Mark Russell

Biography

Mark Russell was the consummate horseman. It had been quite difficult to describe the depth and breadth of his understanding of the horse. Evidence of it emerged when one watched him approach the horse. A subtle communication, a touch on the neck, or as one student stated of her horse: “she just melted in his hand”. One would think that is was the beginning, but for Mark, the connection developed some time before the rest of us had noticed.

A master of equine biomechanics, a former student of Master Oliveira, a practitioner of the nearly forgotten Classical Teachings of the past, an expert in and occasional critic of interpretations of Natural Horsemanship constructs, a beneficiary of the wisdom of Tai-Chi and Chi Gong; all scratched the surface of Mark’s knowledge. Even to the end he continued as a perpetual student of the human and horse. His many layers of experience and insights culminated into a wisdom which seemed boundless.

For Mark, each path deepened the understanding of the other. Mark was unique indeed; his quiet energy, his calm demeanor, his wealth of knowledge, all expressed while he was with Horse and while educating both horse and rider made him a popular teacher and clinician.

Mark Russell’s credits included authoring the highly acclaimed book “Lessons in Lightness: the Art of Educating the Horse” with a posthumous expanded edition published in 2019. In 2014 he released his first educational DVD “Lessons in Lightness: Building the Horse’s Foundation In Hand”, he was featured in the DVD “Riding with Chi: Your Pathway to Energy Mastery”, and he had been featured in a variety of equine journals.

Testimonials

Mark was beloved by all who met him.

“…to trust my horse, to trust the power that’s now evident, and allow it to flow.”

Thank you so much, Mark, for teaching me how to help my good brown horse get his 'groove' back. I'm amazed at how much more willing and fluid he has become, even with only a handful of sessions of in hand work. I'm not perfect yet - but better than I was at first. The...

“We never would have reached this point without you”

"I have some great news for you. My saddle fitter was out today because I have had trouble with Rebel’s saddle shooting forward onto his shoulders. She said that his back has gotten so much flatter and stronger that he no longer needs the shims we made to level his...

“A very successful experience”

"I found the shared discussion of French Classical by Bruno and Mark very instructive, and the lesson/demonstrations right on target. As a newcomer to South Florida, it was also inspirational to find that not everyone is mesmerized by " competitive dressage".  I have...

“One of the most rewarding and eye opening experiences”

"That was one of the most rewarding and eye opening experiences I have ever had in the equestrian field. I'm so encouraged that I am going to completely change the direction I was going with my horse !  This is also what I have been looking for all along and finally...

“It was a feast watching Mark ride Cadbury”

"It was a feast watching Mark ride Cadbury yesterday. I have, so far, seen four riders who studied with Mestre Oliveira at some point (some of them much more long term students of the master than Mark) and of all of them, Mark is the closest to Nuno. The use of his...

“I am absolutely in awe”

Once again thank you for providing a wonderful facility and opportunity for your clients to learn and further our horsemanship.  Specifically, I am speaking of the Mark Russell clinic which took place this past weekend,  4/5/09 - 4/7/09, in which I was able to take 3...

“I was mesmerized by the effortless dance between Mark and the horse”

I distinctly remember the first time I had the privilege of watching Mark train one of his horses.  I was mesmerized by the effortless dance between Mark and the horse.  There was absolutely no force or resistance, just total harmony and lightness.  It was as if Mark...

“With Mark, riding becomes Art”

  With Mark, riding becomes Art and the process becomes as enjoyable as every little success along the way. As a student of natural horsemanship, I ride with Mark because he helps me keep my horse's well-being and emotional state constantly in the forefront of my...

“I have learned more in the past year under Mark’s watchful eye, than I have in the past 35 years”

Mark's humble facade hides his amazing insight into horse behavior and movement. I have learned more in the past year under Mark's watchful eye, than I have in the past 35 years.

“I just wish I had found Mark 10 years ago”

I have told many people that I just wish I had found Mark 10 years ago. His philosophies and training methods are what I felt were missing from the many clinicians I tried to work with. I admire Mark so much for being the voice in the wilderness. I believe he is dead...

“Mark’s obvious ability to read the horse”

I noticed immediately watching Mark work with the horses is how mentally engaged the horses were. Mark's obvious ability to read the horse and take the time it takes really sets the horse up for success.

“Teaches with such passion”

It is so wonderful to see a trainer that strives to teach the steps it will take to fix a problem in time and not just with a quick fix as so many trainers do. I never had a trainer who teaches with such passion as Mark Russell. 

“I will never forget the moment I knew I wanted to learn from Mark”

I will never forget the moment I knew I wanted to learn from Mark. Shasti was an old school horse with lots of baggage and she threw her head up when I reached for her halter. Mark responded with the words "don't scare her" and put his hand on her halter. She melted...