We work, together with the horse, on a number of individual and team assignments. The intense mirroring capacity of the horses and the discussions afterwards help create new insights and make us aware of our own patterns of communication, leadership and collaboration. Additional exercises create opportunities for new behaviour to emerge so that integration can occur.
Fear of horses is respected and worked through. In most cases, the fear is overcome after a mere half an hour of working with the horses.

3 formulas

3 half-day formulas:

  • Team Session: 3,5 hour minimum; a 2nd trainer is required from groups of more than 7 participants.
    All team members participate in all the exercises.
    4 phases

    1. Observation Exercise
    2. Contact Exercise
    3. Leadership Exercise
    4. Team Exercise
      • Demo session: 2.5 hours; shortened session with one trainer (also for groups of more than 6 participants) and experiential demonstrations with the participants. All exercises are worked through, but only 4 to 5 people can participate in and experience the exercise. Experiences are not discussed in depth.
      • Presentation Session: 1-hour session. Presentation by one coach trainer, with additional demonstrations. No practical experiences for participants in these exercises.

Longer trajectories

Integration into longer trajectories:

In addition, this methodology can be integrated into a trajectory ranging from one to several days in which the expertise of a training company or our partner Van Kelst & Co. can be applied. Training programs on leadership, personal interaction style and teamwork are developed.
When working with Van Kelst & CO, the trainings start from a vision of natural leadership.

Horse as a mirror

Horses are gregarious animals of prey, strongly connected with one another and their surroundings; they form one breathing whole. They are extremely sensitive to everything that surrounds them, and especially to us, predators. They live in the here and now, and react directly and straightforwardly.

This is why horses, through connectedness and compassion, have the ability to mirror us and confront us with ourselves. They reflect discrepancies, discord and tension in the individual and in the team. In this way, they promote self-knowledge, behavioural change, integration, healing, and restitution. They lead us to a balanced state between group and individual, yin and yang, earthly groundedness and spiritual passion.

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.

Video testimonials