Invite Rachaël

Lectures & Workshops

You can invite Rachaël for lectures, workshops or combined educational weekends about Calming signals of horses, and Equine mental stimulation and scentwork. Rachaël lectures on the following subjects:

Lecture Calming Signals of Horses

By watching numerous pictures and films of domesticated horses reacting to stimuli in their environment, you will emerge in the fascinating world of Calming signals of horses. You will start to recognise them, and will see variations. From a horse being relaxed to a horse that is experiencing rising or declining tension. By recognising various behaviours and features of the horse, this day is a good practise to further sharpen your observation skills. After this day you are more astute to recognise at what tension level your horse is at. You will get tools on how to implement the knowledge of calming signals in your daily living and work with horses. And will be shown and practising how you can use calming signals yourself to further improve the relationship with your horse and your mutual understanding, your life and training. Some topics we cover:

• Personal background
• Information on the study, how is it conducted, what are the parameters used.
• Information about communication, when are signals used to communicate and when not.

The Calming Signals

• What are calming signals?
• What do they look like?
• When do we see them?
• How does no, light or high tension play a role in relation to the calming signals?
• The calming signals are shown one by one on picture and film. (with also the comparison of the non-communicative options).

Tension is increasing
• How do calming signals relate to displacement activities and if tension rises further to stress signals.
• How can you tell, within several levels of tension, if the tension is increasing or decreasing.
• How does it look like when distance increasing signals are added in the picture
• A short biological explanation what stress does to the body

• How do we use this knowledge on calming signals
 Can we mimic the calming signals. Does our horse understands us better?
• Which calming signals can we use to help the horse decrease tension, or stay in a relaxed base.

Lecture:  Equine Scent work & Mental Stimulation

During this lecture we will discuss how we can optimise the socialisation and (re)scialisation of our horse. How we can teach him to stand on his own feet and handle stimuli around him with a relaxed emotion without the help and control of a handler.

Rachaël uses two tools to make this happen: She builds customised enriched environments & she does scentwork with horses. Within the scent work the main focus is how to teach your horse to follow a human footstep trail. (So he can find lost persons or foodbags). During the lecture Rachaël shows many films and discusses the challenges to solve. To give you a good start when implementing this knowledge at home with your own horses. Rachaël also provides a theoretical background on scenting, and ofcourse covers the mental & physical advantages of doing scent work with your horse.


Topics on the enriched environments part are: The advantages of mental stimulation, what happens in the brain, why is reading body features and communications signals so important for the brain. How to use enriched environments as tool in your life and work with horses. Practical tips are given to implement different levels and avoid pitfalls. How can you use enriched environments as assessment tool in consultations and as instrument when working with horses who some might have behavioural problems.
The scent work part will take up the majority of the lecture. Topics on the scent tracking part are: What are the advantages of scent work? How well does a horse smell? From nostril to brain, what is the journey of a scent molecule traveling up into the brain, which brain area’s then are addressed to. What makes smell unique. The biomechanics of the horse when tracking is discussed and the advantages tracking has on the posture of the horse when also doing dressage or another sport. Doing scent work: The differences between dogs and horses, What have I tried, Scent tracking: what scents is the horse following, what is needed for a horse to follow a scent track, in what way can he follow a track. How is tracking when riding. To give you a good practical feel on how to get started yourself. I show you film clips of Ristin and Indy, from the start to a track in the forest of 45 meters on rough terrain, finding a person/footbag. I also show challenges you may encounter on film.

The reading of Equine body features, language signs and calming signals is indispensible when doing this kind of mental stimulation with horses. This lecture is a logic sequel of the first lecture on Calming Signals of Horses.


For a full day:  between 750,- and 900,-  euro  (excluding VAT) depending on the travel distance.  Travel costs, sleeping accommodation and costs for food and drinks should be taken care of by the host.

Equipment needed

An overhead projector, a whiteboard or flip chart and a table and chair. The time table can vary, but never more than 8 hours per day, and ending no later than 6 pm. When we have agreed upon a date and the type of talk/workshop you require I will need to know what kind of venue the lecture will be hosted. How many persons will approximately attend.  With what horses we perhaps work during a workshop. And how the possible outdoor space looks like, when working with horses