Fundamentals of NL Training

The Fundamentals of Natural Lifemanship: Learn the science and experience the art of connection. 

Natural Lifemanship is the science and art of connection. Founded on modern neuroscience and the principles of trauma-informed care, Natural Lifemanship promotes healing, recovery and positive development through the process of building connected relationships. The Fundamentals of NL training teaches how the brain develops and changes to accommodate survival and other needs; why relationships are so central to neurodevelopment; and how to intentionally build relationships in ways that support health and healing of self and others.

The relationship principles that we teach are demonstrated, experienced and practiced with horses at our Fundamentals of NL trainings. The training provides a solid foundation in Natural Lifemanship’s Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP) model for mental health and equine professionals who practice equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP). It also provides a solid foundation for individuals who are simply interested in understanding how trauma and toxic stress affect the brain, and how relationships with self and others may be built in ways that promote health and well-being. In addition to mental health and equine professionals, the Fundamentals of NL training is often attended by teachers, parents (including foster and adoptive parents), and others.


This training is intended for:

  • Mental health professionals
  • Horse professionals
  • Anyone with an interest in neuroscience and trauma-informed care
  • Anyone with an interest in healthy relationships with self and others
  • Anyone concerned with recovery
  • Those with an interest in horses, horse-human partnerships, and many kinds of animal-assisted therapy
  • Those who wish to pursue certification in Natural Lifemanship

Find out what others are saying about Natural Lifemanship!

IMG_0007Fundamentals of NL combines online and experiential learning that involves working with horses.¹ The training is designed to give you basic knowledge and experiences so that you may begin applying the Natural Lifemanship principles in your work and daily life.

People who attend our workshops have varying levels of horse experience ranging from none to extensive. No horse experience is necessary.

*Please note that we do NOT teach horsemanship. If you are specifically interested in learning how to train or work with horses, there are others who train people in horsemanship. 

How do I sign up and complete the new Fundamentals?

  1. Visit our upcoming trainings page and choose a two-day training. Please choose carefully and allow yourself enough time to complete the roughly 7 hours of online instruction. The online course MUST BE COMPLETED at least one week in advance of the 2-day live event.
  2. Once you have completed payment, you will be given access to the online portion of the training. You may begin anytime and proceed at your own pace so long as you finish at least one week before the 2-day event.

Learning Objectives for Fundamentals of Natural Lifemanship:

1.     Understand the neurobiology of trauma and how our adaptive responses to trauma often compromise self-regulation and relationships.

2.     Learn how we use ground and mounted work with horses to begin to reorganize the brain and restore healthy functioning of the stress response system.IMG_0043

3.     Understand the different types of regulation (e.g., bottom-up, top-down) and learn how the physiology and psychology of the horse help clients learn functional ways to emotionally regulate.

4.     Understand the Fundamental NL Principles (including the Principle of Pressure, Principle of Choice, Principle of Body Energy and Principle of Self-Regulation, among others), how these are introduced and used in therapy sessions, and how they are applied in human relationships outside the therapy setting (e.g., in the home, at school).

Our aim is to:

a) Equip each participant with a powerful trauma-informed lens, a set of sound relationship principles, and the experiences needed to become increasingly intentional about the ways in which they strive to deepen connection within their relationships;

b) Prepare mental health and equine professionals to employ a science-based, intentional and relational model of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy – one that benefits client and horse alike through the connection that is built in the relationship.²

If you are a therapist, Natural Lifemanship is a powerful treatment approach that helps you better serve your clients. The Natural Lifemanship TF-EAP model benefits:

  • Children, youth and families with histories of trauma
  • Parents of children and youth with challenging behaviors
  • Couples wanting to deepen or heal their connection
  • Adults with trauma histories and/or relational wounds
  • Veterans and others with PTSD
  • People who struggle with substance use and recovery
  • People who suffer from eating disorders

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  1. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, appropriate accommodations will be provided upon request for individuals with disabilities to facilitate participation in the experiential portions of the training.
  2. This training prepares therapists and EPs to use horses intentionally in the therapeutic process, which centers around the client building a connected relationship with the horse while on the ground and while riding. Through this process, clients strengthen their physiological capacity for self-regulation, effectively overcoming many emotional and behavioral disorders. They also reform dysfunctional and damaging relationship patterns as they transfer the success they’ve gained building a quality relationship with their horse to their relationships with themselves and other human beings. Read more about TF-EAP.