Developing Secure Attachment with Your Business

Developing Secure Attachment with Your Business

This Sunday we celebrate those who mother – all of those who have given birth to beautiful new things and nurtured those already in existence.  Those who have fully embraced and bravely unleashed the kind of creative, nurturing energy that supports, grows, heals, and then releases.  

I am a mother in the more traditional sense and I do very much love this role, but my children are not the only ones I mother

Lately, with the release of the Business Building Master Class, I have been thinking a lot about this business that Tim and I birthed back in 2010.  I have thought about the birth pains, the growing pains, the complete bliss, and the utter heartbreak that this child has brought us. 

In one of the interviews we did for the Business Building Master Class, Sara Sherman with Discovery Horse shared some of her thoughts about how we build a secure attachment, a healthy relationship, with this being called. . . our business.

Attachment Theory & Building a Business

I LOVE attachment theory.  When it comes to being a mother, wife, therapist, sister, friend, daughter, and animal steward, the attachment world is my guiding light.  BUT the first time I heard  Sara mention this idea of having a secure attachment to our business, I lost my breath for a moment.  The attachment theory lens had not yet extended to my role as a business owner.  I think I said, “Sh**!  I’m totally enmeshed with this baby!” 

For so many of us, our EAS businesses are passion projects, and they can become all consuming.  We can unwittingly become profoundly anxious, entangled or enmeshed – terms often used to describe one type of  insecure attachment – with our mission, our vision, and our business.  For others, the overwhelm we feel can lead to more avoidant behaviors that cause us to freeze, procrastinate, or check out – a more dismissive attachment to our business.  

Separating Your Business from Your Own Identity

Sara’s first suggestion, as we begin to practice secure relating with our business,  is that we let the business truly be its own entity.  What do I need? What does the business need?  These are separate questions and each has different answers.  In conversations with employees or funders, these are also separate.  “The business needs. . .”  When someone does not meet this need, it’s not personal.  This small shift has been powerful for me.

I am still trying very hard to practice secure relating with this entity called Natural Lifemanship, this absolutely stunning being we have lovingly birthed, nurtured, attuned to, and grown.  It’s a work in progress for sure.  The soft flexibility and balance between nurture and structure, closeness and distance, attunement and differentiation, and discipline and delight takes so much grit, and such a vulnerable exploration of our own story.     

Listen First, Then Respond

In a conversation I recently had with Tamasin Thomas, who Shannon and I will be chatting with in a webinar next week called, “Money Mindset:  How Business, Money, and Your Story are Uniquely Connected” we discussed the importance of attuning to our business.  We birth the business, and then in order to build a secure attachment with it, we first and foremost must protect it and then attune to it. (The first 2 pillars of secure attachment from a book I love called Attachment Disturbances in Adults).  

Tamasin said, “Our business will tell us what it needs to grow and thrive if we listen to it.” We must first listen and then respond, and this response will certainly require that we employ all of our skills,  knowledge,  life experience,  and so much heart and soul.    

AND this is why we created the Business Building Master Class.  It is our desire that you have the information, knowledge, and support you need to be responsive and flexible in your relationship with your business.  

Mothering transforms us  

While many have had spiritual awakenings at the top of a mountain or in the depths of the sea,  I think the most profound metamorphosis happens in the grueling dark of the night, with an inconsolable baby, yet another dirty diaper, an aching body that can hardly move, and the kind of exhaustion where you really think you might die. Those nights when you can’t feel your fingers for the cold, or the heat is crushing your body, when one more fence is down, one more horse is injured, one more client struggles to stay alive, and for you to make payroll or purchase another load of hay will require a miracle.  

Those nights when we think that there is no way to carry on, but our love, our purpose, and our connection to those who have come before us, those who are in it with us, and those who will come after us, somehow helps us show up when we staunchly believe we can’t.  

Those nights transform us.  

In those moments, when we know that we are not alone, we become stronger and softer, and more secure in our attachment.  It is in those moments, when we have the support we need, that we become part of an army of Mamas that are making this world a better place.

If you are looking for support and guidance as you mother your own business, take a look at our Business Building Master Class. We were not made to mother alone – it takes a village.  

Mothering is, by far, the highest calling.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of those who mother.  Today, I honor you.   


What is Equine Therapy?

What is Equine Therapy?

By Kate Naylor and Bettina Shultz-Jobe

“Equine therapy” is probably the most commonly used term to describe, well, just about any therapeutic service involving horses.  It is the most commonly searched term online, and we as practitioners use it all the time.

But, there is a problem.

It’s incorrect and it’s confusing.

Using the term “equine therapy” to label the work that we do in equine assisted services not only muddies our work, but complicates marketing and most importantly, leaves consumers confused and often seeking the wrong services for their needs.

This matters.  For the integrity of our field, for the wellbeing of our clients, and for the health of our businesses.

So what is “equine therapy”?

Equine therapy literally means therapy for equines. This can encompass many wonderful services such as equine massage, masterson method, chiropractic work, reiki, nutritional therapy…the list goes on and on. But importantly, it is a therapeutic intervention for the horse, not the human associated with the horse.

How many times have you explained the work you do to somebody who thought you did therapy for the horse? I’ve had people tell me that they were picturing an actual horse on a therapy couch. We often giggle and then I clarify, but the language we use in this field seems to contribute to this image.

Enter: Equine Assisted Services

The correct umbrella term for what we do is Equine Assisted Services. Making this distinction is valuable on multiple levels. You can learn a bit more about our terminology here.

I hate to muddy the waters here, but it’s worth mentioning. . . Some practitioners do, indeed, integrate equine therapy (therapy for the equine) into equine assisted services (services for the person). This is powerful work that Bettina touched on in a recent webinar. In NL we do believe that Equine Assisted Services should be good for the equine too, but our primary goals are specific to the person receiving services.  

Getting Clear on the Services We Offer

When we describe our services as “equine assisted”, it prompts us to understand what services our equines assist.  In a recent paper, leaders in our field argued for more clarity in terminology.  One suggestion was, when speaking or writing about our work, we should lead with the service and then add “…integrating equines”; as in “mental health counseling integrating equines”.  Or “psychotherapy in partnership with horses”, or “physical therapy using equine movement”, or “occupational therapy in equine environments”, etc.

While this is a mouthful, I admit, I often use this language when describing what it is I do for work. It just is more clear. And importantly, it leads with what it is I actually do. When I lead with this concept, not only is my potential client more clear on whether I can meet their needs, but I am more clear as well. I have to know my scope of practice, my skill set, in order to speak in this fashion. This is a matter of ethics and competence, as well as effectiveness.

We have a problem in our field of believing that just being with the horses is sufficient. While horses are incredible partners in healing work, I think we can all agree, it is necessary for the health and well being of the humans we serve that we develop ourselves professionally separate from the horses. Knowing the service that I offer, with or without equines, makes me a better practitioner.

Now, maybe saying “I offer mindfulness practices in partnership with horses” feels like too much of a mouthful – that’s where “equine assisted mindfulness” can come in.  Using this language instead of “equine therapy” is not only an important point of clarity for the work itself, but is incredibly impactful in your marketing and business building.

Incorrectly using “Equine Therapy” creates confusion

When I search “equine therapy” I get a bazillion results all touting a variety of equine related practices. It is confusing and overwhelming, to say the least. But if I am a consumer searching for mindfulness, and “equine assisted mindfulness” pops up as an option? Cool! Now that’s more like it.

Your business is more likely to be found by the right people, the people who want what you do.  This is a win-win created by more clarity and precision in your language. When you are clear on what you offer, separate from the equines, and use the correct terminology, you will reach the right audience, and the right audience will be able to find you.

Accurate terminology helps people find right-fit services

Lastly, and most importantly, when consumers have heard the term “equine therapy” used over and over, and then utilize that term to search for a practitioner for themselves or a loved one, they can be lost in a sea of services that do not fit them. Worse, consumers self-select an inappropriate service.

If a licensed mental health therapist specializing in trauma processing markets as an “equine therapy” practice, and so does the life coach down the road, and so does the yoga teacher around the corner, and so does the therapeutic riding center across town – how is a consumer, likely uninformed in all these different modalities, supposed to choose what is right for them?  

Each of these services is very, very different, and is designed to meet specific and unique goals.  And, if a client with undiagnosed PTSD (or another specific and sensitive issue) chooses a practitioner that is unqualified to recognize and treat that issue, significant harm can be done. That is the last thing we all want.

Clarity in language fuels our professional evolution, better marketing, and more safety and accuracy for our clients – better services for consumers is absolutely the goal. This clarity is a necessary detail that shouldn’t be overlooked.

For more conversation on this topic, check out Bettina’s recent webinar.



True Healing Cannot Happen at the Expense of Another

True Healing Cannot Happen at the Expense of Another

When I was a pre-teen I was horse crazy.

I had Breyer horses in my room and horse shoes with pictures inside of them all over my walls.  One year for Christmas my parents got me a subscription to the Quarter Horse Journal. I read every single word and even indexed all the information so I could come back to it when needed.  I was organized, committed, and passionate.

My horse’s name was Mr. Ed. He certainly wasn’t show or performance material but he loved me, and I was smitten.  Absolutely smitten. I can still smell him today and feel his breath. Bathing him was probably my favorite thing – an even better smell that takes me back to all things wonderful in my childhood.

Mr. Ed was SLOW.  So, I spent a lot of time on trail rides or pretending to help “work cattle” a mile behind my dad.  I can remember singing “you are my sunshine” to my horse, while ignoring my dad’s pleas for me to catch up.

I now know the science behind what was really happening for me in those sweet and utterly perfect moments – those moments that formed me – powerful attachment and regulation stuff that I love nerding on and on about nowadays.  The thing is, it’s not just research for me, nor is it for most of us.

It’s personal.

It’s why we do this work – we BELIEVE in the power of the horse/human relationship to heal and to help us develop and grow.  We want this for ourselves, and we go to great lengths to offer this to others.

We need the horse human relationship

Some of us may not have had a living, breathing pony when we were young, but even so, many of us knew deep down that we NEEDED one.  Intuitively, we knew what those who have come before us knew, what science is finally catching up to, and what those who will come after us will find deep in their bones – the relationship between horse and person is special and somehow part of the very fiber of our existence.

AND most of us, at some point, if we are in the EAS field long enough, find that our heart and our passion get fractured.

Bills to pay.

Horses and families to feed and care for.

A business to fund, and clients and communities with needs well beyond our capacities to meet.

And grief and loss – oh, the loss that is deep when we love our horses, and that can be particularly complicated to process.

So, we plug along.

And plug along some more.

And plug along some more, because. . .

Goodness me, horse people have some serious grit.  It’s a strength until it’s a hindrance.

In Natural Lifemanship, one of our core principles is that true healing cannot happen at the expense of another.  The first time we ever said this, we were talking mostly about the horses, and about how important it is that their physical, emotional, and psychological well-being is cared for in and out of sessions.

But a good principle is a good principle regardless of where it is applied (another foundational NL principle), and true healing for my horses and my clients cannot happen at my expense or at the expense of my family.  I, too, need care for my physical, emotional, and psychological well-being in and out of sessions.

Maybe read that again, because you need this, too. We all do.

Returning to our why

So, this year it is my intention to return to the heart of this work – the relationship that formed me – my real why.

Selfishly, I’d love to have support and a little accountability, so I’d like to invite our NL community to join me.  Connect or reconnect to what childlike love of a horse feels like – this simple, yet profound love is at the heart of what we teach and what we do in the world every day.

My invitation to you is that you spend time each day for 30 days with your horse or horses, then we’ll meet as a community once a week to support each other and reflect on our time.  For those of you that find it useful, we’ll give you prompts each day – some gentle guidance as you deepen your relationship with your horse. You can learn more about what we’re doing here.

I plan to do my best to create space for this each day, with all kinds of grace for imperfection.  It’s okay to miss a day (actually, we’re building in a few extra days for this purpose).  Your community will still be here when you get back.

Remember, true healing cannot happen at the expense of another

As of late, I need this reminder on the regular. And I need time with my horse, while ignoring the world’s pleas to catch up – even if for just a short time each day.

If you need this too, please join me.  Join our community as we take time for ourselves and time for our horses. . . on our own and in community.




Belief in Magic: The Grown-up Version

Belief in Magic: The Grown-up Version

By Bettina Shultz-Jobe

In 2018 when I was pregnant with Mabel, our second child, I began watching This Is Us during the last trimester when I was on bedrest.  I was already a little late in the game on this series at that time, and now I’m even later. So is life as a business owner and Mama. . . 

So, I recently watched the last episode of season 4. If you’re a This Is Us fan you might remember when Gerald McRaney, the actor who plays Dr. Nathan Katowski, shared some words of wisdom that he supposedly pulled out of thin air in the moment. Maybe you also cried (or wept) like I did. He said: 

“I think the trick is, not trying to keep the joys and the tragedies apart. But you kinda gotta let ’em cozy up to one another. You know, let ‘em co-exist. And I think that if you can do that, if you can manage to forge ahead with all that joy and heartache mixed up together inside of you, never knowing which one’s gonna get the upper hand. . . well, life does have a way of shaking out to being more beautiful than tragic.” 

At our home, our Christmas tree tells our life story. Memories of people who are no longer with us, homes and lives in which we no longer live, moments we will never get back. Each year tears fill my eyes as we unpack and hang ornaments that take me back to younger love, younger children, and seasons I thought would never end. Each year I remember, reminisce, and grieve.

When we decorate the tree I also feel the joy, magic, and mystery that is all around during the holiday season. Sometimes this comes easy, but more often than not I find that it is a practice.  It’s a discipline, because life is hard. It’s hard for everybody. Even when it looks kinda easy. . . it’s still hard. It’s gut-wrenchingly heartbreaking, and for many of us these feelings are profoundly worse during the holidays – in juxtaposition to all the Christmas Spirit and the implication around every corner that we should feel joy. I call this grinch pain, and it is all too real for many of us.

Some of us were blessed (or lucky) enough to remember a time in childhood when magic seemed easy. Ya know, it just happened (mostly because we had parents who really loved us! But that’s another conversation). The awe and wonder of the Christmas season was simple. I was one of those lucky children.  

As life happens, the magic of this season can become less. . . well magical, if we let it. It’s so easy to lose sight of the magic of twinkle lights because they take so damn long to put up. It’s a lot of work. It’s terribly easy to lose sight of the beauty of just about anything worth working for, especially when we’re in the thick of it. 

During my childhood, Christmas traditions, twinkle lights, trees, and Santa Claus all just happened – the innocence of this kind of magic is something I cherish. It has brought me great joy to be part of creating this kind of magic for our children, because I believe this helps to set the foundation for something even more miraculous and magical to occur. . . 

To find awe and wonder and magic and joy even amidst all the work it takes to create it. Even during the very real pain that life often brings. This is a miracle. I do believe that to recognize and accept a miracle takes great work and oftentimes even greater risk.  Very seldom do miracles just happen.  

For me, the entire Christmas season, especially tree decorating day, is a perfect time to practice letting the joys and tragedies “cozy up to one another”.  Deeply holding and feeling both.  The risk is huge, because there is no way of knowing “which one’s gonna get the upper hand” moment by moment. At times, I have been overcome by grief when unwrapping and hanging ornaments, but it’s mind-blowing what those lights look like through tears. When we just stay in it, keep feeling all the things, the reward is great.  It’s a high risk, high reward venture.  

The belief in magic we experience in our youth is innocent and beautiful. . . and fragile, but the magic found at the end of a pilgrimage and a voyage  – the grown-up version of believing in magic, in miracles, is worth dying for.   

My wish for you this holiday, however you may celebrate, is that “you can manage to forge ahead with all that joy and heartache mixed up together inside of you, never knowing which one’s gonna get the upper hand.”  Because this is brave, and this is what prepares the way for things to be “more beautiful than tragic.”  

This is the miracle of Christmas.  

Waiting on the Drive

Waiting on the Drive

If you’re not familiar with the term Waiting on the Drive it’s probably because you have never helped gather cattle in a very large, very rough pasture. It is a term I learned in my early teens. In just four words, it encompasses some of the best characteristics of a good cowboy or even just a good person.

There is so much of the unwritten, unspoken code of being a cowboy wrapped up in this term. It was never explained to me – only modeled by countless good cowboys (the word cowboy is certainly not gender specific) that I have had the good fortune to get to work with in the course of my life.

Let’s start with the literal meaning. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was running a very large cow ranch in New Mexico. One of the pastures on that ranch was around 8,000 acres.  There was only me and two other men working on the ranch.

Many of the ranches in that area were large, with only a few men working each one. When it came time to gather and work the cattle, none of the ranches had enough men or women to do that on their own so all of the cowboys on the neighboring ranches would help each other.  It was called “neighboring”.


Usually when we were gathering and working the 8,000 acre pasture there would be me and my two guys plus 10-15 neighbors. We would meet at the working pens and get our horses saddled and ready for the day. We would ride out before sunup to make the two mile ride to the start of the 8,000 acre pasture.  Then we’d ride to the backside of that pasture to start gathering the cattle about the time the sun came up.

As we were heading to the back of the pasture I would drop cowboys off at strategically planned out places to make sure the entire pasture was covered. The cowboys that were dropped off first, and each one after that, did not start gathering cattle immediately. They had to wait until everyone was in position to start the “drive.”

In an 8,000 acre pasture with 15 cowboys there is no way to see what anyone else is doing because they are so far apart.  So the first ones dropped off had to wait until they judged that everyone had time to get in position to start the drive.  Usually if everything was timed right, the drive would start about the time it got light enough to see.  The first ones dropped off would spend more time waiting on the drive than the ones dropped off further along in the pasture.

Good timing doesn’t happen by chance

The goal of the drive was to arrive at the gate out of the pasture with all of the cattle that were in that pasture and all of the cowboys accounted for.  Timing was critical. If one cowboy got his cattle to the gate ahead of the herd it was almost impossible to just hold them there until the others arrived.

These were not gentle cattle that were regularly handled.  On these large ranches they were only gathered twice a year, once in the spring to work the calves and once in the fall to wean the calves.  They were usually pretty wild and not easily handled. They were easiest to handle when they could be in one big herd.  So anyone that didn’t merge their cattle with the other cattle as they were moving in the direction of the gate would cause problems for everyone.  Ideally all of the cattle would come together simultaneously in the vicinity of the gate. None of this happened by chance.

When you are waiting on the drive, you have several responsibilities that contribute to the success or failure of the drive.  It is a time when you can relax a little and take in the wonder of a new day beginning and the world starting to wake up. This was always my favorite part of the work, alone with just my horse, watching the sun start its fight to drive away the darkness, completely devoid of any man-made sights or sounds.

But that feeling of peace didn’t exist in a vacuum.  You had to be keenly aware of any sign that the drive had started.  You didn’t want to be ahead of the drive but you also didn’t want to be behind it.  That sign might be the first hint of a cow bawling for its calf, or a herd of deer moving out in front of the moving herd of cattle.  It might be a slim wisp of dust circling above a distant hill.  Sometimes it was just a gentle nudge coming from somewhere inside, saying “It’s time now”.

If you are not fully attuned to yourself and all that is around you it is easy to miss the sign.  If you miss the sign it makes everything harder for you and for everyone in the drive.  It makes things harder for your horse and for the cattle.  It makes everyone have to work harder.

The time that you spend waiting on the drive can be the most rewarding part of the day, but it is also the most critical.  Great, important things are about to happen but you have to be prepared and ready to do your part.

It’s nearly time

Our upcoming online conference, Sunrise Summit, reminds me of Waiting on the Drive in so many ways. It’s an opportunity to get in the right position and settle in for the magic that’s about to happen. It reminds me that being in the moment and enjoying what’s happening right now is just as important as anticipating what’s to come at Sacred Landscapes, our in-person conference that will be happening in November.

Waiting on the Drive isn’t passive. It’s not something that happens to you – it’s a condition you create by attuning to the present moment and focusing on what’s to come while connecting with other cowboys who are preparing for the journey, too.

We invite you to join us for Sunrise Summit October 13-14 and do some neighboring with us. Grab your ticket here: naturallifemanship.com/sunrise-summit.




What Services Do Your Equines Assist?

What Services Do Your Equines Assist?

By Bettina Shultz-Jobe with Kate Naylor

In a recent webinar we discussed the importance of having a clear understanding of the service you provide when offering *Equine Assisted Services in your community.

When communicating with clients, collaborative partners, or funding sources it is imperative that we can speak to how our service helps others, who it helps, if there is any research on this service, and last but certainly not least, how does incorporating horses into that modality make that service a richer, deeper, more embodied and effective experience for the participant?    

While this  blog will not focus on the “Why Horses?” part of the conversation, (admittedly, the part that most of us love to talk about!) how we answer this question IS super important, and was discussed during this webinar if you’re interested.  It’s also a conversation for another day.

So then, let’s talk about the first part of our communication about what we do, which is also very important – the services your equines assist. . .

*Learn more about our terminology here.


Foundations of Service

It is crucial that we understand how we would serve our clients without horses present before we can ethically and effectively incorporate horses into our work.  Yes, horses are such powerful partners, but they aren’t the only part of the process….AND there is just so much more to hold when they are part of your services.  

In this field we offer what is called Equine Assisted Services – an umbrella term that encompasses things like:

  • Equine Assisted Mental Health and Counseling or Equine Assisted Psychotherapy which is facilitated by a licensed mental health professional.
  • Equine Assisted Coaching facilitated by a certified coach.
  • Equine Assisted Energy Work
  • Equine Assisted Health and Wellness
  • Equine Assisted Spiritual Direction
  • Equine Assisted Reading Support (yes, even this is a thing!  I discussed it in the webinar I mentioned at the beginning of this blog.)
  • The list can go on and on. . .

NL teaches you how to incorporate horses into the service you provide in a trauma informed manner.  This approach is based in the relational sciences and is attachment focused. 

In order to use the Natural Lifemanship approach ethically and effectively, you must know what services you provide separate from the inclusion of horses. You can explore this idea further by asking yourself…what have I learned about how humans heal, and what do I believe about how humans heal? What skills do I offer people to support their healing? What are my goals when I work with a client? If I couldn’t work with the horses today, would I still be offering competent services to my clients?

Several of you have asked that we provide some suggestions of places you can get more support, guidance, and education as you hone the services you provide.

There simply is no way for us to give you an exhaustive list, so I have narrowed this list down the following ways:

    1. The list below includes only trainings that do not require participants to have a Master’s level education or license in the therapy field.  Mental health, occupational, and physical therapists often find it easier to describe the service they provide, so I wanted this blog to offer support, or a starting point for those who are outside of the “therapy” box.
    2. I shared several trainings that I have personally completed and have found to be very helpful in the work I do with people and horses.  Many licensed professionals will find these trainings beneficial, but a professional license is not a requirement to attend.   Again, all of the trainings below can help build a skill-set and refine the service someone outside of the therapy field is offering.
    3. I have also included some trainings that NL  trainers or certification students have completed, but I, personally, have not.  We have over 300 certification students that come from various backgrounds and I spend a lot of time with most of them  – during the certification process it is often clear to me when a person has trained in a way that better prepares them to integrate NL into their practice.
    4. Lastly, I have chosen services in which the integration of horses as partners seems natural and organic.  Horses do a beautiful job of assisting these services, if you will.

I hope you find this list helpful as a starting point.  I also included a few links to some NL content if you are interested in exploring a certain category of services with us.

By the way, more learning for NL Members is coming soon in every single one of these categories!   To be notified when we release new trainings and resources in these categories, sign up for our newsletter.


Trauma Informed Care

Trauma informed care is for everyone!  This is why it is the backbone of the Natural Lifemanship trainings, and informs many of the services that follow in this list.  NL offers a detailed overview, however there is plenty more to learn if this is to be a service you choose to offer.

Trauma informed care simply means that one is working from a place of 1)understanding the neurobiology of humans and how trauma affects that neurobiology, 2) understanding the value of rhythm and how to offer it, both literally and figuratively, and 3) is relationship first focused (relationship before task – this is easier said than done in day to day life).

Trauma Informed Care is a perspective, an ethos, a philosophy, as well as an approach, and can therefore be utilized in literally any service.

The Neurosequential Model:  Dr. Bruce Perry.  Tracks offered for clinicians, educators, caregivers, sports coaches and trainers, clinical supervisors, and clinicians who work with young children.

Nurturing the Heart with the Brain in Mind:  Bonnie Badenoch

The Mindsight Institute:  Interpersonal Neurobiology with Dr. Dan Siegel


NL content available if you are interested in exploring this direction:

The Fundamentals of NL teaches many of these foundational concepts.

Conversation with Bonnie Badenoch for NL Members

Trauma Informed and Developmentally Sensitive Schools for NL Members

Trauma Informed Care and Trauma Informed Relationships are for Everyone for NL Members

NL Connection Kits to support bottom-up regulation


Somatic Work

“Somatic” means “relating to the body”.  As our understanding of human beings has evolved and deepened, one thing has become clear no matter the theory or perspective…the body is not simply a machine executing the brain’s wishes, it is alive with its own way of thinking and feeling and it informs all that we do.

If we wish to support humans in a healing process, at the very least, a basic awareness of how the body is involved in developing a person’s lived experience is necessary.  Not only will somatic training aid you in supporting humans, it will deepen your relationship with yourself and your horses as well.  All of this learning will complement what NL teaches.  Horses are natural partners for somatic, body-based, and movement practices.

Somatic Experiencing

The Center for BodyMindMovement

Uzazu Embodied Intelligence

Body-Mind Centering


NL Member content available if you are interested in exploring  this direction:

Healing Attachment Wounds Through Movement with Bettina Shultz-Jobe

Orientation:  Moving into Presence with Mark Taylor

Somatic Experiencing®, Attachment and Touch with Sarah Schlote

NL Intensive and Personal Immersion delve into this much more.



Coaches typically assist people in identifying, pursuing and achieving specific goals and objectives.  When working with humans to support their growth and development, no matter the modality, it is necessary for providing ethical services that the provider have a basic rationale for why and how they will approach a session, as well as develop goals to guide the work.

Coaching trainings will support you in learning how to provide that structure for your clients. Horses tend to give very genuine and honest feedback so their interactions with humans can help clarify patterns of behavior, relating, and communication that may be contributing to a client feeling stuck or blocked from moving forward in their life.

International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaching

Neuro Somatic Intelligence Coaching

Ontological Coaching


Experiential Facilitator Training

The human nervous system needs experiential learning to turn information into embodied knowledge. Purely cognitive approaches to healing take us only so far – in order to promote lasting change in a client, we must include the whole experience – not just thoughts, but emotions, sensations, perceptions, relationships, etc.

Facilitating a client experientially can be quite different from traditional talk approaches and requires a separate skill set. Learning to support your clients in having a healing experience takes training and practice.

Facilitation 101

We!  With Chad Littlefield

Mark Collard – based in Australia, but has super valuable online learning


NL Member Content available if you are interested in exploring this direction:

Rainy Day Activities: Trauma informed, experiential activities that can be done without horses AND that blend well with EAS programming


Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation practices focus on bringing the mind into the present moment, which can include noticing our surroundings with our senses, observing our internal experience, and tracking the body’s experience as well.  Often some breathwork is involved. These practices support clients in grounding and regulation which are the foundation of any future healing, and can be utilized anytime, making them incredibly approachable practices.

Both mindfulness and meditation trainings are a great entry point for those wishing to provide healing services – often trainings offer a protocol or specific skill set that can be implemented immediately.  Of course, fine tuning one’s offering takes time.

The Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

Little Flower Yoga:  Mindfulness and Yoga for Children


Content available to NL members if you are interested in exploring this direction:

Mindfulness Practices to Build Connection with Shannon Knapp


Therapeutic Drumming

The research that supports drumming keeps rolling in.  The individual or group connection that occurs through rhythmic music making can be a powerful offering in the support or healing of clients. It is also playful, creative, and engaging! (AND so amazing when the horses are part of this!)

Upbeat Drum Circles with Christine Stevens

Health Rhythms

Village Music Circles with Arthur Hull


NL Content available if you are interested in exploring this direction:

Finding Your Rhythm:  Therapeutic Drumming with Mary Oliver and Reccia Jobe for NL Members

NL Rhythm Resources

Rhythmic Riding and Personal Immersion both integrate therapeutic drumming

Rhythmic Passages for Wellbeing with Mary Oliver  for NL Members

The NL Drum Connection Kit



Everyone breathes, it happens automatically.  And, everyone can control their breath, with practice.  Our breath is linked to our nervous system in intricate ways and the one influences the other.  Learning to aide clients in breathwork is a simple and effective way to support them in regulating themselves, staying connected to their own internal and external experiences, and begin healing from the inside out. The breath is a tool everyone has access to, regardless of circumstance, making it a highly approachable service to offer.

Heart Math Institute

Online Breathwork Teacher Training


NL Member content available if you are interested in exploring  this direction:

I recently did some teaching for NL members about ways we have integrated the HeartMath emwave into our work here and here.   

Breathing Practices for Nervous System Awareness and Regulation with Jennifer Cohen Harper.


Energy Work

So much of our human experience occurs in the unseen exchange of energy between ourselves and the world around us. Training in energy work can support a practitioner in honing in on this exchange of energy and facilitate energetic movement that fosters healing in a variety of populations.

The language of horses is largely energy based.  Horses communicate with their bodies and provide rich opportunities for people to learn how to tap into this deeper knowing of the rhythm and flow of the energy of their own bodies.

Reiki – Many of our certification students are trained in Reiki.  Mary Oliver, our Rhythm and Art Education Coordinator, recommends that you find a qualified Reiki Master for Usui Reiki (teachings of Mikao Usui) that has good reviews.  Some of our students recommend Torsten A. Lange,  The International House of Reiki, and Simply Reiki. 

Eden Energy Medicine

Emotional Freedom Techniques:  EFT Tapping Training Institute


NL Content available if you are interested in exploring this direction:

Personal Immersion and NL Intensive touches some of these concepts

Tapping into Peace:  Percussive Tapping Techniques for Self-Regulation and Soothing for NL Members

Chakra Balancing with Michelle Holling-Brooks



Yoga is an excellent way to support connection to one’s own body and internal experience – it offers rhythmic and intentional movements that explore, soothe, and strengthen.  When conducted in a trauma informed manner, yoga can be very healing for the body and cultivate growth that is beyond or beneath words.

The Trauma Conscious Yoga Institute

Little Flower Yoga:  Mindfulness and Yoga for Children


Parts Work

“Parts work” is the idea that every individual is multi-faceted, or contains multiple sides or parts of self.  These parts come alive for different reasons, to serve different purposes, and make up the beautiful and complex nature of being human.  Supporting clients in working with their “parts” destigmatizes and expands the range of human experience, which often allows clients to experience less shame and a more integrated, central sense of self.

Jungian Archetypes also address a similar concept – that the human experience is both collective and individual, we all experience a wide variety of ways of being in the world and identifying too strongly with parts, or rejecting parts, can lead to suffering.

In archetypal work and parts work, the practitioner supports the client in seeking balance, and feeling whole – this is a perspective anyone can operate from to support healing in self and others.

IFS Institute

Life Architect

Pacifica (This one is an M.A. or Ph.D program)

Jungian Archetypes Diploma Course


Content available through NL membership if you are interested in exploring this direction:

A journey from Parts to Self with Jenn Pagone



Psychodrama is an experiential way of facilitating clients that involves making what is internal become external. Psychodrama supports the processing of memories, intentional acknowledgement of the present, exploration of dreams, engagement with parts and unavailable others, and practicing for the future – which makes it a suitable facilitation approach for a variety of practitioners, and blends well with a variety of other methods. This approach can be done with individuals and groups and involves constructing figurative and literal representations of an image, experience, place, etc so that the “director” and client can walk through the experience together.  

American Board of Examiners in Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Group Psychotherapy

American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama

Federation of European Psychodrama Training Organizations


Polyvagal Theory

Polyvagal theory is an emerging approach that addresses the experience of the nervous system in response to social and environmental cues.  Techniques developed from the theory support practitioners and clients in noticing and regulating nervous system functioning in order to find safety and calm within the body. This groundbreaking theory and its ongoing development will no doubt continue to be cutting edge in the field of health and wellness.


Deb Dana’s Rhythm of Regulation


Content available through NL membership if you are interested in exploring this direction:

Doing Attachment-Based Work (in-person and through telehealth)


Working with Children and Parents

Children and their parents make up a significant portion of the clientele seeking equine assisted services. Learning to support families in cultivating their own health can be an incredibly satisfying endeavor, with a wide ripple effect. When we understand how the relationship is the vehicle for change, we can positively impact children and their parents no matter our background.

Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI)

Being With with Robyn Gobbel


Content available through NL if you are interested in exploring this direction:

NL for Young Children and Parents


Spiritual Direction

Healing often requires engagement with mind, body, and spirit/soul. There are many ways to become a spiritual mentor to anyone who feels called to the role.

Spiritual Direction International

The Living School is considered a wisdom school so it doesn’t fully fit under this category, but I am placing it here because of the profound manner in which its students seem equipped to guide people in contemplative spirituality.

The Sacred Art of Living A school offering many learning paths in the art of both living and dying.


Content available through NL if you are interested in exploring this direction:

Natural Lifemanship for Spiritual Connection



The Enneagram is a powerful tool for inner work.  It helps us and our clients understand why we do what we do – the subconscious drives that motivate us and shape our patterns of relating in the world.  The enneagram begins with self- awareness and empowers individuals to take responsibility for their own growth and development, offering choice and leading to healing and greater freedom and integration.

The Enneagram Institute

The Narrative Enneagram

Chestnut Paes Enneagram Academy

Integrative 9 Enneagram Solutions

The Enneagram Prison Project

Unbridled Change Enneagram Series


Master the Fundamentals

The Fundamentals of NL is the best place to start for those who have a clear sense of the service they provide, and for those who are still refining their service or scope of practice.  This training provides foundational knowledge, skills and hands-on experience to help you take the next step.  If you’re ready to incorporate horses into your work in a trauma-informed and relationally focused way, NL will meet you where you are on your journey.

The Fundamentals of NL is the first step on the NL Certification path and is only offered a couple times a year.  Our final cohort for 2023 begins in September. Join us!