What lessons do you think you could learn from a horse?
On Friday, August 5, I had the honour of participating in the Trailblazer on Fire workshop held by Equine Connections. Brigitte Lessard, founder of WomenTalk , took all of us board members to experience this workshop with horses to help identify our leadership styles and see how we could best support one another.
The workshop focuses on 6 dynamic skills: Courage, Competence, Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, & Confidence. What makes this workshop so unique is that the true teachers are the horses not humans. Horses are incredible teachers because they are fully in the present moment and they will not lie!
My first horse named Faye taught me the following:
- My internal dialogue needs to match my external actions. Horses pick up on what we are feeling. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get this 1,000 lb animal to follow me and hence Faye picked up on my insecurity and did not move.
- Force does not equate to movement. I had been told to lead the horse. I pulled on the rope and the horse did not budge. I yanked harder and the horse resisted even more. If something does not want to move for you, pulling against it even harder is not going to make it move any easier and will only cause frustration on your end. Standing in your power not force is the key.
- Looking back stops movement forward. When I did get Faye to follow, I looked back and she stopped. It made me realize that many times when I have established momentum, I look back to the past instead of looking forward and I stop the forward movement.
We did a break and a quick exercise to determine our leadership style and then were paired with someone who had a different style then ourselves and assigned to a horse to do different tasks. This time my teacher’s name was Comet. The lessons continued with Comet including:
- The importance of communicating my vision/direction. In this exercise, my partner and I needed to get Comet to walk over logs on blocks without
knocking over any log. First attempt, we knocked over all 3 logs. We were then told to watch where we were looking. We knocked over 2 logs this time. Then it clicked. I needed to communicate to my partner EXACTLY where it was that I was looking so that we could both focus on the same location, and Comet followed with no logs knocked over at all.
- Sometimes rules need to be broken to accomplish your goals. In this exercise, there was a ring with a glove in the middle of it for Comet to step on with one hoof. We were not allowed to step into the ring and what happened was we just kept going around and around in circles. As the quote by Einstein so eloquently says, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity!” When we broke the one rule and stepped into the ring, Comet stepped on the glove immediately. It totally made me realize how many times I have spun in circles trying to accomplish something different, but doing it the same way.
My partner who had a different leadership style than me taught me the importance of humour when dealing with problems.
Having a horse as a teacher for a ½ day workshop was a profound experience and one I would highly recommend. They are having another Trailblazer full day workshop coming up on Saturday, September 17 at Equine Connections. For more details please visit: http://www.equineconnection.ca/womensworkshops
I have always been a huge advocate that nature is one of our greatest teachers. Having a horse as a teacher is an absolutely incredible experience. Don’t miss out on this very unique way to learn.
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