My name is Rachaël Draaisma. I graduated at the University of Nijmegen, Holland, where I studied the Dutch language. A working career in marketing followed, first as account executive, later as account manager. In 2003 I followed my passion. I obtained several diploma’s and started working as behaviour consultant and dog trainer. I started my own dog school My specialisations are: the resocialisation of severely anxious and aggressive dogs, and dogs with extreme fear for sounds. I visited and still visit lectures around the world. Keeping up to date is a necessity. The calming signals became ore and more important in my work. I wanted to expand my knowledge of the calming signals by the person, who obviously is the expert on calming signals: Turid Rugaas. In 2012/2013 I followed Turid’s International Dog Trainers Education.
This education turned out to be the starting point of another of my passions: working with horses. Being a horse lover as long as I can remember, being a horse owner since the age of 14. Turid’s question to charts the calming signals of horses, under her supervision, was the starting point of a study that started in 2013. I have been analysing film material. Most inspiring work that easily fills up the week and has led to a working shift from dogs to horses.
When working with dogs or horses knowledge of body signals is essential. To see what he is expressing and what he is able to handle in relation to incentives from the environment. Obtaining knowledge on the body and brain is one of my favourite things to do. To know what tension does to the body, to know how brains work. How to make a positive learning climate, how experiences are being remembered. I do not use punishments or any form of force when working. I know that for every problem one can make a plan that will help the horse understand what we mean and will include his involvement. (Of course this is only possible when the wishes of the handler of the horse are realistic). I find it very important that the horse can stand on his own feet and gets the room to express what he feels, chooses and can handle
This study lead to the book “Language Signs & Calming Signals of Horses- recognition and application”. This book is published worldwide in October 2017 by CRC Press.This book is the result of the years 2013-2017. The study will be ongoing though. I will keep on filming and analysing films. I will also continue to work as behaviour consultant for horses. I travel to give lecture and workshops in the Netherlands and abroad. You can read more about that topic under the button “Invite Rachaël”