Nose-work in horses with Rachaël Draaisma

Date: Saturday November 10th 2018  

Price: £55 per person (£50 up to 1st July 2018). Includes refreshments and a vegan lunch.

When: Arrive 9.45am for a 10am start, finish around 5 pm.

Where: Mickleham Village Hall, Near Dorking, Surrey

The horse has a well developed olfactory organ. He can search for objects by smell, or follow a scent trail. Not many riders or handlers use this quality. But letting your horse do nose-work has a lot of advantages. Nose-work has a good influence on the socialisation of a horse. By investigating he better understands the world. It empowers the horse. Nose-work is a good exercise in concentration on the part of your horse. Nose-work, tracking are natural abilities. It challenges the horse. It is satisfying. Nose-work works is an extremely well to use tool for horses that are not able to move due to injury. And it is a fun activity to do together with your horse.


Rachaël is also author of the book - Language Signs and Calming Signals of horses - and her talk will cover some of this information too.



Please let me know at time of booking if you require a certificate of attendance of the course for your records.

Pay by PayPal using the links below or send a cheque, payable to ‘Learning About Animals’, to: Suzanne Rogers, 6 Fern Cottages, Dorking Road, Abinger Hammer, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6SA. E-mail: Suzanne@learningaboutanimals.co.uk

Copyright 2018 © Learningaboutanimals.co.uk

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Background information on Rachaël Draaisma

Rachaël graduated from the University in Nijmegen where she studied the Dutch language. A career in marketing and writing followed. However after obtaining several diplomas she followed her passion and started working as full time behaviour consultant in 2003 - first with dogs, later horses. She started her dog school, gave courses and specialised in re-socialising aggressive and extremely fearful dogs. She developed a program for dogs with extreme fear for sounds. In 2013 she graduated from the Turid Rugaas International Dog trainers Education. Turid Rugaas’ question to chart the calming signals of horses, lead to a career switch from dogs to horses. Horses however were not new to Rachaël, being a horse lover as long as she can remember and being a horse owner from the age of 14.  Rachaël dedicates her time to the study of language signs and calming signals of horses, full time as off the last years. Rachaël has written the book “Language Signs and Calming Signals of Horses”. In October 2017 it was published worldwide by CRC Press. Rachaël keeps analysing data and continuing the study of language signs and calming signals of horses. She is also developing a program for mental stimulation for horses.  Scent work for horses is an essential part of that. Rachaël writes for several horse magazines within Europe and travels nationally and internationally to give lectures.

More details:

Standing on your own feet, being able to handle incentives in your environment without the need of help, being mentally stimulated and doing work that is highly satisfactory - would these criteria only benefit people? No, horses also thrive on these concepts. We can give them mental stimulation and address their natural abilities to search – improving their mental and physical well being, their socialisation, and the relationship with their handler, whilst having autonomy, making choices. In this lecture the emphasis is on empowerment of the horse. He is leading and not the follower. Emphasis is on creating success and a positive learning climate with a relaxed and attentive horse that wants to cooperate.  Rachaël Draaisma has developed this lecture and philosophy. This lecture combines her specialities - the recognition of language signs, calming signs and body features of horses and her focus on mentally stimulating horses, with a special emphasis on scent work.  


The morning program is centred around the recognition of language signs, calming signals and stress signals - with all the accompanying body features.  Communication ladders will be handed out, upon which you will find features and signals that horses use at certain tension levels in response to incentives in their environment. They form the basis of assessing the mental stimulation exercises at home or in the films being shown in the midday program. This information comes from the study Rachaël started in 2013 and is still ongoing, where the aim is to chart calming signals and other language signs of horses.  The afternoon program is centred around equine mental stimulation and nose work, the various advantages, the challenges and successes you will encounter. This lecture will include many photos and films but no live horses.


9.30 am Introduction:

· Personal background Rachaël Draaisma
· Information on the study of language signs and calming signals - how was it conducted? what were the settings? what categorisations were used? what are the characteristics of the horses filmed?

Calming signals, displacement activities and stress signals:
· When do you notice them on communication ladders?
· Why is this knowledge important? The goal is to recognise and assess the language signs and body features of the horse to avoid a negative climate for horse and handler/rider. And to create a positive climate for the horse to learn, remember, bond and live together with humans.
· Biology: what stress does to the horses ‘body. The effects of acute stress and chronic stress. When does it negatively affect his socialisation process, his learning ability and his cooperation with humans? How can we recognise that?


12.00 pm till 13.00 pm - Lunch

Then - Mental stimulation

What is it?
What are advantages of using mental stimulation?
What happens in the body?
What are the requirements to do a good job?

Equine scent work
What are the advantages? Mentally, physically, in the horse-human relationship, in terms of socialisation, and self development of the horse.
What are the requirements to do scent work?
What is easy and what are the challenges you may encounter? We will focus on treat searches and following a scent trail.
How to get started? Films are photos will be shown.


16.45 pm: Questions

17.00 pm: End of the day

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