Training Assistants

Training Assistants

The EQUUSOMA® training process would not be possible without the dedicated support of our team of volunteer training assistants. Training assistants have a crucial role in supporting the student learning experience online and in person, not just in modelling the skills and principles being taught and guiding practice rounds, but also in terms of holding the energetic container of connection and co-regulation. During in-person modules, assistants also support the faculty with a variety of logistical, administrative, and practical tasks to ensure that the program runs smoothly. Assistants not only track student and equine nervous system states but also their own, that of the rest of the training team, and the group field as a whole.

Assisting is an opportunity to receive direct mentoring and coaching from faculty, to revisit material and integrate it on a deeper level, to hone skills, to enjoy the social engagement of being among peers, and to give back in helping shape a new generation of professionals.

Assisting for EQUUSOMA® training is also the first step to becoming an approved provider of credit hours for EQUUSOMA® students.

Level 1 General Assisting Requirements

The requirements to assist at Level 1 online trainings are as follows:

  • Have achieved Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner (SEP) status via Somatic Experiencing® International
  • Be involved in a horse-human interaction profession for at least 1 year (e.g., equine-assisted psychotherapy and learning, equine behaviour consultation, riding instruction, horsemanship training, equine bodywork, equine energy worker, animal communicator, etc.).
  • Preference will be granted to individuals who are also approved Somatic Experiencing® training assistants, though this is not a requirement at this time.

Note: Some individuals who meet the Level 1 general assisting requirements prefer to register as an EQUUSOMA® student first in order to experience the material in a learning role before assisting. While this is not required, it is certainly permitted.

Level 2 General Assisting Requirements

Due to the increased demands of assisting at Level 2 given the presence of live horses and having more nervous systems to track, the list of priorities for selecting assistants for this level are as follows, pending availability:
  1. EQUUSOMA® faculty or faculty in training
  2. SEPs with sufficient equine experience who have assisted for the Level 1 online modules at least once
  3. SEPs with sufficient equine experience who have not yet assisted for EQUUSOMA®
  4. Shadow assistants that have previously assisted for Level 1

Note: Shadow assistants will attend Level 2 practical intensives as EQUUSOMA students first before shadow assisting at these modules, given the experiential nature of the learning. If this is not possible due to a lack of general assistants, then shadow assistants can attend without having been a student first. However, they will be required to participate as a student in the practice rounds in order to complete the experiential component. Shadow assistants will assist in a different practice round than the one they participate in as a student. This will require some creative coordinating to ensure smooth transitions and that shadow assistants coming and going doesn’t feel disruptive. If being both a student and a shadow assistant during the practice rounds is not possible due to logistical issues, then shadow assistants will be required to complete the live practice rounds at another time (e.g., such as over lunch, or at the start or end of the day, with willing students to be in the lender and observer roles).

If the only people available to assist at Level 2 trainings are shadow assistants that have never assisted for EQUUSOMA before, we will reschedule the training UNLESS A) the training is being taught by two faculty members, and B) the number of students is small enough that each faculty member can be paired with a new shadow assistant to support practice rounds.

Shadow Assistants

Shadow assistants have largely the same responsibilities as general assistants, only they are paired with a general assistant during the practice rounds since they are often students themselves (whether students in EQUUSOMA®, students in the Somatic Experiencing training, or students in an equine-related profession).

We generally encourage students to focus on being students (and registering for the full training) prior to signing up to assist, so that they can focus on integrating the learning as opposed to taking on assisting duties that shift their attention and intention for those modules. However, we have at times made exceptions to allow students or other professionals to shadow assist in order to have a large enough assisting team, depending on the cohort.

Progression for shadow assistants differs depending on which of the following categories they fall into.

Category A: Somatic Experiencing® students with horse/equine interaction profession experience

  • Somatic Experiencing® (SE) students should attend each module as an EQUUSOMA® student first before being a shadow assistant at each module.
  • In the case of SE students that have shadow assisted on an exceptional basis to support the needs of the program prior to attending those module(s)s as an EQUUSOMA® student, their attendance at those module(s) as a shadow assistant will count towards their own progression as an EQUUSOMA® student. That is, they will not have to repeat the module as an EQUUSOMA student; their involvement in the module as a shadow assistant will count towards the completion of the EQUUSOMA® training program.
  • Shadow assistants must eventually meet the requirements for general assisting (above) before being able to progress into the approved provider program.

Category B: SEPs with little to no horse/equine interaction profession experience

  • SEPs with no equine experience or who are students of horsemanship or in an equine profession should attend each module as an EQUUSOMA® student first before being a shadow assistant at each module.
  • In the case of SEPs in this category that have shadow assisted on an exceptional basis to support the needs of the program prior to attending those module(s) as an EQUUSOMA® student, their attendance at those module(s) as a shadow assistant will count towards their own progression as an EQUUSOMA® student. That is, they will not have to repeat the module as an EQUUSOMA® student; their involvement in the module as a shadow assistant will count towards the completion of the EQUUSOMA® training program.
  • Shadow assistants must eventually meet the requirements for general assisting (above) before being able to progress into the approved provider program. Additional training and experience in being with horses may be required.

Category C: Equine professionals with no Somatic Experiencing® training

  • Equine professionals in this category should attend each module as an EQUUSOMA® student first before being a shadow assistant at each module.
  • In the case of professionals in this category that have shadow assisted on an exceptional basis to support the needs of the program prior to attending those module(s) as an EQUUSOMA® student, their attendance at those module(s) as a shadow assistant will count towards their own progression as an EQUUSOMA® student. That is, they will not have to repeat the module as an EQUUSOMA® student; their involvement in the module as a shadow assistant will count towards the completion of the EQUUSOMA® training program.
  • Professionals in this category must take the Foundations of Somatic Experiencing® module as an EQUUSOMA student (or some approved equivalent) in order to shadow assist.
  • Because of the practice round requirements, shadow assistants in this category will be unable to progress to general assistant status without undertaking Somatic Experiencing® training. At that time, they will transfer from Category C to Category A shadow assistants, and the subsequent progression steps will apply.

Assisting Agreement

Assisting Agreement – North American Letter Format

Assisting Agreement – International A4 Format