The Whole Horse Podcast | Episode 24 | Sarah Schlote

So awesome to have Sarah Schlote, founder of EQUUSOMA™ back on the podcast! In this incredible follow-up episode (check out Episode 21 for an intro to her work), Sarah opens up about how Attachment theory applies to horse-human partnerships, the impact of stress and trauma, the process of “thawing out” that many horses experience when they’re moved into a new home and why it happens, the pitfalls of “anthropomorphism”, the importance of mammaliomorphism as a lens, and much much more. This podcast is full of cutting-edge resources (scroll down to find the list) – Sarah is as thorough as they come!

Sarah Schlote, MA, RP, CCC, SEP is a Registered Psychotherapist, trauma therapist and Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner who has been involved in the field of animal-assisted interventions since 2003. A former St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs volunteer, her main focus aside from her in-office private practice is partnering with horses to support health and healing. She is the founder of EQUUSOMA™, a training model integrating Somatic Experiencing®, attachment theory and equine-assisted trauma recovery, and has started promoting Therapist-Assisted Horsemanship™, bringing a trauma and attachment lens as well as trauma-informed horsemanship principles to improve the relationship between owners and their horses (and their coaches and instructors)

Learn more about Sarah and her work at and


Whole Horse Podcast Resources – Sarah Schlote (pdf with links) 

Sources referenced in the podcast (in order):

How wild horses deal with death and grief: A rare insight

Anthropomorphic double-talk: Can animals be happy but not unhappy? No!

Why ‘good welfare’ isn’t ‘good enough’: Minding animals and increasing our compassionate footprint

Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions (Jaak Panksepp)

The Archaeology of Mind: Neural Origins of Human Emotion (Jaak Panksepp)

Fear and the defense cascade: Clinical implications and management

Nature’s Lessons in Healing Trauma: An Introduction to Somatic Experiencing (video)

The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication and Self-Regulation (Stephen Porges)

The Pocket Guide to The Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe (Stephen Porges)

The polyvagal theory: Phylogenetic substrates of a social nervous system (Stephen Porges)

The polyvagal perspective (Stephen Porges)

Social engagement and attachment (Stephen Porges)

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers (Robert Sapolsky)

Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma (Peter Levine)

In An Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness (Peter Levine)

Staggering levels of gastric lesions seen in weaned foals in a study

Addiction, childhood trauma, stress, and the biology of addiction

Crib biting behaviour in horses: A review

EquiFACS: The equine facial action coding system

Horses discriminate between facial expressions of conspecifics

Functionally relevant responses to human facial expressions of emotion in the domestic horse

Domestic horses discriminate between negative and positive human nonverbal vocalizations

Animals remember previous facial expressions that specific humans have exhibited

An attachment perspective on human-pet relationships: Conceptualization and assessment of pet attachment orientations

Training methodologies differ with the attachment of humans to horses

Exploring the existence of potential underpinnings of dog-human and horse-human attachment bonds

First suckling: A crucial event for mother-young attachment?

Anxiety and pain in horses measured by heart rate variability and behavior

Episode 122 | Making the hardest choice with Diana Waters

Episode 122 | Making the hardest choice with Diana Waters

In this moving episode I am joined by horse trainer Diana Waters of Responsive Equine. We begin with an overview of some of Diana’s formative equestrian experiences, including her passion for training at the walk and its many benefits to the equine-human partnership, and then head into a vulnerable conversation about her journey rescuing a horse whom she diligently and compassionately attempted to rehabilitate, only to ultimately make the incredibly difficult choice to end his life.

Episode 119 | All about track systems for horses with Amy Dell

Episode 119 | All about track systems for horses with Amy Dell

The Whole Horse Podcast | Episode 119 | All about track systems for horses with Amy Dell I was excited to be joined by Amy Dell of Abbotts View Livery for this episode, who wrote the book Horse Track Systems and runs her own track livery in England. What I...

Episode 118 | Leading with relationship with Jodine Buydens

Episode 118 | Leading with relationship with Jodine Buydens

The Whole Horse Podcast | Episode 118 | Leading with relationship with Jodine Buydens This week I was joined by my long-time friend and colleague Jodine Buydens (pictured here with her mare Breeze) for a beautiful conversation on the horses who have shaped...