When a person approaches the area where a horse is, the horse is extremely perceptive about the emotions of the intruder. It is sometimes said that horses can “smell fear,” but in fact it is all emotions that they can sense deeply.
If you try to lead them but your intentions are conflicted, they will not comply with your wishes. If you try to approach them but your outside actions do not match your inner emotions, they will also pick up from that and shy away from you.
In that sense, a horse is the ultimate natural feedback tool. If you want to know whether you think you have changed or whether you have really changed, re-engage with the horse and he will let you know. In this sense, a horse is an effective teacher. The horse cannot make you into something that you are not, but it can push you to change your attitude and become who you really are, instead of someone masquerading as you. That is the essence of what makes equine assisted learning programs like HorseDream so effective.
Genuine communication between a horse and a person is a tremendously self-healing experience. It strips away our pretenses and allows us to see who we really are. It shows us, often for the first time as adults, the differences between who we are and who we think we are. When the communication is open, bare and honest, we go to a place where we are finally willing to abandon what is not working for us without remorse or blame or self-criticism. We finally accept what is instead of what we want it to be. That is a tremendously freeing experience, and the foundation for new personal growth. We no longer have to pretend.
Working with clients at many different stages of their lives has taught us how life-changing this experience can be. Once people tap into their authentic self, the revelation can be staggering in its impact. We have seen people walk away from what others perceive as “top jobs” to return to a skillset that they love and which gives them genuine joy. We have watched people re-examine their relationships with others on their team, and being to understand why certain behaviors and assumptions were blocking progress. We have seen people break down and be overwhelmed with the self-insight that flooded into them, while others have walked away amazed at how a beautiful creature who could not even communicate in their language could have stripped away the barriers and discovered who they really are.
When we know who we are, real change can happen if we desire it. It begins with our attitudes and perceptions of our world, and it grows from there. Unlike learning as a child, which is aided and guided by the adults in our lives, learning as an adult is wide-open world that starts to make sense for us again, one aspect at a time.
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!