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Calming Signals of Horses” v. Rachael Draaisma

14. september 2019 @ 9:00 - 17:00

Calming Signals Of Horses

Foredraget ”Calming Signals of Horses” afholdes af Hollandske Rachael Draaisma, som er forfatter til bogen af samme navn.

“Calming Signals” eller “Dæmpende Signaler” er de signaler hestene bruger for at kommunikerer med omgivelserne for at undgå bl.a stress – ergo er dette den helt fine kommunikation som ligger før anden adfærd, og som selvsagt er mere diffus at opfatte og forstå. Vigtigheden af signalerne er ikke detso mindre et kæmpe redskab til at forstå hesten på et forfinet plan – kom og hør Rachael afdække sine 6 års forskning, og resultaterne af disse- bliv klogere på hvordan du omsætter signalerne til hverdags brug!

Senest tilmelding: September 1

Praktisk Info:

Lørdag d. 14. Sept 2019, Kl. 9 – 17.00

Arrangementet afholdes på Vilhelmsborg, Bedervej 101
8320 Mårslet

Dagen starter med morgenkaffe Kl.9 .00 hvorefter dagens program starter kl 9.30 og forløber indtil kl 17.00.

Dagen er tilrettelagt med frokost pause hvor vi beværtes med flot buffet, samt eftermiddags kaffe og lækre snacks.

Pris for hele dagen inklusiv forplejning, 750 kr, inkl. moms.

Tidmelding via email til

Lecture: Calming Signals of Horses
Speaker: Rachaël Draaisma

This lecture is a summary of a study that Rachaël Draaisma has conducted since 2013, (and still ongoing) years under mentorship of Turid Rugaas, the authority on Calming Signals of dogs. Goal of
the study is to investigate and describe the calming signals of horses. These are the signals horses may give as reaction to a stimulus/stimuli in their environment, they want to appease to avert
negative escalations and keep a social climate. The term calming signals has been chosen, because these signals can be seen as appeasement signals to another (calming the other), but also can be seen as signals to release tension. (calming oneself).

To do justice to the varied signalling and interaction patterns horses use, and their many features and behaviours when reacting to everyday stimuli additional goals of the study were set. To describe features and behaviours of horses in relation to levels of tension. And to see how tension relates to possible Calming Signals.

Video footage forms the basis of this study. Rachaël Draaisma has filmed domestic horses and people in a livery environment when they were interacting. This includes horses being saddled, groomed,
brought to pasture, introduced to unfamiliar horses, being treated by a physiotherapist and so forth.These real life situations were not staged. The film material was then categorized. She has set
parameters and analysed films second for second. She noted the head/neck position, the shape of eyes, nose, mouth, setting of ears and tail. And noted the position and movement of humans and
horses. For this study Rachaël has analysed 220 films with an average length of 7 minutes. Only the communication signals she has seen at least 35 times in various settings were noted. This to avoid generalisation of perhaps an unique communication element.

The results of this study is: the description of 20 Calming Signals, the way tension relates to Calming Signals and the making of communication ladders were tension levels are linked to certain features and behaviours. The findings of this study have been written down by Rachaël in her book “Language Signs and Calming Signals of Horses”. It is published worldwide by CRC Press (Taylor & Francis) in October 2017. The book contains 10 communication ladders and 275 pictures. When Rachaël gives a day lecture it is a summary of this book. A day lecture consists of many pictures and films. Rachaël travels throughout Europe to give lectures. In her work with horses she has specialised in (re)socialisation of the horse, empowering him and nosework for horses.

9.30 H- Introduction:
 Personal background
 More information on the study. How is this conducted? What were settings, what
categorisations were used? What are the characteristics of the horses filmed?

The Calming signals:
 What are calming signals
 When do you notice them on communication ladders?
 Does tension play a part, to what extend? Is this low, medium or high tension?
 How do you see the difference if horses want to calm themselves or calm the other?
 Most calming signals are each explained and shown on photo and film

12.15 H till 13.15 H- Lunch

13.30 H: Stress on the body and brain
 Why is the knowledge of calming signals 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.
 What does stress do in the brain? A short side step, using prof. neurow. Jaak Panksepp as guidance.

Using calming signals ourselves
 Can we copy language signals of horses? Does the horse understand us better when we do?
 Which calming signals can we use to help the horse to stay calm or to lower his tension.
 Several manners of using calming signals by humans are shown on photo and film or can be done by exercises.

Empower your horse
 What activities are very suited to empower your horse. To make him stand on his own feet when it comes to dealing with stimuli in his daily environment. So that he is not depending solely on the guidance of the human.
 Advantages of offering new incentives. The work of prof. neurw. Jaak Panksepp and other researchers forms the base of this.
 How do you offer your horse new incentives. How much choice of freedom do you offer your
 How do calming signals play a role in this?
 Nose work for horses. THE mental stimulation for your horse. Which combines socialisation, the offering of new incentives and empowerment of the horse.
16.30 H: Questions
17.00 H: End of the day

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, followed by horses. In 2013 she graduated from the Turid Rugaas International Dog trainers Education. Turid’s question to chart the Calming Signals of horses, lead to a career switch. Rachaël dedicates her time to the study. Fulltime as off the last four years. Rachaël will keep continuing the study of Calming Signals of horses and give lectures on this topic around Europe. When working with horses Rachaël has specialised in (re)socialisation of the horse, empowering him and doing Nosework with horses.


14. september 2019
9:00 - 17:00
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Den Hele Ekvipage Horse Center


Det Nationale Hestesportcenter Vilhelmsborg
Bedervej 101
Mårslet, 8320 Danmark
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