Well actually that’s not true, if the horse doesn’t want to move it won’t! The only way the horse will choose to go with you is by being confident and developing a trust based relationship with the horse, enabling them to feel safe. Horses are motivated in similar ways to human beings, by satisfying their basic needs for safety, food and staying clear of any threats to their survival. Sound familiar?
It is because of these similarities with human beings that working with horses can provide such a powerful way of gaining feedback and learning invaluable lessons about the impact of your leadership style upon others and the relationships you have with your colleagues, customers, friends and family. The behaviours displayed by the horses when working with them provides you with a reflection of yourself. Just as the developments in neuroscience have shown that emotions between people are contagious, horses too can pick up and sense the emotions and thoughts people. If you approach or stand close to a horse with a head full of negative or stressful thoughts, you will see a behavioural reaction in the horse.
If you want to lead a horse to water, you need to;
- be confident and clear about where you are going and how you are going to get there
- build up a relationship of trust
- and be totally focused on the horse and the present moment.
When I was invited by equine-facilitator Roz Danks, to attend one of her workshops, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the increase in self-awareness and transformations of behaviours in the participants within such a short space of time was absolutely astounding. I observed participants as one by one they nervously approached the horse, heads full of “The horse won’t do it.” or “The horse is much bigger than I am.” And it was of no surprise to them or anyone else when the horse started to turn away or refused to move. However, as the facilitators began to coach the participants, increasing their awareness of their thoughts and behaviours, you could see the participant’s confidence levels rise as they displaced their unhelpful thoughts and began to focus on the horse and what they wanted it to do. In a relatively short space of time, the participants were leading the horses around the arena and guiding them, without holding onto the reins through and around strategically placed obstacles.
As I watched the workshop unfold, the participants grew their confidence and skills in leading the horses and I was drawing the parallels of what I was watching with the situations and challenges people face in the workplace. I started to think about the way mindful practices could support participants to regain and maintain their focus in the present moment and have increased awareness of their thoughts once they returned to the pressures and demands of the workplace.
This is how my interest in developing an equine-facilitated mindfulness workshop began.
If you would like to find out more about our equine-facilitated workshops, please contact Michelle McArthur-Morgan on 07801 056 284 or email firstname.lastname@example.org