations that are not common in daily life.

Cross Fit: exercises designed to get participants started on simple ways to get fit and maintain fitness.

Aikido: a martial art we will be using to help participants learn how to move and work with their core with a partner. Along with aikido exercises and techniques we will be learning how to roll and fall. Learning how to fall and roll properly can help decrease or eliminate the fear of falling off of our horses, and create more confidence. It also helps decrease the likelihood or severe injury from a fall.

Self defense and randori (working in a group) practice are both designed to help build confidence in a person’s own skills, and learn to respond to a situation calmly instead of panicking. These intersect with horsemanship by showing rider’s how to develop a thinking/quiet mind that responds properly not only when things are going well, but when they are not going well. The more prepared we are for things that could go wrong, the less tendency they have to go wrong. The more confident and prepared we are, the less we fear.


Information for the participant:

You don’t need to have any background in martial arts. Please wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing or a gi if you have it.

This is a fairly physical workshop. You should be able to do a minimum of 5 pushups, pull ups, and sit ups as well as walk a mile in 20 minutes. These are not requirements to participate in the workshop, but it will be more beneficial if you can attain them. Keep in mind that these are also things you can work on before the course as well.

If you have any chronic physical issues (back pain, joint pain, breathing problems, blood disorders, heart problems, etc), you will need to consult your doctor before attending. Everything we do will be at a pace that each person is comfortable with, as well as having safety as a priority. When attending a workshop in Estes Park, please keep in mind that the town of Estes Park is 7,500 feet above sea level. We recommend taking Vitamin E and COQ10 (30 mg) a week ahead of time to help you to avoid altitude sickness.

It is our intention that you can work at your own speed/comfort level. This course is not about who is better or more fit than anyone else. We are offering the opportunity for personal growth and improved body awareness in a supportive environment.

Included in the price: mat fee for three days' training at a martial arts dojo, and all instruction. We will also supply water and snacks. Not included is lodging, meals and travel. Most workshops are split into morning and afternoon sessions. Usually morning classes are for beginners and afternoon classes are for returning students. Class size is dependant on the dojo where the classes are held.


Aikido for horseman workshop all three days: Please check with workshop host. To reserve your spot, you can send a $100.00 non-refundable deposit using a check or credit card. Please contact the workshop hosts or our office at (866) 577-9944 or click here to e-mail us if you have any questions.

We hope to see you there!

Mark and Crissi

From participants:

“The Aikido for Horsemen clinic in May was a resounding success! Everyone had a wonderful learning experience and we all look forward to the next set of sessions! Many folks in the May session were repeat participants. Learning the Horseman Katas and putting them to practice was enlightening and fun!” T.H.


"Aikido for horsemanship did indeed help me connect with my horse in a much deeper, fuller and safer way. It also helped me appreciate not just my horse but everything in my surroundings." M.C.


"Starting with the first class I found myself making profound changes in my life that have carried over into profound changes in my health. I don't want to put things into my life or body that are not in balance. When people see me they'll comment that I look good or ask if I lost weight." T.K.


"The balance in Aikido has carried into my relationships as well. When my stepdaughter has a meltdown rather than escalate into higher emotions I lower my energy for emotional balance and the situation quickly dissipates. When my fiancé says something I disagree with, I don't have to be right or prove a point like I might have in the past." K.L.


"I'm proud of the physical work I was able to accomplish in the dojo with Sensei Mark and Crissi. It has reawakened my desire to use my body at a higher level of health and activity." M.M.


"Thank you Mark and Crissi.- I like the 3 day workshop format. It allows a lot of time to cover many topics, but is not too invasive on work/life." B.L.


"I think it’s great that Mark keeps moving through various exercises. Time to learn something, but enough variety not to get bored or spend too much time on one thing if you don’t like it (like for me, the rolling)."C.T.


"I like that Mark challenges us, but always seems to know when it’s time to move on. I never feel pressured to do something that I think is too much, but I’m encouraged to challenge myself. You can’t learn if you don’t go some place a little uncomfortable (outside your comfort zone, so to speak). Mark and Crissi do a great job of taking us there, but allowing it be easy." S.D.


"I really like the fact that a lot of what we worked on was relatable to our horsemanship and I think that Mark did a great job of helping us see that." J.W.


"I know I said it was obvious, but I want to emphasize that the camaraderie with the other participants is one of the real highlights of the workshop for me. Everyone has been so kind and fun – and it’s interesting to see others’ journeys." J.H.