Natural Lifemanship

The Complexity of Touch

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Relationships are built on connection, not perfection. In our relationships with horses as well as with humans and other animals, we always strive to put connection first. In daily life, we often have to accomplish goals and tasks that involve the cooperation of others. In these situations, we must balance a focus on goals with an awareness and responsiveness to the needs of the others with whom we are working – be they human or horse. This is a true balancing act and we often find ourselves having to back up and start again to ensure that tasks are not prioritized at the expense of connection. Thankfully, relationships are made stronger by our awareness and our efforts to repair the connection – by our willingness to start again.

This course contains a series of videos filmed with Apollo. The series begins with NL co-founder, Bettina Shultz-Jobe, partnering with Apollo for the purposes of demonstrating some of the tools and activities included in the NL Essential Connection Kit. Tanner Jobe was behind the camera.

In the process of filming these demonstrations for the Essential Connection Kit course, Bettina and Tanner realized that Apollo was having a difficult time staying connected during activities that involved touch. Bettina acknowledges that when she started working with Apollo that particular day, she was more focused on the task of filming than on the connection with Apollo. Noticing this, Bettina and Tanner decided to back up. Tanner and Bettina worked with Apollo with a focus on helping him stay connected through attachment and detachment, and noticing where Apollo experiences difficulty staying connected – for example, when he experiences some fear of objects outside the round pen, or when he experiences some physical discomfort. Touch is then very gradually reintroduced in this context.

We offer this course because it illustrates a process we continually return to in Natural Lifemanship – that of restoring and repairing connection in our relationships whenever and however it is lost. It is through thousands of micro-repairs that trust and greater intimacy are built. We hope you will find this process valuable to watch.

The course is divided into two modules: Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 contains the two videos that were made with the original intention of demonstrating specific activities involving touch for the Connection Kit course. Part 2 includes several videos of both Tanner and Bettina working with Apollo after it was decided that they needed to back up and help Apollo with connection. Then, only gradually and when Apollo was ready, did they begin to reintroduce touch.


If you are an active NL Member (Basic or Professional level subscriber) you have immediate access to the video, already. If you are signed in, simply visit the Online Learning page and search for the video, or click here. If you are not a member or if you wish to purchase the video for somebody else who is not a member, you may purchase it by clicking the PURCHASE THIS COURSE button, above.