Raising the bar in Equine-Invited Interventions

Workshops are available, lasting 2 up to 5 days, filled with theory (pictures and films) and practical sessions where horses are invited to join

The well-being of the therapy horse, seeing what suits him, what he wants to be involved in, what he would rather not do. How we can take those individual needs of the horse as the starting point of an animal assisted play therapy™ session. A session where fun for both the horse, coachee and coach is the starting point. How do we bundle those needs, to meet requests for help. And how much fun are we actually ourselves as coaches with also the working forms we choose?

Welcome to Tracie Faa-Thompson & Rachaël Draaisma’s Equine Days: Raising the bar in Equine-Invited Interventions. During these days, Tracie-Faa Thompson and Rachaël Draaisma join forces. With humour, an eye for detail and expert knowledge and experience, participants are taken into the world of the horse, the coach and coachee and that of Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ and Scentwork. Using presentations with photos and videos, demonstrations and exercises (also with horses), the following main themes will be elaborated on.

Main theme’s:

The therapy horse as an individual. What are species own needs and individual needs. What activities does a specific horse enjoy? What can he handle? How do we see that? How do we take the individual needs of the horse as a starting point in determining the activities we go for in an animal assisted session. And how do we create reciprocity between horse and coachee.

Reading the horse’s body language and body characteristics to test assumptions directly and see what degree of joy or engagement the horse shows, or perhaps even shut down  or a weakened or strengthened flight mechanism.

The attendee is challenged not only to look at features and signals horses give, but to also link these signals and features to sequences and stimuli that start and affect these.

With obviously adaptations if need be, to keep a safe and positive social climate for the horse, coachee and coach.

Play therapy exercises, the activities of Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ and equine scentwork form the basis of these days.  During these horse-human interactions, play plays a decisive role. Not talking about….is important. No, it is important to start an activity in such a way that the client who comes learns from the activity he is doing. Words are not necessary for this. Play is!

Real-life examples are taken, taking character traits and needs of horses and linking them appropriately to clients’ requests for help. Here, activities are also discussed that, although applied in the human-animal field, are not such that the horse would choose them. We discuss to what extent work forms are perceived as enjoyable by horse, client and therapist. What are the conditions needed for human and animal play?

This training programme is suited for:

This training is designed for coaches and therapists working with horse-human interventions. Or those considering doing so.


From 9am to 5pm.   

New course planned for 27 -30 of June. More information here:

Co-teachers: Tracie Faa-Thompson & Rachaël Draaisma

Tracie Faa-Thompson, BA Social Work, MA Crim, PG NDPT, Clin Hypno, Cert EAGALA, Certified Non-directive Play Therapist; Filial Therapist, Cert Animal Ethology and behaviour consultant – Instructor, dip consultant AHC,  Supervisor & Filial Therapy Instructor. IIAAPT Instructor, supervisor, International trainer and speaker.

Tracie for 27 years was a specialist social worker in adoption working with traumatized 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 newly qualified social workers, and a trainer in Life Story Work, Attachment Theory and resilience in adversity. As a clinical hypnotherapist, Tracie incorporates EMDR, Eye Movement Integration with Emotional Freedom Technique as an effective approach to trauma. Her passion is working outdoors in nature and since 2000 has been amalgamating Nature family therapy with Equine Assisted Family play Therapy. Lover of the natural world she is an  Applied herbal choices animal health professional consultant. And a Certified Animal Ethology and Behaviour consultant Instructor.   She also has a unique approach to therapeutic life story work using nature to plot adopted children and adults journeys in 3D!!!!

Hailing from a Scottish/Romany Traveller family, Tracie has grown up with multiple dogs and horses as integral to her native culture. She is the Founder of Turn About Pegasus, an Equine Assisted Programme for a range of client issues. Tracie believes even when clients have endured terrible traumatic events that the power of play and laughter is as cathartic as tears.   Tracie is EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association since 2005) certified, dual approved as both mental health and horse specialist.  Positive reinforcement works for humans and animals alike.

Tracie is the author of numerous manuals, articles, 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. She is co-author of the book Animal Assisted Play Therapy which won the coveted Maxwell Award 2018 under the Category Human Animal Bond.

Tracie is one of only 4 certified Filial Therapy Instructors in the UK and Ireland approved by the Original Family Enhancement and Play Therapy Center. Training as a Filial Therapy Instructor is by invite only.

A humble person with an innate sense of fun, a doer rather than a talker Tracie believes in collaboration rather than competition. 

Her Motto for life is Egotism the enemy of Empathy.

Rachaël Draaisma: behavioural consultant, (from 2003 and on), researcher and author of the book Language signs and Calming Signals of Horses and Scentwork for Horses. Two books that have been published worldwide and translated in several languages.

Rachaël is an expert in reading the horses body language. Various features (some very detailed) and behaviours are given meaning to and are linked to comfort or possible tension levels. Are placed in behavioural sequences and linked to influencing stimuli.

Another pilar in Rachaël’s life with horses evolves around equine mental stimulation and scentwork. Rachaël developed a method to do scent tracking with horses. Both expertises combined give Rachaël the tools to help horses expand their comfortzone while living in our shared world.

For an extended biography of Rachaël Draaisma, click here


Risë VanFleet, Rachaël Draaisma, Luci Lou and Tracie Faa-Thompson

Tracie and Dr Rise Van Fleet have been collaborating since 2004 to bring together the modalities of play therapy and animal-assisted therapies into a positive, cohesive ethical and playful way of working.  Tracie and Rise co-created the field of Animal Assisted Play Therapy™.

Tracie, Rachael and Risë have been working in partnership for over 10 years to bring to the fore the Art of observation and listening with your eyes.  Our belief is that we are always the student of what horses and canines communicate to us and that if we practice at every opportunity by listening with our eyes our skills will be enhanced. They also find each other in their methods and quest to find and maintain the horse’s needs and pleasure when interacting with humans. 

Are you are interested to organise these days at a location, do contact Rachaël Draaisma (info@calmingsignalsofhorses.com or Tracie Faa-Thompson (tracie.j.faa@gmail.com).

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