Herd Wisdom for Teams
Including horses as part of experiential learning activities is an especially powerful method of developing teamwork, problem solving, goal-setting, leadership, communication, relationship building, and self-awareness. Horses naturally work as a team – where everyone matters, and cooperation and harmony are preferable to conflict and confrontation.
Horses will reflect the dynamic of the team: they cooperate with a cohesive team, and disengage when the team is confused, in conflict, or lacks focus and clarity.
Teams are encouraged to use creative strategies to problem solve and negotiate with the horses. As metaphors, horses become the ‘client’ or the ‘current challenge’ and respond to participants’ behaviours – including thoughts, intentions and feelings. Because horses are energetic mirrors, they actually take on the qualities and behaviours of the participants.
The facilitators observe how the horses respond to the participants, and how they interact with one another. Upon completion of each activity, all participants return to a central location and a discussion is facilitated on what the participants saw, heard, felt and learned through the experience and how they can apply this new information to their professional and team development goals. Facilitators share their observations of the horses to further participants’ learning and insights. This in-the-moment learning is experienced by the mind body and all the senses, and can lead to immediate, sustainable, and beneficial change.
Follow up debriefs – the following day or weeks, provide deeper insights as participants continue to process their experience.
“…you have an incredible set up there and we all got so much out of the day. Again, quite unexpected results and insights, and all so very useful and relevant to our jobs and lives in general.
I cannot think of a better way for any group to bond than to spend a half day working with the horses. It really did help us see things differently and we are definitely stronger for it. It works. The day exceeded my already high expectations. We will be coming back…sooner rather than later.”
~ Ivana Moretti, WorleyParsons oooOooo “We arrived as a group of individuals just kicking the sand, and we are leaving as a team.” ~ participant, ExxonMobil