Equine-Assisted Coaching & Learning Skills & Benefits

Skill & Benefits

The skills and benefits gained through equine-assisted coaching and learning are extensive. Through first identifying needs, a customized plan will be put together to target specific goals and measure outcomes.

Regulation and Decision-Making

learning how to respond to the mind and body in relationship

Each session includes activities designed to foster emotional and physical regulation along with ownership of the growth process through collaborative planning. These activities often occur at the beginning and end of the session, sometimes with and without the horses. They translate to foundational skills essential for everyday experiences.


Lifemanship Skill Horsemanship Skill
Session Check-In Observing the state of weather, environment, and experiences impacting the herd.
Session Planning Based on the state of the horse partner and self, determine the best interaction and exercises for the session.
Observing Self/Others Observing herd interaction and horse partner.
Rating of Stress/Anxiety Observing signs of stress/relaxation in horse partner and exploring the role of self.
Somatic System Grounding, such as 5-4-3-2-1 Mindfulness Somatic co-regulation is evidenced by breaths, yawns, and relaxation signs. 
Body Scan Observing the horse’s body movement.
Box and Ball Breathing Matching horse breaths with the human breathing.
Thumbs Up/Down Choosing participation level with willingness and commitment.
Walking in Step Syncing up to create connection. 
Bouncing Ball, Swinging Rope, Drumming Using rhythm to create regulation.

Personal Growth Skills

cultivating emotional resilience and relational strength

When working with horses, we have the opportunity to experience personal growth by seeing how we approach relationships and responsibilities. Each client can select from any or all of the following areas of growth to work on through equine-assisted coaching and learning sessions.


Lifemanship Skills

anger forgiveness
anxiety frustration tolerance
authenticity grace
boldness leadership development
boldness observing others accurately
collaboration/teamwork perseverance
compassion responding to pressure
confidence response to being ignored
connection response to resistance
courage time management
decision-making strengths awareness
emotional regulation working through weakness
empathy worry
fear responding to pressure
finding your voice response to being ignored

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Trauma-Informed Core Principles

understanding the brain-body-relationship connection

The equine-assisted coaching and learning experiences are built upon trauma-informed principles that explain the way our body and brain responds to pain and the threat of harm as well as how new habit and mindsets are formed. 


Human Principles Horse Principles
Understanding the Human Brain & Body Understanding the Horse Brain & Body
Body's Response to Triggers, PTSD, Anxiety Evidence of the Survival Response in Fight-Flight-Freeze-Fawn
Human Heart Rate Horses Heart Rate
Human Breathing Rate Horses Breathe Rate
Human Relationship Principles - Co-dependency, Controlling, Compromising, Abuse Herd Dynamics - Alpha, Prey, Predator
Boundaries and Leadership Drive Lines/Quadrants
Confidence and Compassion Pressure/Release
Arousal Continuum Window of Tolerance
Learned Helplessness Learned Helplessness
Neuroplasticity Classical Conditioning and Behavior Change
Attachment Theory Natural Lifemanship Principles of Connection with Attachment and Detachment
Human Body Language Horse Body Language
Mind-Body-Soul Health Wheel of Horsemanship

Responsibility & Stewardship

cognitive growth partnered with compassionate caregiving

All of these activities provide the opportunity to become intelligent and compassionate caregivers of our horse partners while also growing emotionally resilient and relationship strong in a way that impacts our human relationships.


Lifemanship Skill Horsemanship Skill
  • Coregulation
  • Stress Reduction
  • Responsibility
  • Servanthood
  • Attention to Detail 
  • Leadership
  • Confidence
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Connection
  • Cognitive Functioning
  • Physical Strength Building
  • Resiliency
Identify Grooming Supplies and Correct Usage
Identifying a Horse’s Anatomy
Identifying a Hoof Anatomy
Identify the Needs of Horse Teeth
Taking Horse Vitals
Recognizing the Signs of Pain
Proper Blanketing 
Taking Temperature
Administering Syringe
Understanding Feed & Nutrition
Keeping a Proper Stall
Putting On/Off Leg Wraps
Techniques for Bathing 
Understanding Clipping
Mane/Tale Care
Understanding Common Illnesses
Understanding Common Injuries
Identifying Parts of Saddle
Identifying Parts of the Bridle
Identifying Supplemental Equipment (Boots, etc).
Taking Apart and Cleaning Tack


Confidence & Connection

life skills facilitated by horsemanship skills

All of these activities provide the opportunity for both the horse and human to gain confidence, cultivate leadership skills, overcome fear, reduce anxiety, develop new neuropathways (roads of learning),  and experience the healing that comes through co-regulation.


Lifemanship Skill Horsemanship Skill
Catching with Connection Field to Gate
Haltering with Connection Halter On/Off, Head Down
Creating Connection on Lead Box Exercise
Leading with Confidence (Part 1) Walking with Lead in Arena/Round Pen, 
Leading with Confidence (Part 2) In/Out Gate, Stall, Squeeze
Leading with Confidence (Part 3) Backing Up, Leading Forward
Leading with Confidence (Part 3) Moving Past Scary Places and Things (desensitizing - ball, hula hoop, tarp)
Connection with Attachment (Part 1) Walking at Liberty
Connection with Attachment (Part 2) Walking in Sync
Connection with Attachment (Part 3) Obstacle Course
Connection with Attachment (Part 4) Jogging/Trotting Together
Connection with Detachment  (Part 1) Lunging on Line
Connection with Detachment (Part 2) Lunging at Liberty with Verbal Cues
Connection with Detachment (Part 3) Lunging at Liberty with Breath Only
Connection with Detachment (Part 4) Jumping Fence at Liberty

Recommend Assessments

establishing a foundation for growth

The following recommended assessments are ideal for establishing realistic goals and targeting skill development. Based on the client’s purpose for pursuing equine-assisted coaching and learning, assessments will be recommended and/or included throughout the program to enhance growth and development.


Assessment Purpose
Highlands Ability Battery Comprehensive personality and learning styles assessment that also provides work-type ability beneficial for college and career goals.
Learning Styles Essential for effective communication instructions.
Strengths Assessment Beneficial for strategizing success.
Attachment Style Provides insights for targeted areas of relationship growth.
ACEs Assessment Necessary for assessing the risk of triggers and areas of healing.


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