These Boots are Made for Workin’

These Boots are Made for Workin’

These boots are made for workin’ and that’s just what they’ll do. . . 🎶

You can learn so much about a person by the shoes they wear.  Really. . . think about it.

I, for example, spend a lot of my time in crocs, Haflinger clogs. . . and round toed, rubber soled, Ariat or Justin cowboy boots (Fat babies or Gypsies to be exact).  Each of these need to be replaced about once a year because I wear holes into the soles.  My shoes tell you a bit about my willingness to greatly sacrifice style for comfort, my heritage, and my trade, among other things, I’m sure.  They tell you about the lifestyle choices I’ve made.

I have a pair of running shoes that I bought almost 20 years ago.  I wear them occasionally.  There was a time in life I had every kind of flip flop imaginable.  I remember wearing a very professional skirt and suit jacket with flip flops. . . and it was appropriate in that situation during that season.  I have some heels that I literally have to dust off each time I wear them.  I bought a pair of red boots with turquoise tops 20 years ago that are still one of my most prized possessions.

Wouldn’t it be fun to tell our life story through our shoes – just pictures of our shoes on a timeline?  I think I’d love that.

People.  Horses.  And Healing.

I remember the day I realized that I had found what I was going to dedicate my life to.

People.  Horses.  And Healing.

The light was shining through the sliding glass doors that created one wall of our ground floor living room apartment.  There was this little wicker couch with heavy boucle cream colored upholstery from the 80’s and a sage colored papasan chair I’d bought at Pier 1.  We had gotten most of our furniture from Thrift stores and my roommate’s artwork was hung on the walls.  Even today, the print of Beth’s clay pots hangs in my office.

I had just gotten back from a 6 month break from Denver Seminary.  Due to a complete faith crisis coupled with a nasty break-up, I had decided to move to Massachusetts with my sister to live in a primarily Buddhist community and learn about a cancer diet my mother had dedicated herself to after a bout with ovarian cancer. (But this is a story for another time). I had just returned to Denver Seminary to finish my Masters in Counseling when I stumbled upon this career that has become my life’s work.


10-year-old Bettina with Mr. Ed

Coming Back to Horses

I am one of the lucky girls whose first love was my Dad.  He loved horses, so I am also one of the lucky girls whose second love was my horse, Mr. Ed.  I loved that horse and I have always believed that he loved me – he at least went to great lengths to keep me safe.

When I was 15 years old he and his pasture mate, Babydoll, were both hit by cars on a foggy Florida morning. (This too is a story for another day)  For me, this was the beginning of a long hiatus from horses.  My father tried to get me the palomino I had always wanted but we couldn’t really afford it, and I was far too heartbroken to build a relationship with another horse.

Anyway, as the sun came through those glass doors in that little apartment, on the heels of a renewed commitment to finish the path I had begun at Seminary, I felt myself drawn back into relationship with my second love.  I have heard many stories about the thin moments people in this field experience when they realize they can help people with the help of horses.

They can get a new office among the animals and nature they love.

They can wear their boots to work!

I’ve also heard many stories about people who “came back to horses” through this field.  I often hear bits of my story in the stories of others.  For many of us, this is a dream and a coming home.

Buy the Boots

The first person I called when I’d found my calling was my Dad.  He was so excited for me and with me.  One of the first things he said was, “We have to get you some new boots!”  There is certainly more to the story, but the brown boots with the yellow tulips you see at the top of this blog are the boots he got me at the very beginning of this transformative journey I have been so blessed to have found.  I have been honored to watch many, many new practitioners come into this field to find their calling and their passion.  Almost always, one of the first things they do is buy the boots.  Seriously, I’ve seen it over and over again.  We all wear different boots for very specific reasons.

Y’all this field is much harder to get started in than more typical office therapy, coaching, etc.  We have to do quite a bit more than hang out a shingle, but it’s simpler to get started than most people think. Yeah, you need a horse.  Yeah, you need some sort of space to be in with a horse and person.  Yeah, you need some education, but I am here to tell you that none of these things need to be perfect for you to start.  Lots has happened over the last 20 years, but first I bought the boots, and I’m so glad I did.  Wearing my boots to work most days is a lifestyle choice I will never be sorry I made.

Walk with us

If it is your desire to come to horses or to come back to horses and help people heal and grow through the powerful connection that can be formed between horse and person, I say buy the boots! That’s the first step to getting started. If you want to know the next steps, we’re going to be diving into exactly what you need to do to get started in this business in our upcoming webinar on January 18th at 5:00 pm Central. Register here!

Building a strong foundation, from the boots up, is the best place to begin. If you’re eager to make 2024 the year you really dig deep into this work, I want to personally invite you to join us for our upcoming Fundamentals of NL. Registration happens to be open right now and there is no better time to begin than right now. Learn more about Fundamentals and join us.

Maybe one day you can tell the story about how you found your way into the coolest niche field ever simply by showing us the shoes you wore to work in 2023 and shoes you wore to work in 2024.  Wouldn’t that be amazing?!

P.S. These boots are made for workin’ and that’s just what they’ll do . . . 🎶

I hope this song is now stuck in your head because, 1. It’s been stuck in mine for weeks and I need some company, and 2.  It’s a great beatem’ up song to sing on the days you need some serious power to get through, because even dreams and miracles require a lot of work, and some days will be hard.  Sometimes you have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, so the boots you wear are super important!  Buy the Boots!




What Really Matters for Good Therapy?

What Really Matters for Good Therapy?

While it can cause plenty of frustration (for both professionals, researchers, and clients alike), we find time and again that the benefits of therapy are not due to specific techniques learned or specific modalities used – they are due, in fact, to the quality of the person who is the therapist (or coach, or other practitioner).

Reactions to the NYT Magazine’s Take on Therapy

Just a couple of days ago, the New York Times Magazine released an article on the state of therapy in our country today. The journalist overtly shares her frustration with the simple fact that therapy and its outcomes are difficult to research quantitatively. 

In fact, in multiple meta-analyses of research done over the years it has been repeatedly found that therapy helps many, and most therapeutic approaches help equally well. There aren’t really any “perfect” interventions or models. Nothing stands out in terms of what, clinically, we do.

So what DOES matter in good healing work?

Ultimately, it is the skills of the practitioner that make all the difference. 

Not the skills needed to implement a protocol, but to foster healing connection. 

The ability to connect, to empathize, to respond well to conflict, to remind the client (both in thinking and feeling) that they are not alone in their challenges. 

This is what it means when we say the relationship is the vehicle for change. (You can also find a webinar on this subject here.) 

This is why ALL of our trainings are (sometimes annoyingly) low on technique and formula, and high on personal development, self awareness, and the practice of the ART of connection. 

We, as therapists, coaches, and healers of all kinds, are not trying to fix a problem (task), we are attempting, moment to moment, to see our clients, to hear our clients, to feel our clients – so that they have an experience of not being alone (connection). 

To be with, not to fix

Life can be challenging, for everyone. It is not our job to fix that, it IS our job to BE WITH our clients in a way that eases the burden. 

This is what The Natural Lifemanship Institute attempts to foster in each and every one of our students. 

We work to cultivate the skillset to be a positive and therapeutic relationship for change. 

Because as it turns out, this is what really matters. 

Join us

Something we believe deeply at Natural Lifemanship is that this journey requires community. If you are a therapist looking for a supportive community of colleagues who are learning from each other and evolving every day, we invite you to join us. Learn more about NL Membership

The life-changing impact of Natural Lifemanship for Sarah Willeman Doran

The life-changing impact of Natural Lifemanship for Sarah Willeman Doran

One of our dedicated Natural Lifemanship practitioners, Sarah Willeman Doran, recently authored a chapter in the new book, Integrating Horses into Healing that details her transformational healing journey with horses and specifically, her transformational experience with Natural Lifemanship. 

As a Dually Advanced Certified NL Practitioner and Equine Professional (Advanced NLC-P,EP), Sarah embodies our mission at Natural Lifemanship and we’re excited to share a brief recap of what she shared about NL. To read the full chapter and other life changing stories of healing and transformation, get the book here: Integrating Horses into Healing.


A Fallen Star

Sarah’s relationship with horses begins in the competitive world of showjumping. At a young age, she was competing at the Grand Prix level and was seen as a rising star in the sport. She knew how to get the most out of her horses and saw great success early on. There was no telling how far she could go. 

But behind the scenes, Sarah had faced abuse from one of her coaches. She’d suppressed her trauma to continue to perform in the sport she loved, and didn’t  realize until far later how damaging this was. 

Sarah’s meteoric rise in Grand Prix jumping would come to an abrupt end following traumatic riding injuries. She would eventually recover to win an intercollegiate individual national championship riding for Stanford University, but would never be able to return to a Grand Prix jumping level, and stepped out of competitive horse jumping.

But her journey with horses would eventually take a new path. . 


A New Beginning 

Following early retirement from competitive riding, Sarah shifted her  focus to  developing young horses. At the same time, she was also walking the path of personal growth and deep healing.

When Sarah came across the Fundamentals of NL and the Fundamentals Practicum, her relationship with trauma was changed forever. She found a new understanding of how trauma affects the nervous system, opening the way to greater self-compassion and healing.

“The NL model gave me a chance to work through nervous-system activation ‘in the field,’ which can create a more embodied and deeper experience than an office setting provides,” Sarah writes. 

Finding early success with the Fundamentals of NL, Sarah went on to do a series of therapy intensives with her Natural Lifemanship therapist, each lasting three to four days.

“We processed a series of traumatic memories, and I truly felt my sense of them shift. It’s not that I’ve forgotten any of what happened, but now I can think of those things without feeling a jolt through my body,” Sarah explains. 

Sarah’s third intensive session was her breakthrough moment, which she described as “coming out of a fog.” Finally able to process her trauma and have a deeper connection with her inner being, she gained  the strength and wisdom to make positive changes in her life. 


The Natural Lifemanship Institute offers Transformative Training

As Sarah continued to take NL courses for her own growth and her work with clients, she explained, “For me, at the trainings, some of my most powerful growth experiences were not even about the work with the horses. Rather, certain interpersonal moments were what the field of psychology calls ‘corrective emotional experiences.’ These were moments when I felt truly seen and cared for, when trainers recognized my needs and practiced one of the core NL principles: making sure not to take away the other’s sense of choice.”  The following story is about one of these moments at an Intensive Practicum.

Sarah describes working with the paint horse she’d been partnered with:  “It felt satisfying, as we practiced various ways of moving together in the pen and went on to haltering with connection. I later learned the owner said he was head shy, but at the time, our connection had evolved enough that he would move his nose toward the halter and stay relaxed as I brought it over his ears.” It was in one of these moments of quiet connection that a sudden burst of wind and rain swept through the arena. In a split second the horse lost awareness of Sarah, and she narrowly dodged him as he swung his head and took off. 

When Sarah returned to the horse, he was agitated, running from one side of the pen  to the other, unable to calm down. When she asked for his attention, he would buck and kick at her, at close range.

“I was still focused enough on performing well and pleasing others that I persisted in the pen to a point of complete exhaustion, trying in vain to raise my energy and bring the horse’s attention back to me, to help him connect and calm down,” Sarah said.  “By the time I told one of the trainers that I was too exhausted to make any progress, I was in a state of nervous-system freeze that I hadn’t experienced in a long time. It felt familiar. . . I was afraid to tell anyone the extent of what I was feeling, and as usual, I looked basically fine from the outside. I had learned, through many years, how to keep going through these things and not reveal what was happening inside.”

Sarah was worried  about going back to training the next day. With her nervous system in overwhelm, she didn’t feel she’d be able to  work with the horse safely if he was still dysregulated and aggressive.

“When I arrived, I asked one of the trainers if we could speak privately. When westepped aside from the group, I couldn’t stop the tears, and I felt ashamed. I told her what I was going through, and also that I was worried about letting the trainers down. What happened next felt like a miracle to me: she listened with total kindness and without judgment; she expressed the trainers’ full confidence in my abilities with the horses; and she said I did not have to work with the horse if it didn’t feel safe.”

Sarah tried to work with the horse again, but he was still in an agitated state, and Sarah was still triggered. She was used to being the tough horsewoman from her competitive days and tried to persist at first, but was quickly faced with a fork in the road. Should she continue to hang on to this persistence that made her successful in the competitive world, or was it time to let go and do what was best for her well-being?

Sarah, with the help of her NL trainer, decided to let go. 

“This was an empowering turning point. At the time, in my evolution as a person, what I needed most was to choose to put my well-being first. Not only to choose that but to be supported in that choice. To see and feel that my safety mattered, that taking care of myself was not a cause for rejection or abuse of any kind, but rather led to an experience of safety,” Sarah said.  “This is what the NL trainer provided that day. She sat with me beside the pen, supporting me in my decision. . . this was a transformative experience of expressing a boundary around my safety and well-being and having it honored.”

Sarah learned more than just how to let go that day. As someone who’d experienced multiple forms of trauma in her youth, it had been difficult for her to express and uphold boundaries. She had been in relationships where boundaries were  violated, and hadn’t known how to break the cycle.

At that moment, she was able to make a new choice.

“As we heal, the choices in relationships become much clearer. If we express our boundaries clearly and repeatedly and someone still can’t honor them, the relationship isn’t healthy,” Sarah explains. “At that point, we can either attempt stronger ways to make our request, or we can choose to end the relationship.”  That day, Sarah chose to end the relationship knowing that it wasn’t healthy to push herself to work with this horse.

She called this moment a fundamental shift and a vital one for her own healing journey.


The ripple effect of healing

“Learning and practicing Natural Lifemanship changes the way we live. When we improve our relationships, the healing effect ripples outward through those around us. The more we heal ourselves, the more powerfully we can help clients,” she said. 

Like many healing journeys, Sarah’s has been long and painful. However, it has also been deeply rewarding. With the transformation she experienced through her Natural Lifemanship training and therapy, Sarah has seen long-term tangible benefits in her life. 

With a healthier and renewed nervous system, her baseline state has transformed from stress into wellness. She no longer lives with chronic pain, she feels at home in her own body, and she’s able to build the kind of healthy, connected relationships that bring the greatest sense of meaning in her life.  

Sarah is now a certified life coach and a mindfulness meditation teacher.  She is  building her own Natural Lifemanship practice in Colorado, with plans to open a retreat center in the mountains. 

Sarah is also an author, and you are sure to enjoy her writing. Here are some articles that focus on NL specifically:

Natural Lifemanship at the Wild Horse Sanctuary, Part 1

Natural Lifemanship at the Wild Horse Sanctuary, Part 2

The Healing Power of Connection

Building Connected Relationships


Begin Your Own Healing Journey Today

We couldn’t be more grateful to Sarah for sharing her journey of transformation with Natural Lifemanship. The beginning of Sarah’s journey is like so many for our NL community – it all begins with the Fundamentals of Natural Lifemanship. 

If you’re ready to learn the principles of Natural Lifemanship, join us for this life-changing training.




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

“It is life-changing…”

“It is life-changing…”

“NL continues to be the gold standard for training in EAP and continues to show that their principles and the fundamentals align within all aspects of life and relationship.”

-Renee Bouffard, LCSW/Executive Director, Healing Hoofbeats of CT, Inc.


The reviews are in and we are over the moon!


When COVID hit, we at Natural Lifemanship were in a scramble to create a new plan for staying connected with our community.  Staying connected, and continuing to grow in ongoing learning has been possible…virtually!  


As the pandemic has continued, we’ve worked to bring our second level training, the Natural Lifemanship Intensive, to an online platform as well. We launched our first cohort in March of 2021 and, having just wrapped up, I am simply delighted to say how powerful it was for me, the rest of the NL team, and for our students – some would even call it life-changing!


“The NL Intensive training is a life-changer. Diving so deep into concepts, receiving helpful feedback about videos, and having a dyad partner helped me deepen my practice and my relationships with individuals I serve, my horses, and all my other relationship partners. I would recommend this training to anyone who works in a helping profession. Honestly, I would recommend this training to anyone who has any relationship at all. I have learned so much about myself and the world around me.”

-Terri Schanen, Equine-Assisted Skill Developer, Lessons In Harmony, LLC



“Y’all. And I don’t say y’all bc I’m from Iowa. But y’all, this is life changing.”

– Ashley Stavig


Before, the Intensive was an in-person training lasting 3 days that allowed for a group of paired up students to work with horses to deepen their learning from the Fundamentals.  Taking turns practicing the principles of NL, the pair would receive feedback and participate in discussion throughout the 3 days.  It was a fun and meaningful training, without a doubt.  


And yet, at the end of the 3 days we were always met with the same conundrum…people wanted more time to think together, learn together, and practice…but it was just SO hard for everyone to make more time to do this in person.  Putting together a virtual learning experience is tricky, especially as we work to hold true to our values of relationship and connection first.  But the NL team outdid themselves again and produced a 15 week virtual training that has been, I am thrilled to say, a HUGE success. 



As one of the instructors in this course, I have relished being able to connect with students over a whole 15 weeks through a group forum, routine office hours, and a total of 8 class meetings – while each student has been able to learn in their own time and practice, right at home. The learning has been deeper, richer, and more transformative, because students have time to step into the principles, and even apply their learning to their personal lives and relationships.




The material that is covered in the NL Intensive takes students deeper into the neuroscience, the attachment, and the ethics of this field of equine assisted services – and it does so through powerful experiences in learning and practicing with horses. 


“This course was informative, practical, and easily transferred to my work with people in my private practice, with or without horses. I highly recommend it!”

– Lydia Radke, Ancora Wellness.


Each of the 8 class meetings is an opportunity to connect, regulate, and learn new skills – as well as an opportunity to watch, pause, review, and discuss the active work that the students are doing at home. NL Intensive students come away with a toolbox of regulation skills, a depth and breadth of knowledge, and an embodied experience of how to build healthy relationships no matter where they go.  



Whether you are a therapist, equine professional, or someone in between, you will find this training can improve not only your professional development, but your personal development as well.


“Phenomenal training that helps expand therapeutic knowledge, horsemanship knowledge, and self awareness. Applies to every part of life and really gets the wheels turning!”

-Brooke Bodar, LPC


NL students remark on the changes they witness in themselves, in their horses, their families, and of course, in their clients – the NL Intensive is a transformative experience.



In our last class together, each student had the opportunity to summarize their experience with the course and I was truly brought to tears by the reflections they shared.  We wanted to stay connected with our community, even at a distance, and I really think we did it.  What an incredible group of people willing to dive in to grow as individuals and professionals…and what an exciting training to be a part of!


I cannot wait for our new cohort to begin – so we can connect with a whole new group of incredible helpers and healers in the world.  I hope to see you there!


“If you are considering taking the intensive… DO IT!!! This course was not only profoundly helpful for my sessions with clients and horses but also deeply impactful for me personally.”  


Are you ready to join us? Our new cohort is now enrolling and will begin August 23rd! 

Register here!


Still wanting that in-person experience? 

Join us at an intensive practicum as well!  

The Intensive Practicum is a 3-day in-person experience for those who have a desire for hands-on practice with our trainers to truly understand the NL approach from the inside out. Following 15 weeks of comprehensive, in-depth online learning, you’ll have the opportunity to dive deep into your practice with horses, and receive in-the-moment feedback from experienced NL professionals, so you can progress with confidence and competence. It takes practice to become a therapeutic presence and skilled guide.  Here’s what our students are saying about the Intensive Practicum….



“The practicum really brought the online learning information together in the most meaningful way. This was a very powerful training and one of the best trainings I have ever attended.”

-Dr. Sarah Cairns, psychologist, Cairns Therapy and Nutrition


“One of my biggest takeaways [from the practicum] was getting to practice finding the space between my own “old tapes” of either trying to control or simply walking away when I’m feeling ignored; and then practicing what to do with my internal energy and getting clear about my needs in that space. Very healing and helpful to my personal and professional life moving forward.”


Haven’t taken the Fundamentals of NL (the pre-req for this course) yet?  Registration opens soon for the Fundamentals as well!  Check it out!


Still undecided? See ALL our amazing video testimonials, here!

What Are People Saying About Our Newest Training?

What Are People Saying About Our Newest Training?

WOW!  That is all I can say as we wrap our second cohort of the fully online Virtual Fundamentals of Natural Lifemanship. We started this training in May and have already had over 150 participants!  Our participants have been amazing, the learning has been monumental, and the feedback has been incredible!  As a trainer, I have so enjoyed connecting with students in so many new places  – Costa Rica, Hawaii, even Australia!  

You know, at first I was nervous about this course.  Natural Lifemanship, and our model of Trauma Informed Equine Assisted Psychotherapy/Learning is just so experiential – it must be felt to really be understood.  Could a fully online course really help people learn what it means to be trauma-informed??? 

To be honest, I had my doubts.  But now I know differently – our participants are truly feeling their way into the principles, guided by the rich learning over the duration of the Virtual Fundamentals.  Because this course takes place over 10 weeks, our participants are able to really engage and digest the information, while also practicing applying the principles in their everyday lives.  Whether you have access to horses or not, the science and principles presented in our training seeps into your very way of being, especially when you intentionally spend the time.  

I also love that we can engage with students in an online forum and in live office hours – as well as offer real feedback on practice videos. The videos have been such a joy to watch – Core and Jumpstart Fundamentals participants set out to practice what they are learning with their own horses, just the two of them – I love seeing the learning unfold in each partnership (and I know the other instructors, Bettina, Tim, and Tanner agree wholeheartedly!!).  All students (including those who take the Foundations option) get to learn from each other’s feedback – the learning is rich!

Now I am just so thrilled we are finally offering this online course – and I can’t wait for the next cohort that starts September 14th!  I hope you can join us!


But don’t take my word for it….

“I feel like I have learned more about connected relationships and the importance of them in the last eight weeks than I have in my entire life! I will absolutely be back for more trainings and can’t wait to learn more.”

– Victoria Pello, Equine Coordinator, The Last Resort


“The NL staff (founders, trainers, and related personnel) did a phenomenal job of compiling content into a series of weekly modules where participants could engage with materials (e.g., videos, blog articles, manual, webinars) virtually. There was a lot of valuable information to review and soak in but with permanent access to the online course, I am conveniently able to go back and review content as I see fit! I am still new to the Natural Lifemanship model but because of this training, my new job and the wonderful horses and humans I get to work with daily, I am confident that I will start to witness the powerful impact this unique work has on the lives of many!”

– Shayla Anderson, Intake Coordinator, Barnabas Horse Foundation


Participants love the flexibility!

“I have taken the online Natural Lifemanship course and was blown away by the thorough and detailed, enriching learning experience. The ability to connect with an instructor was at my fingertips. It was so well done. Thank you for your effort, I am truly enjoying this class and in many ways, I find that the online class has made it easier to retain information with the ability to replay lessons a few times to grasp all of the information and have the video feedback in such a thorough analysis in real time to the actions. I have been able to balance the course between work and farm responsibilities very well because of the flexible nature of the course. The course itself is phenomenal and I am enjoying the new lens that I have to operate within and I see things so differently: relationships, horse rescue work, people’s responses to relationships and each other, and my own self and life choices. Not to mention an amazing “framework/process” to apply to helping horses. I am thankful for this opportunity to learn from your team who is so dedicated and knowledgeable.”

– Mary Elena Moran


95% of participants said this training met their expectations, and in fact many said it exceeded their expectations!

“The Virtual Fundamentals training was a transforming experience for both my personal and professional self. It allowed me to learn invaluable material at my own pace while still providing interaction and feedback from the NL trainers.”

– Kelly Kennedy, Wild Acres Counseling


“This 8 Week Jumpstart Program with NL opened me up to a brand new way of being! I had absolutely no idea what I was in for when I signed up. I feel like I was able to get to know each of the NL team members and felt an exceptional connection to both Bettina and Tim. Their realness, honesty and often playful interactions were so refreshing. The vast knowledge of the team members across the board was amazing and everyone has their place in this program. I will be forever grateful to have taken this course at this time in my life. And I thank everyone at NL for putting me on the path to be a better me! I look forward to meeting you all in person when travel restrictions allow me to come to the US!”

– Beth Sylver–Team Member at Rancho La Merced, Uvita, Costa Rica


96% of participants said they would be able to apply their learning to their work, right away

“Natural Lifemanship training allowed me to expand my knowledge as a practitioner, trust my intuition, and deepen my feelings of connection in my own body. It was like fitting an integral puzzle piece to my practice.”

– Jenna Vissell, MA Mental Health Practitioner, Stable Living, LLC


“It does not matter if you have horse, dog or goat, the principles of NL apply across all mental health services and life situations, from the simple to the complex. It is a comprehensive program, fascinating and effective. It challenges you to be a more balanced individual which in turn touches everything around you.”

– Melanie Stolfus LPC Rockhill Counseling Aubry Texas


“When working with individuals who have experienced trauma, the concepts and principles of NL target the key concerns of these individuals. The blending of attachment theory, neuroscience, and relationship principles are logically based and applicable within a therapy room, classroom, or home setting. It is a comprehensive program which incorporates the use of equines, creativity, music, movement, and sensory integration. Great program! I thoroughly enjoyed this training and can’t wait to utilize it! Thank you!”

– Cheryl Galligan


And some parting thoughts…

“The best equine assisted therapy training that I’ve ever had, and I’ve had many! I can finally answer the question of ‘Why Horses’ with more confidence and scientific understanding than ever before.”

– Juliet Wahlenmayer, NCC, LPC


“This is by far the most important course I’ve ever taken. A connected relationship with my horse will drive all of our interactions and take precedence over task based interaction. I always yearned for a deeper connection with my horse. Now I have the knowledge and ability to attain it. It’s not often I can come away with the ability to easily put course information into practice right away. The course had just the right amount of detail to explain the principles without being difficult to understand. If everyone, horse related or not, understood the principal’s of NL we would all live happier, more enriched and peaceful lives. “

– Ro Wellmaker/horse owner


What else can we say?!?!  Except a big THANK YOU to our NL Community!

Registration closes and the course starts September 14th!  Click here for more information and join us for the last offering of the year! 


A few more testimonials for your reading pleasure  🙂

“I came into this training with zero knowledge about horses. I had never even been on one (still haven’t)! As a therapist, this training was so helpful in building a strong foundation for any work I do in the arena!”

– Lauren Ball LCADC LCSW 


“The Virtual Fundamentals training was a transforming experience for both my personal and professional self. It allowed me to learn invaluable material at my own pace while still providing interaction and feedback from the NL trainers.”

– Kelly Kennedy, Wild Acres Counseling


“I have thoroughly enjoyed the training from NL. The education on brain development and how it affects human and horse behaviors; the use of rhythm to assist with cross-brain connections to allow higher level cognitive processing; the horse and human being capable and responsible for their own control, thereby avoiding domination and control to support and encourage this… These are some of the main ideas I have taken away from this training. Thank-you! I also want to mention that your humble, loving, genuine and intelligent characters have provided a beautiful and fun way to learn. MAHALO!”

– Fronda Harris – Heart Ranch Co-founder


“Natural Lifemanship made their core fundamentals training accessible to all who wanted to join by making it virtual with a practical experience component and feedback. The course merged the biology of horses and humans perfectly with a trauma informed care lens. The trainers, Bettina and Tim, are extremely knowledgeable and made the concepts easy to understand for all learners through various readings, visuals, demos, and oral presentations. I am extremely grateful for this experience and can’t wait to apply all I have learned!!”

– Madison Lee, PsyD Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue


“The NL Virtual Fundamentals course was packed with learning. The videos and recordings of calls and webinars provided several days worth of content that one would have received at a multi-day in-person training. The practice and video with feedback component was a great alternative to an in-person opportunity to practice and receive instructions on fine tuning the methods. The forums allowed for discussion and interaction with the other students in the course. Office hours and additional support were also available – complete with a manual, all bases were thoroughly covered for a potent experience that will benefit anyone looking to enhance their work as a coach, therapist or an equine professional.”

– Christina Stinchcomb, Airy Hill Stables (Equine Gestalt Coach)


“Natural Lifemanship has changed the way I interact with horses and people. The principles that are taught are immediately and infinitely applicable.”

– Kurt Webb


“This Virtual Fundamentals course was terrific. Grounded in science, offering the benefit of decades of professional experience with horses and people, there was a rich depth to all the presentations. During this COVID time, this training was a treat for myself and something I did just for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and already have another online NL course in mind to start next. Highly recommended as a gift to yourself!! “

– Martha McNiel, LMFT, TRI, TDI, ESMHL, CEIP-MH, Director, DreamPower Horsemanship


“I admit, I was optimistic but skeptical at first, if the virtual training option would be a good fit, and would provide me with a clear understanding of the Natural Lifemanship principles, and how to apply them. However, after just the first week, I knew I made the right choice. The easy to follow platform, semi-structured learning and the different modalities used to deliver the content (blog articles, pages in the manual and video) made it interesting. The opportunity to engage in office hour discussions with the professionals and others in the cohort group, was invaluable and made it feel more “real”-as we can all learn from each other and our unique situations. Also, the screencast feedback was easy to understand and I liked the thoroughness each instructor took, to ensure I understand the “why” behind a comment. I appreciated that the trauma informed lens and neurodevelopment information are things that can be implemented in both of my work settings, schools (K-12) and in equine therapy sessions. I feel that this training has given me a more concrete understanding of Natural Lifemanship and I look forward to the continued learning it will provide.”

– Sarah Machold, LMSW, Supervisee in Social Work


“As a PATH Certified TRI and ESMHL working at a PATH center providing both therapeutic riding sessions as well as EAL sessions this was extremely beneficial. We are serving more and more individuals who have experienced trauma in our program. I now have a deeper understanding of how trauma impacts the brain and why the relationship with the horses are so important. The principles of this course are applicable to all areas of the program because it is about the relationship and the connection with the horse. Well worth the time. You will not be disappointed!”

– Emily Padgett, Program Director, Agape Therapeutic Riding Center


“The best equine assisted therapy training that I’ve ever had, and I’ve had many! I can finally answer the question of ‘Why Horses’ with more confidence and scientific understanding than ever before.”

– Juliet Wahlenmayer, NCC, LPC


“When working with individuals who have experienced trauma, the concepts and principles of NL target the key concerns of these individuals. The blending of attachment theory, neuroscience, and relationship principles are logically based and applicable within a therapy room, classroom, or home setting. It is a comprehensive program that incorporates the use of equines, creativity, music, movement, and sensory integration. Great program! I thoroughly enjoyed this training and can’t wait to utilize it! Thank you!”

– Cheryl Galligan


“I’d had a nagging curiosity about NL for years yet I just hadn’t found the time to attend a training. The Virtual Fundamentals of Natural Lifemanship Training Program was the perfect introduction to NL for me. The content was absolutely top notch, going into great depth on all topics covered via video lectures from Tim and Bettina as well as actual video footage from previous clinics. I got to enjoy it all and learn…right at home! They have developed something very important with TF-NL. Bettina is very skilled at bringing scientific concepts of brain and trauma right down to ground level and turning them into almost easy conversation. Tim and Bettina are both incredibly engaging as well as experts in their fields. They share their work with joy, enthusiasm and equal amounts of wisdom and humility.”

– Mari Rubens RN, BSN, EFLC


“I was able to immediately start incorporating the principles of Natural Lifemanship into my office work and my work with horses. NL provides the focus on relationship in the work with horses that was missing in my previous experiences with EAP/L.”

– Sara Rietsch LPC, CAADC


“This foundations course is truly the intellectual equivalent to having a sturdy and well built foundation for a nice house.”

– Abby Martin


“This course has provided me with a strong base for which I can move on to certification with confidence.”

– Susan Mitchell