We are often asked, “Why horses? Why not other animals?” Working with horses to support self-discovery for individuals and groups promotes insights in a new and exciting manner and is incredibly effective.
With their prey instinct and hypersensitive awareness, horses size people up instantly and accurately. They are adept at picking up and responding to human intention and non-verbal communication. They provide instant, honest and accurate feedback – creating experiences that get to the core of issues quickly and powerfully.
Interacting with horses at liberty on the ground (not ridden) demands the same personal qualities that make for effective communication and relationships in work and life – awareness, clarity, focus, intention, energy and empathy.
Naturally intimidating to many, horses are large and powerful. Working alongside a horse, in spite of any fears, creates confidence and provides wonderful insights of how to deal with other intimidating and challenging situations in business and life.
June’s life has revolved around business and horses and she credits her business successes to a life spent learning patience, responsibility, partnership and awareness from horses. When you are 5’1”, you have to work out how to get a horse on your side by methods other than force.
There are 3 principles behind the success of June’s approach:
1. The way we interact with horses is the same way that we interact with people
2. Horses can’t separate how they feel from how they act so their feedback is accurate and honest
3. When working with the horses, all pretence goes out the window and you resort to your natural behaviours
In any interaction, the horse is assessing whether you can be trusted, whether they can understand you and whether you are aware of yourself and the environment. Having quickly sized you up, if they don’t trust or respect you, they will decide you are not up to the job and take over the role of leader.
In the exercises, the horses are just being horses but their reaction to individuals is accurate and simple and highlights exactly where an individual is falling short. June can read a great deal into how the horses respond but to be honest, you will be able to see it for yourself and the power of this type of feedback is immense.
The good news is, if things aren’t working, you can then change what you are doing to get a different response. There is no magic behind it but the whole experience can be very emotional.
When people see in black and white how aspects of their behaviour have been holding them back in life, often for many years and then get to practice new, successful behaviours, that is where the magic comes in. When a half tonne horse has sized you up, challenged you and ends up choosing to follow you, you know you are doing something right.