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Do Horses Seek Leaders or Rewarding Connections?

A recent article published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science suggests that the concept of human leadership equating to the hierarchy in a horse herd, which has become foundational in many training approaches, is unreliable and largely irrelevant. Instead, the researchers found that consistent reinforcement of desired behaviors had a much greater effect on…

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When Dissociation Looks Like Cooperation

When Dissociation Looks Like Cooperation

Just yesterday while tacking up my horse, I was reminded how easy it is to mistake dissociation for cooperation. It is horse fly season around here, and we are currently inundated with a particularly vicious breed of huge, black, bloodsuckers. These savages pack a painful sting that I have experienced myself way too many times.…

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Four Reasons Coaches Want Natural Lifemanship

What does Natural Lifemanship (NL), a model that trains people in trauma-focused equine assisted psychotherapy and equine-assisted trauma informed care have to do with coaching, specifically in the sport of football? Great question.  According to my brother, a college Offensive Coordinator, NL offers coaches the skills, knowledge, and experiences needed to provide a much-desired competitive…

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Why Do We Ride Horses in Trauma Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?

By Bettina Shultz-Jobe with Kate Naylor In Natural Lifemanship, mounted work is an integral part of our model of trauma focused equine assisted psychotherapy (TF-EAP).  However, I recently read a published article arguing that horseback riding is contraindicated in the treatment of military veterans with moral injury.  The authors suggest that mounted work victimizes the…

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Disorders of Connection

In his latest book, The Divine Dance, author Richard Rohr quotes a psychiatrist friend of his as attributing most non-physiologically based mental illness to being disconnected from intimate relationships.  While he acknowledges biological and genetic underpinnings to the development of a mental disorder, in his view, “loneliness is what activates it.”  Maia Szalavitz echoes this…

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Living What We Teach

By Bettina Shultz-Jobe and Tim Jobe Today is August 7th.  August 7th, 2010, Tim and I were married.  We had a sunrise wedding at the family ranch in the Texas Panhandle.  It was outside on a plateau, overlooking a beautiful canyon, so sunrise was about the only time of day we could lessen the chances…

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Six Signs Your Horse May Be Dissociating or Submitting Rather Than Choosing to Cooperate

Many equine professionals have a difficult time identifying the difference between compliance/ submission and cooperation in a horse. This is an important skill to develop for your work in the Natural Lifemanship model, whether you are practicing TF-EAP, teaching riding lessons, training your horses, or coaching a client in professional or personal growth and development.…

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The Journey Back: A Case Study Highlighting One Woman’s Experience Overcoming Traumatic Abuse Using Natural Lifemanship

I watched her make her way to the therapy office for her intake session, struck by the way she made her approach:  crouching down, she almost seemed to be crawling towards the door; constantly looking over her shoulder before ducking her head again.  Her trajectory weaved in zig zagging diagonals across the open space between…

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Is Natural Lifemanship Just “Joining Up?”

“Isn’t Natural Lifemanship (NL) just joining up?” I hear this question frequently from family, friends and students who are learning Natural Lifemanship. If they know anything about Natural Horsemanship, horse training methods with the intent of developing rapport with a horse based on herd dynamics, they assume that attachment in NL is “joining up.” Since…

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