Master Class

Equuscience Master Class:

A trauma-informed and evidence-based lens on horse-human relationships

Herd of horses in the mountains in Iceland

Back by popular demand!

Sarah and Dr. Peters are excited to be running their master class again in 2023. This educational course offers an accessible overview of a number of important topics grounded in the latest neuroscience and research, along with best and promising practices from the fields of psychology, trauma treatment, and ethology, to help you better understand you and your equine(s). Learning to recognize how adversity and trauma impact the brain, nervous system, behaviour, relationships, and overall functioning, as well as concrete tools, frameworks, principles, and next steps to help start the process of transformation for you and your equine(s) are the main goals of the program. Trauma in humans, trauma in equines, and the particular intersection of the two (equestrian trauma) will be explored through a compassionate lens that brings in awareness of somatics, attachment, psychophysiology, and interspecies neurobiology.

Class information:

  • The modules run approximately 3.5 hours in length each, on Zoom, once a month for 7 months (roughly 25 hours total), allowing time for you to review the material between each module.
  • The modules start at 8am Pacific / 9am Mountain / 11am Eastern.
  • Upon registration, students will receive a welcome email with instructions as well as the link to the Zoom meeting room. Please check spam in case you don’t find this email (it will be sent to the email address that you used to create your PayPal account).
  • You may attend the modules live or watch the recordings after the fact at a time that is more convenient for you. You have access to the video recordings for 3 months after the end of each module.

Who is this for?

This master class is geared towards a general audience. Horse, donkey, mule, and hinny lovers of all walks of life have taken the course, as have equestrians in various disciplines. Also, professionals in different scopes of practice, such as horse trainers, natural horsemanship instructors, clicker trainers, riding coaches, equine bodyworkers, equine-assisted psychotherapy and learning facilitators, animal communicators, veterinary health providers, therapeutic riding instructors, and so on are also welcome!

  • Curious about integrating this material more deeply in your work? Professionals in the professions listed above are welcome to register for the EQUUSOMA®: Horse-Human Trauma Recovery training and personal growth program (2 years / nearly 200 hours), licensed through Somatic Experiencing® International.

BIPOC scholarship program:

For Black, Indigenous, or other persons of colour who are interested in this program who face marginalization and inequity due to race / racialized trauma, please contact us to inquire about our scholarship program:

Module 1: Neurophysiology and Neurochemistry

January 21, 2023

  • Series introduction
  • Trauma and interspecies social justice as a lens
  • Comparing equine and human brains
  • Brain anatomy and function
  • Neurotransmitters as chemical messengers
  • Brain map and model for understanding nervous system states

Module 2: Neuroception and the Ponyvagal™ Theory

February 18, 2023

  • Neuroception and the felt sense of safety
  • Oppressed bodies and their felt sense of the world
  • The role of the vagus nerve
  • The dials: A 3-branch nervous system
  • Safety, danger, life threat
  • Arousal, activation, and blended states
  • Safety and survival responses map

Module 3: Neuroplasticity and Trauma

March 25, 2023

  • Research on adversity in humans and equines (ACEs and AESEs)
  • Epigenetics and gene expression
  • Impacts of imprints: Early trauma, health, and behaviour
  • Captivity conditions and coping: Management strategies
  • “Vices”: Misjudging survival adaptations
  • Adopting a trauma lens on resilience
  • Creating optimal conditions to support desired outcomes

Module 4: Co-Regulation and Attachment

April 22, 2023

  • From auto-regulation to co-regulation
  • Self and other: Neuroception and relationships
  • Attachment theory and research in humans and horses
  • How early trauma affects horsemanship methods
  • Relationship challenges: Re-enactments, projection, and gaslighting
  • Transference and counter-transference in equine settings
  • Resonance and coherence

Module 5: Window of Tolerance and Self-Regulation

May 27, 2023

  • The window of tolerance and the “faux” window maps
  • Flooding and overriding beyond thresholds
  • Titration and thresholds map
  • Activation and deactivation cycles
  • Somatic awareness
  • Tracking sequences

Module 6: Interspecies Integration

June 10, 2023

  • Applying this material to horsemanship methods and learning theory
  • Moving beyond behaviourism
  • Setting the conditions: The humane hierarchy
  • Supporting safety to cultivate curiosity
  • Equestrian trauma
  • Healing ourselves, healing our equines
  • Trauma-informed horsemanship principles
  • Referrals and recommended resources

Module 7: Case Applications

August 12, 2023

  • Featuring a selection of case examples submitted by participants
  • Reviewing cases through the lens of the material learned in the master class
  • Practical application of the material
  • Respecting the limits of your scope of practice
  • Shifting towards greater embodiment of the learning

$899.99 USD

Check your spam folder in case you do not see an email from us with Zoom instructions. Contact us at just in case.