What image does the concept of taking the reins evoke for you? Taming the wild stallion of your goals and dreams? Enjoying nature with your equine partner? Dusty stockyards full of danger and adrenaline? Piloting Winx as she flies past the winning post? Or preparing for another workplace war?
Great horsemanship has a lot in common with great leadership. How we lead matters and horses are increasingly being recruited to hold up a mirror to executives and entrepreneurs seeking opportunities for accelerated learning in self-awareness, team building and relationship development.
Like us, horses have a Y. At its most basic, their Y is to survive and to reproduce. Yep, work and family! In the context of their “workplace”, the most successful horses share some common characteristics. They value comfort, are very social animals and use all their senses to stay safe.
Y is it so?
One reason is because the horses that live the longest, with the best chance of producing foals, are assertive, not aggressive. Assertiveness means that they can get their share of the grazing, water and mates without getting seriously injured. A debilitating injury can spell death for a horse; either from increased vulnerability to predators or from dehydration and starvation.
As prey animals, horses prefer to flee first and ask questions later. Where flight is not an option, however, if instinct tells them they are in danger, they will fight to escape.
Horses are very alert to potential danger. They notice the slightest change in people, places and things. They respect the ability of others to observe what is going on and are especially perceptive to body language. I was given an unhandled filly once, who would shoot wide-eyed across the yard if I even moved my little finger! She soon learned to trust me completely, but that is another story.
Thus, if a person participating in an equine leadership experience is perceived by a trained horse as threatening, fearful or traumatised, the horse will provide real-time, non-judgemental feedback. A skilled facilitator can translate the animal’s response and make suggestions about experimenting with posture, breath, energy and even thought patterns to bring about a more positive response.
Like us, horses prefer assertive leaders who listen to them and give clear and consistent cues. You can work on your own confidence, self-control and emotional intelligence by treating your colleague like a horse!
Try it right now by substituting their name for “The Horse” in my poem below:
The Horse is not here
to reward your ego
to compete with you
to punish you
to control you
The Horse responds to
who you are
how you feel
what you think
what you do
The Horse is here
to enable you to learn
how to be a better You
– and that is a blessing
Y Not Take A Moment And Tell Us How This Impacted You: If this story has impacted you in any way, we would love you to leave a comment below. It only takes a second but leaves a lasting impact on us.
Thank you! the YMag Team
Contact Joanne Verikios from Winning Horsemanship to find out more.
Call +61 457 681 998 or visit https://www.winninghorsemanship.com/
Shar Moore is a multi-international Award Winning Mentor, Keynote Speaker, Author, Mum and Nani. Her work with women globally, has led her to publish YMag®, empowering women to become the best versions of themselves.