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Equine PTSD
Trauma Assessment

“Therapy is not the process of trying to erase the trauma, it is the process of working toward changing your relationship, with it.” ~Kerry M Thomas

Emotional Stability & Trauma Assessment Services

Emotional wellness and physical health, few things so closely related can seem so far apart, foreign, and altogether separate from one another. I have long believed in the simplistic reality that emotional wellness precedes true physical well-being by allowing it the opportunity to manifest and flourish. Yet emotional wellness is not itself wholly predicated upon anything physical and where physical treatment of emotional ill is sought or given, the divide between mind and body often deepens.


Apperceptive creatures at the core desire contentment, harmony and seek, at least in some degree depending on their atavistic mannerisms, comradery. Left pure and with unclouded virtue from the bombardment of outside influences pushing singular, self-serving agendas, the cognitive can with fluency of communication, harmonize the corporal. You cannot machine emotion in a conscious being; thus, you cannot manufacture emotional healing through something physically based alone. From an emotional standpoint, anything physical is itself only an accessory to the emotion to which it is attached. To accessorize emotional wellbeing is not the manufacturing of healing but rather an introduction to dependency.


Horses in my view are sentient beings. Driven by emotion, societal in nature, subject to all that affects those of similar character in at least some relative form. The outward presentation of physical beauty, strength and influence provides a veil for what can be insecurity, fear, anxiety of emotional stature. Because of this, it is easy to only see that which is presently before us and not feel what lay beneath. The better part of my life’s work with horses has been in investigating the complex and enigmatic world of herd dynamics and exploring the influence that natural instinct has upon everything we ask the horse to experience in a domesticated world.


Emotional wellness and trauma are both collateral to the human and horse relationship. For many years I have applied what I have learned of and from the herd dynamics in the development of the many unique services you can find in both our Thoroughbred Racing & Breeding and Sport & Pleasure Horse service areas. As party to these I became well acquainted with another area that needs addressing with the same focus, the great disrupter of emotional wellness and performance, trauma. To offer hope and reprieve from these hidden wounds, which I view as nothing short of Equine PTSD, a new service area has been born in order to nurture the horse against their enemy within.


“I view desensitization as largely unstable, exposed to the arbitrary nature of association. I would rather look to nurturing proper interpretations as a more natural way to sustain assimilation. Sensory Soundness is the key to both athletic ability and emotional wellness.” ~Kerry


Not all cases can be accepted, please submit your case profile for consideration

and for a free consultation. 

Humans Helping Horses

It may seem impossible to find the answers, but that does not mean you do not look for them. Within the herd dynamic there are well defined places for emotional scars to take up residence, hidden just below the surface. Taking a close look at these areas may not tell us from whence the trauma came, but it can show us where, how, and even the depth of the emotional fissure. If we can identify its nature, we can begin to understand it, and when we begin to understand it, we can begin our effort to heal it.


If you are dealing with a horse that seems to be suffering from emotional trauma in some degree or another, and you’re looking to find some hope there’s a way to help them find harmony within the emotional chaos, a Trauma & Emotional Stability Assessment may be right for you.


Offered in two options, a full Trauma Assessment and an abbreviated version, Emotional Stability Assessment, four essential areas of the herd dynamic are focused on to identify severity and depth. Not everything we see in expression is as deep rooted as we assume, and can be remedied or softened with some understanding and effort. Through a study of the core parameters listed below accompanied by several other key psychological assessment markers, the emotional tone and level of trauma, or rate, are given a value to indicate the degree of severity and impact.


Trauma Rating indicates the total impact on the herd dynamic because trauma here is relative to emotional scars that are so deeply ingrained as triggers in the psyche, they are a permanent part of who the horse is. Low through Severe levels of life-impacting scars are assigned.


Emotional Stability Score reflects the degree of life-impacting response from emotionally associated and environmentally based triggers. These are identified as more “surface” based emotional-response-stimulators that, though they can cause “loud” ripple effect reactions, are easily misdiagnosed as ingrained trauma and subsequently mislabeled and mistreated. It is imperative to know the difference.

Trauma & Emotional Stability Assessment

Trauma Rating from: Low 1 2 3 / Moderate 4 5 6 / Severe 7 8 9 – Is provided with full a trauma assessment.

Emotional Stability Score from: 1 2 3 Low / 4 5 6 Moderate /7 8 9 Heightened – Is provided with a cursory evaluation and is included with the full trauma assessment option.


Emotional Stress & Oppression Analysis; > inhibits ability to adapt to learned behaviors, determine HD outsourcing parameters.


Expression Analysis; > understanding how the horse is filtering emotional stress.


Associative Aspect Analysis; > determining the degree of influence from associative trauma.


Anticipatory Response Analysis; > determining the functionality of the mind-to-body fluency sequence and the time required for the interpretive to overlay the associative.)


Harmonized Herd Dynamic; > Recommendations on how to help your horse harmonize with their environment are prescribed. Gaining a deeper understanding of the why, the how and the what, can go far in assisting them in experiencing their world in a less stressful manner and discover the best version of themselves.

Reflective Learning Therapy; Discovering the Communicated Equine


As emotional communicators horses rank among the finest of examples when it comes to compatibility with their human partners. Their ability to absorb and reflect human emotion is both cathartic and therapeutic, the way this is emotionally communicated is the principle upon which therapy is founded. Therapy can be defined as creating a pathway to realizing harmony within the chaos; horses, acting as “emotional mentors,” can assist greatly in one’s navigation from darkness into light.


Reflective Learning Therapy services are presented in two options.

RLT Option A – Compatibility & Fatigue Assessment

Developing a profile of the therapy horse in order to ascertain in which capacity or environment their herd dynamic profile is most compatible with. Therapy is given its best chance when the relationship between horse-mentor is compatible in nature with their human counterpart. As with any relationship, emotional fatigue sets in faster when that connection becomes strained.


In RLT Option A, your horse’s herd dynamic is profiled to help determine their Compatibility & Fatigue rating. Compatibility rating is measured by their ability to adapt to new stimulus. Fatigue rating is an assessment of how much time-on-task the horse can be expected to be, before they begin to experience mental fatigue.


The horse’s Compatibility & Fatigue Assessment is a profile report about the horse-mentor as compared to their therapeutic job assignment. Recommendations & verbal case review included. Compatibility & Fatigue Assessment is available as both an in-person and video assessment service.

RLT Option B – Part 1, Horse-Mentor Assessment

Taking therapy to the next level means considering all aspects of those in participation, this includes the horse. Reflective Learning Therapy Horse-Mentor Assessment is an evaluation of the equine partner to determine emotional changes in communication between human and horse.

This is a very telling, non-threatening way in which to determine the emotional changes in the person that are occurring and allow subtle adjustments and advancement in program development. Emotions such as anxiety, fear, internal stress, calm, elation, and contentment are all absorbed and reflected by the horse. High level herd dynamic horse-mentors will harmonize with their human and subsequently begin to anticipate their emotions and respond to them. When this happens, it alleviates the person from having to directly confront that which antagonizes them during the sense of emotional isolation. It is within this partnership in which the therapeutic process is found. An assessment of the horse during its session can reveal the true nature of the process and where alterations to it need be made. What a person may not admit to themselves or another, is not kept from the horse.


Available as an on-site & video service, Horse-Mentor Assessment includes a written assessment of that which is revealed through the communicated equine.

RLT Option B - Part 2, Harmony Project

After an assessment is made of the relationship between the horse and their human partner, an emotional enrichment course can be designed to nurture the capacity to harmonize with environmental disruptions. Developed in stages as designed partnership challenges, the requirement of shared leadership between human and horse forges a pathway for adopting a different way in which to negotiate situational chaos. This “rethinking” of controlled associative challenges allows the person to change the relationship they have with that which has been antagonistic to their emotional wellness and relationships with others.


Harmony Project Goal; when the human and horse relationship blends through shared leadership, we can begin to process and empower human emotion by transitioning it from reactive to purposeful. When the human partner begins to lead with intent-of-purpose they are imparting their feelings in such a way that emotional trauma is allowed to leak away. Emotional enrichment and nurturing intent-of-purpose protocols empower the human through the collateral partnership with their horse-mentor an allow us to flip-the-script in favor of emotional wellness.


“When you endeavor to replace the uncertainty of what you see, with the certainty of what you feel,

you have taken your first step towards finding harmony within the chaos.” ~Kerry M Thomas

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