Why Equine Assisted Learning (EAL)
The volatile and uncertain economic challenges affecting us in the next decade require a new level of leadership consciousness, where the priorities include;
• Understanding yourself and the impact you have as a leader
• Connecting and engaging others in powerfully authentic ways
• Being able to both adapt to, and influence, the environment in which we operate.
Equine assisted leadership development helps participants surface new insights about their impact as a leader through experiential learning with horses.
As prey animals, horses live in the moment and are experts in non-verbal communication. In the wild, each time a horse makes a noise it gives a clear signal to predators of the location of the herd. So, they have evolved a highly effective non-verbal communication system, and they only respond to leaders that they trust.
Working with a group of horses is an ideal way to gain insight into group dynamics, leadership, and difference. Observing a herd of horses is like observing the original social network. Becoming part of that shifts the herd dynamics, and this is where leaders really find out about themselves and their leadership style.
93% of communication between people is non-verbal, and by focussing on non-verbal cues delegates will gain an understanding of how to tap into all of their senses to lead more effectively.
How it helps
Equine assisted leadership development is powerful experiential learning that can help delegates to:
- Be an effective leader, even when out of their comfort zone
- Use their leadership strengths to overcome barriers to change
- Understand the importance of body language and communicating with clarity
- Develop a collaborative team
- Manage stress
Activities are led by a trained facilitator and make use of naturally occurring opportunities in the presence of a horse or horses. Depending upon the weather, activities may take place in horse grazing areas, an indoor arena, or on sensory woodland trails.
What it involves
Facilitated activities might include:
- Observing the behaviour of a herd of horses at liberty and discussing the observations of non-verbal signals.
- Body scanning or grounding exercises to increase awareness of the leaders’ own energy state.
- Approaching and connecting with a horse, or horses. Noting and reflecting upon individual feelings, non-verbal cues, and the differences in energy levels and personal boundary space required by individuals.
- Reflecting on real challenges in the business sector and creating a physical representation of the situation with items selected from a wide range of equipment.
- Leading a horse around obstacles, with or without a lead rope, and reflecting on how the activity met with expectations.
- Using body energy, either as an individual or as part of a team, to influence a horse to move around obstacles without the use of a lead rope.
Who is it for?
Who can benefit from Equine Assisted Learning (EAL)?
Julie-Anne has a preference for a co-production approach, working with each client to tailor a programme to meet the needs of the delegates and the organisation. Where appropriate, she works in collaboration with other trained practitioners to co-facilitate larger groups and to tap into specialist expertise.
Her experience includes co-producing the design and delivery of successful Equine Assisted leadership development experiences for groups of SME leaders, and with the College Development Network Preparing for Executive Leadership programme.
Any organisation delivering leadership development programmes, looking to add a high impact experiential learning element, is welcome to request a short taster experience.
Ready to Pick Up The Reigns?
For more information about an EAL experience that meet the needs of your organisation contact Julie-Anne below