An individual session lasts 1 to 1 ½ hours. The theme is defined in advance: a problem with a colleague, a pattern as a manager, a specific interaction style,…
A number of individual assignments are given where the coachee goes in contact with the horse.
After reflection of the horses and after debriefing, a new kind of awareness starts to exist about own communication, leadership and cooperation patterns.
Through additional exercises, possibilities towards new behavior are offered so that integration of patterns exist.
Fear for horses does not present a problem and is respected. However, this fear mostly  disappears after half an hour working with these horses.

Horse as a mirror

Horses are prey animals, strongly connected with one another and their surroundings: one breathing unity. They are extremely sensitive to everything present in their environment, especially in relation to us as predators. They live in the moment and respond directly and straightforwardly.

This enables horses to, through connection and compassion, clearly mirror and confront us with ourselves. Hence they contribute to our self-knowledge, behavioural changes, integration, healing, and restitution. They lead us to a balance between group and individual, yin and yang, being grounded and living spiritually.

Added value?

Does this method have an added value compared to other experiential outdoor methods?

The effect of horses on learning skills within teams and with managers is situated on 4 levels:

  1. The first level is the same level at which all outdoor methodologies work. An outdoor activity offers the opportunity to experience a positive or confrontational experience in regards to collaboration and leadership. By being confronted with nature and reflection, patterns like team cooperation and/or personal interaction patterns and leadership patterns are strongly sensed and opportunities towards transformation are created.
  2. An additional element with EAL is that you are not working with ‘dead’ matter, but with a living natural creature that mirrors and points out. The feedback is not only given by participants and trainer, but especially from the horse that is experienced as neutral, objective, unbiased and non-judgmental. Therefore the feedback is more insistent and calls less resistance on.
  3. If people are working with the horses, even if they have no experience, they feel the need for connection. These horses require integration in yourself of serenity and strength, of surrendering and limiting. And let this just be  important in teams and leadership.
  4. The herd and the horse as a metaphor.
    By the presence of the herd and the particular interactions between the horses, images of good teamwork are recorded, consciously and unconsciously. The images of the leader mare and leader stallion represent the integration of male and female leadership.

Leading through nature

Vision on natural leadership:

The meaning of natural leadership for us is ‘leadership from contact and connection with the natural dynamics of life’: the ‘natural’ development of employees; the ‘logical’ responses to change; the ‘obvious’ development of a team; the ‘obvious’ expectations of the organization and surroundings, the transparency of your own ambitions and desires as a manager. This knowledge, this consciousness, is ‘obvious’, ‘natural’ and at the same time so difficult to acquire from our current leadership attitude which mainly focuses on quick profit, technical solutions and tips and tricks.

The horse as a natural being and as archetype for leadership and connection, has the gift to bring us closer to this ‘natural leadership’. The exercises we do, support us as a manager in accessing this ‘old knowledge’ and gives a clear view on the patterns that prevent this.
In addition, the leadership in the herd offers us beautiful metaphors to start looking different towards the essence of leadership.

The knowledge and awareness of these natural dynamics of human and organization, ensures that we, as a manager, will lead the processes between people and teams in a joint direction of clear strength, connection and compassion.