or why horses are awesome
Maybe you have heard of Coaching with horses before?
Maybe the thought never crossed your mind and you got here just thinking “What the heck”??
Well, however you got here, I think you should consider Coaching with horses as an amazing opportunity for your own personal development. I absolutely love working with horses and people because I think we make the very best Co-Coaches possible.
Whether you are scared of horses or an advanced rider, whether you would like to learn how to ride or just understand what they can add to Coaching, you will make A decision that will change your life.
When you talk about why horses are so great to work with, you would normally have to come up with a seriously big book, but I will only go into a few points here. Working with horses has many sides to it. There is a whole chapter on physical benefits whether you are in good shape or bring something to work on. If you are not sure, talk to your GP and or to me about how we can handle your specific situation!
I will go into some of the reasons even apart from the physical benefits that might be a bit less known. According to my knowledge and experience the reasons why I think horses are so ingeniously great for the Coaching process are the following.
Stepping out of your comfort zone
By creating a new and unusual setting for our normal behaviour, we step into a zone where learning takes place on a fresh, experiential level. Our partners in this new experience are horses! They react to you completely intuitively and mirror your outward manner as much as your internal attitude.
Stepping out of your comfort zone can look very differently for each individual. For someone working in higher management it can mean doing a development day in a field with animals instead of an office and a whiteboard. For someone living with anxiety it can mean making it out of the house to come and see me. For a child with a disability that has been to many therapists, it can make a huge difference that this new experience seems more like an adventure any kid is itching for and not just another place to remind it her or him that they are special.
Being completely present
Horses live in the present moment – in today’s language it would be fair to call them Masters of Mindfulness. If we are not 100%present while working with them, they will let us know; if on the other hand, you do manage to be completely mindful, it will open up endless possibilities of “outside-of-time” experiences. A horse will follow when it senses self-confidence, trustworthiness, authenticity and credibility. And it will react differently if this is missing. The horse as a partner helps to recognize personal strengths and areas for improvement.
Here is a little story to illustrate what I am saying: I was cantering bareback around our pastures on my favourite mare Mae and was just thinking about the fact that I should probably stop up there on the hill when I almost flew right over Mae’s head. Why? Well, I thought about what I wanted to do before I actually wanted to do it. And Mae, knowing me pretty well, must have felt something in my body that signalled to her that I was thinking about stopping, so she stopped!
That was a good reminder for me to stay present, I can tell you!
But if you don’t have a competent Coach on your side when you start getting reminders like that, you might just think your horse was naughty. It happens all the time and I was and am for sure guilty of thinking exactly that many times in my life. Having a third person along to observe what I happening and stepping in at those crucial moments to explain, is worth so much more than you might imagine.
Clear and direct communication
Horses communicate non-verbally, using body language to mirror your leadership behaviour. It’s not what you say but how you say and do it that makes a difference. So when you communicate clearly and directly, you achieve your chosen goal. No masks, no sales strategies – just the very core of who you authentically are.
While that is fascinating for all of us to experience, imagine what that means to a girl with nutrition disorder. Totally focussed on he body, she can’t imagine anyone looking beyond that and seeing any worth in herself. But the horse does! Like client of mine said:”This is the first time, I feel that someone is totally aware of me, just me!”
And then imagine a person who isn’t able to communicate verbally. What an incredible relief to work with a horse that doesn’t need you to speak! It is amazing to see how many kids actually start talking when they feel the pressure is off and someone is willing to take them just as they are.
People in leadership have recognized for a long time, how important it is to be able to receive honest feedback as well as to be able to process such feedback in a constructive way. Numerous exercises and theories are the result and yet – it still is one of the hardest things to do! Getting feedback from a horse on the other hand is so much easier, because we know that their responses aren’t personal. Horses are completely non-judgemental and they let you try again and again until you get it right!
And one more time: That can look very different for each person. For a child with hyperactivity, the host feedback might come in the form of a sudden and unexpected trot because they wiggled their legs too much. For someone with depression it might be realizing what a difference your posture makes when you work with a horse. For a mother it might be the moment where she admits that the horse reacts to her bidding in exactly the same way as her youngest child. What will it be for you?
Having a loyal companion
Horses are just great to be with! Tell them anything, they won’t give you away. They will carry you and they will make you relax. Little girls all over the world run to horses to tell them of their problems, to cuddle them, to feel loved and understood. There is a reason for that and you don’t have to be a little girl to experience it. You just have to try it out!