Author Archives: Rachaël

Dutch Calming Signals book of Horses available

A new experience as writer: And then there is this moment, when I am holding my own book and are able to read it in my native language. So special. A lot of people in The Netherlands will now be able to read it. That does give a new feel of closeness. So nice but also exciting.

The book looks  wonderful. Thank you #Rik Jansen from #Bloemendal Publishers for doing such an amazing job.  I am so happy that you will also publish my second book.

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The Dutch version of my book will be published

Yess!!, I am allowed to spread the news. My book Language Signs and Calming Signals of Horses will be published in Dutch! It will be available for purchasing as off September this year. If you want to reserve a Dutch copy, go to this link.

Many thanks to Bloemendal Uitgevers and Rik Jansen who make this possible. Also a big thank you to Francis Dalebout, who suggested my book to Bloemendal Publishers. How special that this single action has lead to such a result.
It feels very special to be able to read my book in my native language. I know I will be peeking at my home’s book store Dekker v.d.Vegt in Nijmegen to see if my book is available there. Would be so special.

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Fingers crossed for proposal research funding

Fingers crossed for Nina Bien, Prof. Pim Martens, and me. Nina proposed for research funding to study the mechanisms underlying the efficacy of equine-assisted interventions in human mental health care. This will involve heart rate variability (HRV) measurements, obtained from both human patients as well as therapy horses, during their interactions. But also by observational studies. I will play a role in the last in setting up the behavioural observation of the therapy horses during the EAT sessions. I will also be closely involved in guiding the subsequent equine-behavioural observational data processing and analysis and in the interpretation of the results. The study will be conducted at an Equine-assisted mental health facility that has been working with horses and clients for nearly 12 years. Hopefully this study gets a green light. Possible starting date then might be autumn 2020. Exciting and important, because this study will also reflect onto the highly relevant topic of therapy horse wellness, ethics, and sustainability.

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Lecture: How much fun are you?

I am very proud en happy to be able to organise this lecture. I find it a must for each coach, trainer and consultant, working with people and animals. The better we can reach the owner or handler,  the better we can help the animal. And Tracie Faa Thompson is THE professional, with a big heart for humans and animals. An unique oportunity!

Lecture: How much fun are you? Intergrate play technics in your consultations
Speaker: Tracie Faa Thompson

Date: Sunday 24th of May 2020.
Doors open: 9.00 hours.
Start:-End: 9.30 untill 17.00 hours.
Location: Rijksweg 14 te Milsbeek, The Netherlands
Lunch: Dutch sandwiches, soup and salad and snacks are included.
Costs: 97,50 included VAT btw – 80,58 excluded VAT
Spoken language lecturer: English
Organiser: Rachaël Draaisma
Sign up and info:


This lecture centers around the question “How much fun are you?, with the additional Integrate Play technics into your lessons and consultations. This lecture is especially dessigned for trainers, coaches and consultants who work with customer and animal. During the lecture Tracie Faa Thompson introduces direct and indirect play technics. This gives you as trainer, coach or consultant extra tools to connect with your customer. When signing in you can hand in that specific customer type, you want extra help with.

There is limited spaces to keep the group small and have optimal learning possibility for the attendants.


About Tracie:

Tracie Faa Thompson, BA Social Work, Advanced award in Social Work, Practice teacher, MA Crim, PG NDPT, Clin Hypno, Cert EAGALA, Cert IAAPT, Cert Filial Therapy instructor.

Tracie is a specialist social worker in adoption working with traumatised children and their adoptive and foster families. She is a British Association of Play Therapists-registered play therapist who uses a mix of individual play therapy, filial therapy, and group filial methods. Tracie is a practice teacher of social work students and a trainer in Life Story Work and Attachment Theory. Tracie has a lifetime of experience of living and working with dogs and horses and over 28 years of working with vulnerable children and families. Tracie believes that patience and a focus on building relationships and partnerships are the key to healing. She is the author of numerous peer reviewed manuals, articles, book chapters and training programmes on attachment and resilience, life story work, sibling contact in adoption, introductions of adoptive families and children, EAL/EAP, and Animal Assisted Play Therapy.
Tracie and Dr Rise Van Fleet Internationally famous Animal Assisted Play Therapist have been working together since 2005 to enhance Relationship based animal assisted play therapy trainings worldwide. In 2010 they co-founded the International Institute of Animal Assisted Play Therapy© (IIAAPT) which delivers high quality training in Animal Assisted Play Therapy to therapists and animal professionals Internationally. Their first peer reviewed book on the subject of Animal Assisted Play Therapy which came out in September 2017 recieved and is recieving critical acclaim and is on the reading list for numerous universities.

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China: intense, inspiring and full of warmth

I am there, first row, 6th chair on the right

What a trip it was! Intens, inspiring and full of warmth. Finally meeting real life with Professor Doctoral Supervisor Zhang Naisheng and Maimaiti Tuniyazi, who I had been corresponding with for several months. My meeting with them and several close (old)students of Professor Zhang Naisheng was full of  warmth and friendship. I also spoke with  Zhang Yanjing, who will publish the Chinese version of my book.

The Friendship Hotel in Harbin was the stage of the Second Conference of Equine Science, organised by the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and hosted by the Horse Branche of Chinese Association of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine.

My lecture was heard by 300 equine specialists. My powerpoint sheets were translated in Chinese and a translator was present to translate all my information that was not on the sheets. The lecture was very well received and at the closing ceremony I was honoured by receiving a credential for my excellent performance (best speaker) at the conference. It also lead to a spontaneous invitation from Zhang Ruixiang to lecture the same day at their Northeast agriculture university of China, which I did with pleasure.

I had the opportunity to hear many interesting lectures and speak with many people on the conference. They gave me a first insight in the horse industry in China. Horses being kept in Western stables, poloclubs, in laboratory. It kept my head spinning and in thinking modus. What projects to start in China? People are eager to hear about how to better ‘read’ their horse and improve the communication with horses and solve behavioural issues. We have been making a plan of activities to start. Hopefully they come to fruition. My sincere thank you to Professor Zhang Naisheng and the committee Equine Science for inviting me to come to the conference.

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Theory, practical work and discussions

The past weekend I have been lecturing at WindOpleidingen and Centrum voor Paardencoaching. Both educations, have their own character, but share the common goal to educate horse coaches. Both days had a theoretical and practical part. The topic was calming signals and the way they relate to tension. During the practical coaching session attendants could practice their observation skills in a live setting, afterwards there was room for valuable discussions. Thank you fort he invite Ruud Knaapen and  Muriel Daal (Windopleidingen) en Nina Bien en Wendela den Tonkelaar (Centrum voor Paardencoach) for inviting me. The following pictures are  taken during the lecture day Centrum voor Paardencoaching.

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Calming Signals of Horses to China

With excitement and gratitude I can announce that the Calming Signals of Horses will be launched in China these coming months. This will happen in two ways. Firstly I am invited to speak at the Second International Conference on Equine Science in Harbin China  this coming  August. Secondly my book is  translated into Chinese by the  College of Veterinary Medicine Jilin University China  and will probably be on the market late 2019. 

The motor behind this is Professor  Doctoral Supervisor Zhang Naisheng, who is presently working at the  College of Veterinary Medicine Jilin University China. He is also Vice president of horse branch of Chinese association of animal science and veterinary medicine; Vice president of large animal internal medicine  of Chinese association of animal science and veterinary medicine and President of animal treatment of Chinese association of animal science and veterinary medicine. The person I also want to thank is Maimaiti · Tuniyazi who is presently studying Equine Medicine and Behavioral Science supervised by Professor Zhang Naisheng  at the  College of Veterinary Medicine Jilin University China and who incited this by bringing my study and book under the attention of his mentor.

I feel very grateful to Professor Zhang Naisheng for giving me this opportunity to reach more people and therefore horses. I am looking forward to us all meeting. I hope it is a starting point for a fruitful cooperation.

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Podcast up and running!

My first podcast (interview) is ready to be listened to! Topics are the Calming Signals of Horses, Using Enriched Environments and doing Scentwork with horses. It was wonderful and exciting to be doing a podcast. I was lucky to have Tracy Malone as host. She has already interviewed so many interesting horse people for her podcasts “Come Along For the Ride”, that I was in safe and capable hands. Such a help and joy. Do you feel like listening? If you click on the picture or the following link you will find yourself directed to the podcast. Enjoy!

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Dutch ladders ready

I took a bit, but here they are: two communication ladders in Dutch. You can download them copy right free from: It is not allowed to change the ladders. The two communication ladders resulted from the ongoing study I started in 2013. More information about the study and the ladders are given in the book “Language Signs and Calming Signals of Horses”. You can also find some information on the download page. Do you want to see how the signals come to live? Visit one of my lectures. Watching film material of interacting horses is the main activity.

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First place in Top 10 – Czech Republic

A couple of months ago my book Language Signs and Calming Signals of Horses has been translated in to the Czech language and has been published by Arcaro in the Czech Republic. The largest publishing house in horse books in  the Czech Republic. Due to the number of sales my book hit the first spot in the top 10 best selling books! That is so special. Thank you Arcaro publishing  and ofcourse the many buyers. I am so happy that the calming signals are finding a way into your life’s with horses.

And who knows, we meet ‘live’ when I will give a weekend seminar on the 22-23 June in Brno. Day 1 is all about the calming signals and the use f them, Day 2 is all about equine mental stimulation and scent work. Organiser is Venya Bonebakker. For details and sign up:

I am very looking forward to come.

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