One is a love of horses and the other is a fear of horses. Sometimes the two are combined and that is even more difficult for the person about to engage in an exchange with a horse or horses.
They are nervous. Sometimes, if they are unfamiliar with horses, they are really intimidated by the size of the horse. Often they are cynical about the expected outcomes of the program. They may have been sent rather than willingly volunteered to engage with us. They think they have been trained by the best professors at the best universities. What could a large animal calmly staring at them across a field teach them?
In many cases companies send whole teams of workers in the hopes that the experience will help them work better together and put some much needed “heart” back into the business. The supervisors confide in me that while they have effective teams who are used to getting jobs done, they feel sometimes as if they are just going through the motions and have lost the passion for the vision of the company.
What’s wonderful about interacting with horses, is that there is no “one size fits all” response to it. It’s deeply personal, and the impact is so profound that it stays with the participant long after a normal classroom trainer’s words are forgotten.
Scientists documenting exchanges between horses and humans have discovered that we are calmer and more centered when we are with horses. Our focus is keen and when the connection is made, the human feels it more profoundly than they could ever have imagined.
Horses can bring heart back to our companies by teaching people about themselves and making their offering clearer. For example, we may think that we are a natural, instinctive leader, but the horse may show us we are not. We may consider that our intent is communicated clearly, but we may be causing confusion instead. We may think our vision is clear, but a day spent with horses teaches us we are really quite uncertain.
Through our interactions with horse, we become more open and honest when we return to our workplace. We are a little braver in tackling our problems and willing to demonstrate both emotion and humility. We have just figured out that we don’t have all the answers, but that within our team, or our “herd,” we can find them. We are more conscious of striking the right tone in our communications as we recognize that our spoken word does not convey our entire message. We recognize the role of failure in the struggle for innovation and creation and accept it without the harsh judgment we once reserved for it. We not only bring back a renewed sense of our work value within our company or organization, but also within ourselves.
In short, we go back with new skills and new heart and that renews and invigorates our workplace. We have purpose and a clear route to our destination.
HorseDream Canada, founded by Susan Wilson, provides high impact, quality leadership and team development experiences for individuals, teams, leaders and companies. It is part of an internationally renowned Horse Assisted Education Program proving transformative learning experiences around the world. HorseDream Canada is a division of I DO BUSINESS. Inc., a social purpose business. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch for our new book, Leadership 93/7 coming soon!