The Top Five Questions Our Certification Students Ask

The Top Five Questions Our Certification Students Ask

By Laura McFarland and Bettina Shultz-Jobe

Natural Lifemanship Certification is a journey that involves taking the Fundamentals of NL and the NL Intensive and then seeing clients while occasionally meeting on zoom with seasoned NL practitioners to get individualized support regarding your specific clients, horses, facilities, funding sources, and more.  Consultation and mentorship is the lifeblood of the certification process, and it is where we get to know you best and learn what you need from us most.

This year we have specially curated workshops for our conferences, Sunrise Summit and Sacred Landscapes, to address the top five concepts our students regularly tell us they are grappling with.

Concept # 1: Is it really necessary to use pressure or make requests?

For years we have been answering this question cognitively in blogs like this one, on consult calls, and in many of our trainings.  Many of you have heard us communicate that pressure simply is. It exists implicitly in any relationship in the form of expectations and desires and it exists explicitly in the form of requests. It is literally gravity on our body, and is needed to help us wake up in the morning and move throughout life. Oftentimes, our mind follows this train of thought, but our body resists!

We all have a reaction to the word “pressure” – many of us have a complicated, sometimes even negative relationship with the word and idea.  This year we are going to take a fresh look at the principles of pressure from a somatic perspective, so that you can explore your own personal relationship with pressure, energy, and requests – and how that relationship impacts your world both in and out of the round pen.

Our relationship with pressure is often the result of our most early attachments – when we explore our body’s experience of pressure we are standing on sacred ground – what better place to delve into this concept than at a conference dedicated to exploring the sacred landscapes within us and around us.

When Sacred Landscapes Roots Pass holders attend the November 8th workshop, My Relationship to Pressure: Exploring a key principle to better understand the Natural Lifemanship process,” they can count it toward two consult hours as part of Basic NL Certification! (this is a savings of $350)

Concept #2:  How do I increase my energy in a calm and connected manner?

This question is very much related to the first one. It comes up ALL the time. Once we realize that making requests is essential to building trust and connection in our relationships and we understand the concept of pressure intellectually, we may still struggle with managing pressure within our own bodies. For example, increasing pressure while using the least amount of energy (an NL principle) requires that we increase our body energy while staying present, calm and connected. This can be super challenging for any of us who have experienced an increase in body energy as something frightening or associated with disconnection, especially in our early relationships.

So, we asked Jennifer Harper, founder of Mindfulness with Horses and Little Flower Yoga, to tackle this topic:  “Mindfulness with Horses: Not just for calming down!”

According to Jennifer (and we agree!), “Many people hear mindfulness and think about calming down. Slowing the breath, slowing the body, and finding stillness in the mind. While these can be powerful aspects of a mindfulness practice, they are only a small part of the story.  Mindfulness supports our capacity to be present and embodied at ANY energy level. It offers us practices to stay regulated while accessing our power. Stay curious while increasing body energy. Stay grounded during big movement….”

In this 3 hour workshop Jennifer will guide you to explore ways to increase your energy without escalating emotion, supporting your ability to communicate clearly and powerfully with both horses and humans.

Concept #3: Detachment – do I really have to?

Detachment with connection is another area many people find themselves grappling with as they learn NL – another topic we have covered in blogs, webinars, and numerous trainings. Detachment (distance, space, boundaries) does not necessarily mean disconnection, yet it can certainly evoke anxiety, which we feel in our bodies. If you cringe at the thought of asking for detachment, you are not alone and we hear you!

Tim and Tanner Jobe are preparing a workshop you will not want to miss: “How to Stop Hating Detachment.”  (We tried to come up with another title, but this one just stuck!)

In this workshop, Tim and Tanner Jobe will talk about and demonstrate how to harness the power of connected detachment to enhance relational development and reveal fun and exciting pathways for growth and even greater intimacy.

Concept #4: What about my horses’ relationships within their herd?  What about their relationships with the EAS team?  How do the NL principles apply?

The Natural Lifemanship principles extend to all of life’s relationships. This is why NL is such an effective approach to partnering horses and humans for therapeutic and learning purposes. However, in what ways do the NL principles extend to all of life’s relationships for our equine partners, who dwell in a herd and who spend their days working with their human partners offering equine-assisted services? We have several excellent workshops that will explore these two aspects of equine experience.

In “Getting Along: Facilitating Healthy Relationships within your (Horse) Herd”, Tim and Tanner Jobe share how they go about nurturing the bonds within the herd itself. This is super important to equine welfare and development, especially when equines are working in EAS settings.

Rebecca Hubbard and Reccia Jobe explore the ways in which the relational dynamics between equines and human practitioners impact the general healing landscape for clients participating in equine-assisted services. You won’t want to miss “The Human-Equine Relational Landscape: How Practitioner Treatment and Interactions with Equines Impact the Healing Landscape.”

In “Creating a Holistic Wellness Program for Your Horses:  Incorporating Energy and Body Work” with Michelle Holling-Brooks you will be invited to look beyond the basic nutritional and traditional training needs of your horses.  This session will dive into the different components of a truly holistic approach to working with and caring for our equine partners’ body, mind, and soul.  You will also have the opportunity to learn and practice balancing your own energies as well, often the missing but key component.

Michelle Holling-Brooks will also present on “Developing the First Stages of Building a Secure Attachment for All (Including Horses) – Trust, Respect, and Willingness.”  In this workshop you will explore the foundational skills needed to support clients and horses in building secure attachment. Michelle will introduce you to the first three pillars of what she calls the “Bridge of Connection” – building trust, respect, and willingness for ALL beings; horses and humans alike.

Dr. Amanda Massey is an AVCA certified animal chiropractor. In her presentation titled, “How to Assess your Horse’s Physical Discomfort to Help Them Thrive,” she will explore how stress impacts our equine partners.  She will be giving demonstrations and sharing her experiences as an equine chiropractor to tell if your equine partner is experiencing discomfort from past traumas and how to improve their adaptation to environmental stressors with bodywork and chiropractic care.

Question #5: How do I integrate somatic work and movement into the services I provide?

We have numerous presentations, workshops, and practices that address this topic!

First of all, every single keynote will help you integrate the body and movement into your work and your life.  Our community circle will guide you in the experience of some of these practices.

In “Healing Relationships with Place and Space:  Engaging with the environment to foster transformation” Kate Naylor will guide us to consciously explore both space and place in our work, experiencing the deep healing that is found when we sink into our interdependence with the natural world, embracing the connection being offered in everything we do.

The keynote presentation with Mark Taylor and Bettina Shultz-Jobe, “Moving Through Space: What We Can Learn from Observing Movement in Session.” In this presentation, Mark introduces sixteen patterns of movement that allow us to move on land. You’ll learn to observe these movements within your own body, and how to observe patterns of movement when facilitating a client in session with a horse.

Another excellent movement focused workshop is offered by Kathy Taylor, who teaches: “Moving in Three Dimensions: A Simple Framework for Using Your Body to Establish, Maintain, and Nurture Connection While Working with Clients and Horses.”

Yet another workshop, “We Hold it All: A Sacred Root” by Jessica Benton, invites us to pay special attention to the root of our spine and pelvic floor and how this space in our bodies houses our emotions, histories, belief systems, and important functions. This root space deserves time, mindful connection, and healing.

Finally, in “Deepening the Satisfaction Cycle,” Mark Taylor invites participants to increase their sensory awareness of movement, to embody the Basic Neurological Patterns, and to explore their personal relationship to the elements of the Satisfaction Cycle (yield, push, reach, grasp, pull).

There is more!  Check out the detailed schedule here.

So, why can this conference count toward certification for the first time ever?!!

Because the presentations listed above barely scratch the surface of what can be learned, experienced, and embodied at our conferences!   The learning at this conference will be rich!  You can read every single presentation description here if you want more detail!

If you are a Roots pass holder for the Sacred Landscapes conference, you may attend the “My Relationship to Pressure” session on Nov 8th and it will count for two individual consultations (a savings of $350!).

When you attend the Sunrise Summit (LIVE or watch at least 12 hours of recordings) and Sacred Landscapes in person either November 8th – 11th (Roots Pass) or 9th – 11th (Community Pass) you can apply the conference toward a speciality training, which is one of the requirements for Advanced Certification (a savings of up to $2,000 + travel and lodging!).

This is a bit of an experiment for us.  There are so many presentations that we believe will profoundly contribute to your specialization in this field.  We look forward to your feedback.

**To apply the NL conference toward a specialty training for Advanced NL Certification, you will intentionally choose your unique specialization path at the conference and share with us (in your certification course) how the conference contributed to your specialization in this field.  

We hope to see you there!




Why Horses?

Why Horses?

By Bettina Shultz-Jobe, Tim Jobe, Laura McFarland, and Kate Naylor

The following is an excerpt from the Natural Lifemanship Manual.  Our manual is intended to serve as a resource to support students’ learning as they move through our Fundamentals and Intensive trainings. (The suggested citation is at the end of this article)

Additionally, much more is taught about this subject in week 5 of the Fundamentals of NL.  This subject is also covered in this free webinar.


On every website for programs and practitioners utilizing equine assisted services (EAS) you are bound to find a page called, “Why Horses?” And rightly so.  Answering this question is vital to legitimizing our field and building a valid and intentional practice of EAS.

As professionals including sentient beings as partners in healing work, answering the question why” is our ethical obligation, and drives everything we do.

The answers to this question (and there are many) will inform our planning before sessions, our choices within sessions, our processing after sessions, and our care for our horses throughout.

First, why do we call our business Natural Lifemanship?

If you’re a horse person you know that Natural Lifemanship is a play on words from Natural Horsemanship (a horse training approach that has grown in popularity since the 1980’s), but it is also a clear departure from it.

Fundamentally, we teach a different way of thinking about the nature of the horse/human relationship, and we believe that the principles of how we engage with our horses should be the same as with humans and the rest of the world of which we are a part.  When beliefs and underlying principles change, behaviors and techniques are organically transformed.  We don’t have to prescribe techniques, for either humans or horses, when there is a clear and embodied understanding of guiding principles and beliefs.

The emergence of Natural Horsemanship was, thankfully, the beginning of more widespread, humane treatment of horses.  That said, oftentimes, the underlying principles are still steeped in power, domination, and control.  Kinder, gentler control is still control.  Mind control is still control.  Natural Lifemanship began a revolutionary change in the beliefs and principles at the heart of all healthy relationships, including those with horses.

At times, we use similar terms but they often have different meanings and unique logic that governs them.  Sometimes we change the term to reflect the differences, and sometimes we seek to reclaim the word being used.

Through your training with us, you will begin to understand why we say “It’s not about horsemanship, it’s about lifemanship.  AND it’s all about the relationship!”

These principles, which focus on the health of the relationship first and foremost, are not only about horses, and not only about humans – they are guides to relating to the world, and our lives, at large.  This is where the conversation about “why horses” begins.  And so, we call this Natural LIFEmanship.

Our Equines’ welfare depends on how we answer the question “Why Horses?”

Equine assisted services is the fastest growing equine related field in the world, and the truth is, our industry is one of the few that puts the welfare of the equines we work with at the forefront of the conversation.  How we interact with our equines now, the methods we choose and the ideals we put forth, will no doubt influence the rest of the equine industry.

In this way, we have a responsibility to think deeply about this question of “why horses”, and about how we answer this question.  In order to attempt to answer it satisfactorily we want to talk about a few big concepts.  Since our approach is grounded in the sentience, consent, and individuality of horses, new questions arise that may not have been explored before.  First, what is objectification (a common practice we argue has no place in equine assisted services)?  Second, what is a horse, really? And lastly, what is a horse not?

The Subject of Objectification as it Relates to Horses

One way we have looked at equine welfare is through the work of Martha Nussbaum.  Martha Nussbaum is a philosopher and law professor at the University of Chicago and speaks and writes on the subject of objectification, particularly as it relates to feminism.

She, of course, is speaking of humans, but what she expresses aligns with our principles and fits for all living beings, as we see it.  At the core of objectification is power, domination, and control whether we are speaking of humans or animals.

And when we think about trauma, what is underlying the traumatic experience is often power, domination and control.  So we must become incredibly intentional about how we interact with our horses in this work so as to not unintentionally re-enact the trauma that brought so many of our clients to us in the first place.

Let’s look at some of Nussbaum’s tenets of objectification:

  • Instrumentality, treating the other as a tool for his or her purposes.
  • Denial of autonomy, treating the other as lacking in autonomy or self-determination.
  • Fungibility, treating the other as interchangeable with others of the same type – as though each individual is mutually interchangeable.
  • Violability, treating the other as lacking in boundary integrity and violable.  This one is foundational to the concept of consent.
  • Denial of subjectivity, treating the other as though there is no need for concern for their experiences or feelings.
  • Ownership, treating the other as though they can be owned, bought, or sold.

Reading through this list, you probably notice that most of these concepts currently and actively exist in our wider cultural paradigms about equines.  What we must address then is, what does it do to our work when we objectify horses, and how do we objectify as little as possible?

Keep in mind that all of these concepts occur on a spectrum – even Nussbaum doesn’t name a tipping point at which we move into objectification, well, objectively.  It is our aspiration though, to objectify as little as is possible – this requires a deep exploration of our beliefs and practices regarding equines.

Let’s break it down to the other two questions mentioned earlier…

What is a horse?

  • A horse is a living animal, and more specifically, a mammal.
  • A horse is a relational, herd animal.
  • A horse is a sentient being.
  • Each horse is an individual.  If we truly want to have healthy, connected relationships with our horses we must shift our focus from what is good for the horse to what is good for this horse.  Attunement is key, and at the core of the therapeutic work done in NL.

What is a horse not?

  • A horse is not a tool or an instrument. If you find that you are using the horse like a tool, then it’s a good idea to utilize an inanimate object (a machine that mimics the movement of the horse, rocking chairs, swings, etc.). Way less liability and expense! Fewer ethical concerns.
  • A horse is not a mirror or reflection of me. A horse is a living, breathing, sensing, feeling, and thinking being. A horse can certainly respond to me, but this is quite different from mirroring my internal experience in some way.
  • A horse is not a metaphor.  Objects are often powerful metaphors, but when doing therapy, learning, or coaching, a living being should never be a metaphor for another individual.  However, our relational patterns can, indeed, surface in any relationship, including that with a horse.  We can experience triggers by the ways in which another, including the horse, might behave similarly to someone else in our life, but the horse is not a metaphor for that person. The relationship with the horse is a real relationship where patterns emerge, triggers can happen, and conflict resolution is sometimes necessary.
  • The horse is not a deity. A horse is not perfect. Not always present. Not always honest. (etc. etc. etc.) The desire for, or the illusion of, perfection always gets in the way of genuine connection. Deification is still objectification.
  • A horse is not a human. In order to do ethical work in this field we must explore and celebrate similarities AND differences.
  • A horse is not a therapist.

Some qualities that horses and humans share

  • Horses have a mammalian brain and nervous system
  • The nervous system of a horse can engage in fight, flight, freeze, and fawn
  • Attachment, bonding, and relationship are basic needs
  • Horses can embody trauma (i.e. hold onto trauma in their bodies)
  • Horses can check out, submit, appease, and dissociate
  • The horse’s brain, as a prey animal, naturally develops similarly to the traumatized human brain
  • The horse’s brain is plastic (changeable) and use dependent

Why then do we partner with horses?

NL partners with horses because of the reciprocal relationship that is possible. Horses are capable of engaging in healthy, genuine connection, relationship, and partnership.  This relationship can be profoundly deeper than words.

Within this relationship the client and horse are responding to each other which requires full body and brain activation and offers, when done consciously, a complete bottom-up brain experience.  Horses do, indeed, invite us to clearly communicate beyond words with our entire being.  They are beautifully sensitive to our internal states and energy, but this does not mean they are merely a metaphor or a mirror.

Why Do We Ride Horses?

The mounted work in particular can be especially healing – when done systematically there is proprioceptive and vestibular engagement, as well as the use of the other five senses, plus relational connection, and thinking.  This is how we heal and build new neural pathways.

Often in trauma, particularly developmental trauma, we have to go back to repair and rebuild parts of neural pathways that were missed the first time around (in fetal development, infancy, and early childhood), or damaged due to trauma later in life.  From a developmental perspective, the amount of brain activation and development that is occurring when a mother or caregiver holds an infant is critical to laying the foundation of future neural networks.  We can mimic this with mounted work.

We can connect with the one who carries us!

In the womb, and later when a caregiver holds an infant, the two are responding to each other in movement, verbal and non-verbal communication, touch, emotion – it can be a full brain and body experience that is simply not possible when using the horse as a tool.

Can human relationship principles really transfer to horses?

We are often asked if we can really transfer human relationship principles to the horse and vice versa?  The answer to this question can be found as we seek to understand the mammalian brain, body, nervous system, and attachment needs.  This will be discussed at length as you continue to learn with NL.

When we embrace our similarities, we can truly embody what is meant by humane and ethical treatment of both horse and human.

Copyright © by Natural Lifemanship, LLC.  All rights reserved.


Jobe, T., Shultz-Jobe, B., McFarland, L. & Naylor, K. (2021). Natural Lifemanship’s Trauma Informed Equine Assisted Services. Liberty Hill: Natural Lifemanship.




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!




Earn NBCC Continuing Education Credits through NL Trainings

Earn NBCC Continuing Education Credits through NL Trainings

Natural Lifemanship has proudly been a National Board for Certified Counselors Continuing Education Provider for nearly 10 years.

All Natural Lifemanship students can earn continuing education credits through the National Board for Certified Counselors through applicable trainings and courses.

Trainings and courses on our website will mention NBCC credits when they are available, how many you can get, and how to earn them.

How to Receive CE Credits

To receive your continuing education credits, the NBCC states:

“A certificate, verification form or letter verifying attendance is required for documentation. The documentation must include your name, date attended, hours completed, program title and signature of presenter/provider.”

A certificate of completion is automatically issued through your dashboard upon completion of all NL trainings once you’ve met the criteria. If you’ve chosen an NBCC approved course, the certificate will reflect the CE credits that you’ve earned  in order to receive your credits from the NBCC.

Look for this image throughout our site to identify trainings that qualify.

If you have any questions for us about Natural Lifemanship and our trainings that qualify for NBCC continuing education credits, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Just Released: Integrating Horses into Healing – edited by Cheryl Meola

Just Released: Integrating Horses into Healing – edited by Cheryl Meola

We are beyond thrilled to share an amazing new resource for the field edited by Cheryl Meola. We had the honor of contributing severals chapters to this book. When she approached us about contributing chapters, Cheryl said she wanted this book to be a resource for people newly entering the field of equine-assisted services. We were asked to write in a “newbie”-friendly way. That said, we believe this book is equally valuable for seasoned professionals and for those new to the field.

You can purchase Integrating Horses into Healing now on Amazon!

Here is a list of the book’s chapters with the titles we contributed in blue:

    1. Natural therapeutic aspects of horses by Cheryl Meola and Malaika King Albrecht
    2. The evolution of equine-assisted services (EAS): horses are good for people by Lorrie Renker, Octavia Brown and Pebbles Turbeville
    3. Horse Speak and Partnership by Sharon Wilsie and Laura Wilsie
    4. Relational Equine-Partnered Counseling (REPC) by Hallie Sheade
    5. An in-depth approach to relational work with equines: Natural Lifemanship by Bettina Shultz-Jobe and Kathleen Choe
    6. Breathing into relationships: the HERD Institute approach to equine-facilitated psychotherapy by Veronica Lac
    7. Side-to-side astride: the benefits and challenges of equine mounted work in trauma processing by Susanne Haseman
    8. Blended therapy modalities in equine-assisted psychotherapy: integrating equine-engaged internal family systems (EE-IFS) and equine-connected eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EC-EMDR) by Jenn Pagone and Kathleen Choe
    9. Medical therapy (OT, PT, SLP) enhanced with hippotherapy by Joann Benjamin, Ruth Dismuke-Blakely and Karen Gardner
    10. The Equus Effect: a road to regulation through equine-assisted learning by Jane Strong, David Sonatore and Elizabeth E. Lloyd-Richardson
    11. Serving those who served…and still serve by Tara Mahoney
    12. Beyond mind and body: spiritual connections in equine-assisted services by Kathleen Choe and Laura McFarland
    13. Be the Horse’s Advocate by C. Mike Tomlinson
    14. Enhancing the horses voice: incorporating Horse Speak into psychotherapy by Susanne Haseman, Sharon Wilsie and Laura Wilsie
    15. Exploring socio-emotional and cognitive development in horses by Tim Jobe, Tanner Jobe and Rebecca J. Hubbard
    16. Not just horsing around: an equine professional’s guiding principles by Malaika King Albrecht
    17. The role of the equine professional in equine-assisted services by Tim Jobe, Tanner Jobe and Reccia Jobe
    18. Heart centered horsemanship: the horse trainer’s perspective in EAS by Stacey Carter
    19. A holistic perspective: My transformative journey through Natural Lifemanship by Sarah Willeman Doran
    20. Are we there yet? The ongoing journey of healing for the healers by Kathleen Choe
    21. Interventions and strategies toward mental health and wellbeing for professionals by Aviva Vincent and Joanna Robson
    22. Starting or restarting an equine-assisted services organization: Don’t put the cart before the horse by Nancy Paschall
    23. The key to a successful non-profit board by John Matthew Kundtz
    24. How do you know it works: Evaluating equine-assisted service programs by Maureen MacNamara
    25. Bridging research and practice in equine-assisted services by Kimberly I. Tumlin
    26. Conclusions and future directions

Each chapter in this book is contributed by an expert in the field and provides an overview of the topic plus concrete examples and helpful resources. We are so proud to have been a part of this effort and cannot recommend this book strongly enough!

Get your copy of Integrating Horses Into Healing today!

Psst…when you order the book through the links in this article, we earn a small affiliate commission. This transparency is important to us, but since we contributed to the book, you know we recommend it whole-heartedly!


Tim Jobe’s Story of Personal Transformation

Tim Jobe’s Story of Personal Transformation

This week, we opened registration for the NL Intensive. One of the big questions we always get from our community is how the NL Intensive is different from the Fundamentals of NL.


The simple answer: Fundamentals teaches you a new way of thinking about your relationship with horses, people and yourself. The Intensive teaches you a new way of being. 


The Intensive is the point in your learning that represents a complete and total paradigm shift. It’s when the old ways of doing, being and showing up are set aside and the new ways of being take root. 


So, how did we come about this way of teaching and embodying the principles of Natural Lifemanship? It all began with my partner in life and in this business, Tim Jobe, in 1986 at  West Texas Boys Ranch. Here is  a snippet of Tim’s story.



In 1986, Tim  was running a 40,000 cattle ranch when he decided to take a new job. There was a 5,000 acre farming ranch in West Texas that needed an experienced horse trainer to work with not only the horses, but also 75 displaced boys who lived and worked on the property.


“The horses were really well trained, but the boys couldn’t ride them at all,” Tim said. “Pretty soon, I realized it wasn’t the kids’ fault.” 


Growing up, Tim experienced domination, control, and severe abuse in his family of origin. And like all of us, the nature of our earliest relationships extend to our way of thinking and being in our relationships with others, including those with horses.


“These boys didn’t know how to intimidate the horses the way I could,” Tim said. “But I decided that if I was going to be able to get those boys to ride, I had to find another way to interact with my horses – without power, domination and control.  I had to help them learn to do the right thing because it was the right thing to do.”


Change your principles, change your techniques


Working at a boys’ ranch, Tim often went to staff meetings with child psychologists and other specialists.  As he listened to the principles the psychologists used when working with the boys, he started to wonder why we don’t use these same human relationship principles when we work with horses.


“We have these patterns in our brain for what works when training horses,” Tim said. “We can consciously think about what would work better, but our bodies fall into old patterns so easily in practice. We can’t just destroy everything we knew before – we have to use all the techniques we know work, but with different underlying principles and a different body state.” 


“Before starting on this journey, I would ask a horse to do something and just kept increasing the pressure until they did it,” Tim said. “But to do that, they had to quit thinking, quit feeling and just submit to everything I asked them to do.”


“Now, I understand that resistance is just a search for an answer, so when a horse resists, I keep my energy and my intention the same.  I offer more connection.” Tim said. “I don’t want to remove my request because then I teach that the way to get your needs met is to resist.  I have to maintain my request in a way that makes it safe for the horse to continue to search for answers, because if I increase my energy or the pressure they will submit, appease, or increase the resistance.   This is one example of a small change that has made a big difference. . . and took a ton of personal work.” 


Embodying the principles of Natural Lifemanship


This new way of being that Tim pioneered back in 1986 was the foundation for the principles Natural Lifemanship is known for today. Along the way, we have met people like you, who want to live in a world where connection and healthy relationships are seen and felt in everything we do. 


To live in that world, we have to build it. 


When our relationship with horses and people are built on trust, mutual respect, attunement and connection, the healing principles can transfer seamlessly to healthy human relationships with yourself and your clients. 


On Thursday, March 9th, Tim Jobe will be in conversation with Kate Naylor about his discovery nearly 40 years ago, the transformation that took root for him during that season, and the personal journey he took to  truly embody the principles of Natural Lifemanship – a journey he’s still on today. We hope you’ll join us for that conversation


If you’re ready to join us on your own journey of personal transformation – and build the world we want to live in – join us for the NL Intensive