Rachaël Draaisma has always lived with and had a passion for dogs and horses. In 2002 she decided to make it her profession. Achieving several diplomas she started to work full time as a trainer and behaviour consultant. First with dogs, later with horses. In 2013 she completed the Turid Rugaas International Dog Trainers Education. Under Turid's supervision she started to firstly map the horses' levels of tension in response to a variety of everyday stimuli in a livery environment. Secondly, she started to investigate if horses use relationship-managing signals in repsonse to stimuli in their environment that they want to appease in order to avert conflict and maintain social relationships. They have chosen the term Calming Signals to refer to these signals. Thirdly to see how tension relates to possible Calming Signals.
Another pillar of Rachaël's working life with horses revolves around equine mental stimulation and scentwork. Rachaël developed several equine scentwork exercises, including an extensive method to do scent tracking with horses, where she teaches horses to follow a footstep track, so they can find lost persons, or foodbags. Equine scentwork is a new horse human discipline that has tremendous advantantages for the domesticated horse. It can be applied in equine assisted interventions, but also strongly support the horse that has behavioural challenges. Rachaël is founder in developing these scentwork exercises when combining them as helpful activities in our lives with horses.
Rachaël travels throughout Europe and the globe to lecture about calming signals of horses and equine mental stimulation and scentwork. Many universities and educational establishments are interested in her work. China, Denmark, Poland, Belgium, Spain, Slovak, Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands are only a few countries she has visited. She offers educational weekends where attendees can combine in depth theory and work hands-on with horses to refine their observational skills and work on equine mental stimulation and scentwork. Also she offers online education and has recently launched an online version of her Calming Signals of Horses course, both in Dutch and English, which are available to book here.
As a result of Rachaël's extensive exploration of equine calming signals and language, as well as her development of scentwork, she has published two books - Language Signs & Calming Signals of Horses and Scentwork for Horses, which are available on Amazon as well as her website store.
The subjects of equine communication and their olfactory abilities are fascinating, and an understanding of them has a wide range of benefits for both equine and human carer. Rachaël holds a number of clinics and workshops throughout the year in various countries. Her educational calendar can be found in our EDUCATION pages as well as on her website.