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 the modern neurobiology research that has given rise to trauma-informed care in mental health and human services, Natural Lifemanship is a science-based model for equine-assisted therapy that promotes healing, recovery and growth through the power of building a connected relationship. The Natural Lifemanship (NL) model also has wide application outside of equine-assisted psychotherapy. NL offers a biologically-informed way of understanding people and relationships. Further, NL teaches science-based principles for how to build connected relationships, which are the vehicle of healing, transformation and change.


This training is intended for:

  • Mental health professionals
  • Horse professionals
  • Anyone with an interest in trauma-informed care
  • Anyone with an interest in healthy intra- and interpersonal relationships
  • Those with an interest in horse-human partnerships
  • Those who wish to pursue NL certification

Find out what others are saying about Natural Lifemanship!


The Fundamentals of NL is the entry point for all Natural Lifemanship certifications.

IMG_0007Fundamentals of NL combines didactic and experiential learning, and involves working with horses.¹ The training is designed to give you both the knowledge and the experiences needed to begin applying the Natural Lifemanship principles in your work and in your life. People who attend our workshops come with varying levels of horse experience ranging from none to extensive. Although the training is intended to prepare practitioners to use NL TF-EAP, the principles are transferable to all relationships and are relevant (by design) whether one works with horses or does not.

Our aim is twofold: a) To 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; and b) To 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

The Fundamentals of NL Training is now offered as a blended learning experience.

Beginning in 2018, the Fundamentals of NL Training will be completed partially online. Participants will complete approximately 6 hours of self-paced online lessons prior to attending the experiential portion of the training, which is a two-day live event.

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 6 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. For those who sign up for a 2018 training prior to 2018, you will be given access to the online content no later than January 1, 2018.


Learning Objectives for Fundamentals of Natural Lifemanship:

1.     Understand the neurobiology of trauma and how our adaptive responses to trauma often result in disorders affecting self-regulation and relationships and become “state change disorders.”

2.     Learn how to 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).

5.     Learn how NL therapy sessions are conducted, including the core activities of Relationship Logic™ and Rhythmic Riding™.

People with a variety of mental health concerns benefit from this model, including:

  • 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.