The Power of Horse Wisdom
Animals feel our energy and provide value, clear feedback. So I want to ask you - how would you like to tap into that resource and go to the next level - personally or professionally? The stories below are from clients* and from my own experiences, they will help you see the power of horse wisdom. The vice president of a local company hesitantly entered the round pen with a young Arabian horse. It was his first ever horse interaction. He didn’t come to learn about horses, he came to learn about himself and he had the support of two coaches – me and a young horse named June. He had received feedback that he micromanages tasks, which ultimately disempowers his staff. His intention that day was to gain a deeper insight into his communication style.I asked him, “What would you like to do with the horse today?”
“I’d like to make her move a bit. Perhaps even run a little,” the man responded.
“Okay. Go ahead.”
The man had been given little instruction and only one tool, a coiled long line that was to be used as an extension of his energy, but was not to touch June. With vim and vigor he asked her to move by energetically waving the coil. As June began to trot, the man dropped his energy and stopped. The horse stopped and looked at him.
“Were you ready for her to stop?” he was asked.
“Why do you think she stopped?”
“I guess I stopped pushing her.”
“How did you feel when she was moving?”
“It was great!”
“Let’s try again. But this time ask the horse to go all the way around the pen once”.
The client started again with the same vim and vigor, but this time kept running and waving the coiling until his breathing was heavy and the horse had broken from a trot to the faster pace of cantering. Before he knew it, they had gone twice around.
“How was that?”
“That was amazing.”
“How do you feel?”
“I’m exhausted. I ran as hard as she did.”
“Where else does this happen? Where are you working hard at creating movement?”
The man pondered the question and responded “Sometimes I feel like I have to be really loud and work hard to keep projects moving. I use all my energy because I’m afraid my staff person won’t keep the project moving if I don't push.”
“Would you like to use this opportunity to play with dropping your energy to see how subtle you can be and still maintain forward movement with the horse?”
The man nodded and then asked the horse to move. She began trotting at a nice pace. The client played with lowering his energy and still maintaining that pace. Soon the client was simply standing in the middle of the round pen, gently and rhythmically sending subtle energy. Both he and the horse were calm, and in a state of easeful movement. “This feels so much better. And it’s still fun!”
Horses are valuable partners in the pursuits of leadership and personal growth because they don’t approach relationships with agendas, judgments or perceived ideas of how things should be - they just provide authentic feedback in the moment. As human coach, my role is to facilitate you to transfer that feedback into your life and work.
Another time, a woman came for a coaching session looking exhausted, deflated and slightly beaten down. She was uncertain what she wanted to work on, but she talked about failed relationships. I asked her intention with the horse and she said she wanted to create a connection with him. As horses do, Sniper mirrored her demeanor beautifully. He planted his feet firmly, lowered his head and paid her no mind. The more she focused on Sniper, pushing and pushing for connection, the more he resisted. She even began verbally pleading with him to pay attention to her. I asked her if there is any place else in her life where she is pushing and pushing and only coming up against resistance. She sighed a big sigh and talked about failed relationships.
I asked her to stand in the middle of the round pen, close her eyes and focus on nothing but the beating of her heart. As she did this, her shoulders relaxed and she began breathing deeply. Slowly Sniper turned his head toward her and began walking into the middle of the round pen positioning himself right behind her. Unaware of Sniper while she completely focused on feeling her beating heart and tending to her own relaxation and breathing, Sniper continued to move closer. I gently asked her if she could feel Sniper’s breath on her back and she nodded. I asked her to stay in touch with whatever peace she is feeling and slowly begin to walk. As she walked, Sniper followed her, deeply connected, his nose to her shoulder. As she turned he turned. As she stopped he stopped. When she resumed, he resumed.
When asked how she shows up in relationships she talked about all the effort and focus she puts on the other person and their needs until she is angry, resentful and feeling depleted herself. I asked her how this connection with Sniper felt and through her tears she said, “Amazing”.
Through the coaching she began to see how she could create greater connection by caring for herself and her own needs first. Together we developed some action steps for her to put her insights into practice. As I watched her leave the ranch that day, I could barely believe the transformation in her demeanor.
Is there some place in your life or your work where you could benefit from some non-judgmental feedback? Do you desire the experience of playing with a horse in a round pen? Have you never had a positive experience with a horse and are curious about that connection? Or are you an avid horseperson, but interested in experiencing an entirely new way of connecting?
If any of these are true for you, you are invited to join me and my colleague, Kasia Roether and a community of like-minded people on Saturday, September 12 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. for The Power of the Horse, an Equus coaching day.
In the morning you will participate in your own one-to-one round pen session with a horse. Following a healthy lunch, you will participate in group activities where you will explore communication with humans and with horses.
The day will be held in Arroyo Grande, California at the beautiful Living Oak Ranch. Enrollment is limited so early registration is recommended. All activities are done on the ground and there is no riding component to this program.
Here are a few insights from past participants:
“The leadership challenge I’ve been working on for a year was revealed and resolved in 15 minutes in the round pen with a horse.” -John K. “I’ve always longed an experience with a horse. Beth and Kasia created a save space for me to be with the horses in ways I never imagined. Fears immediately disappeared. I learned so much about self love and what I deny myself. Thank you.” “The team work with the three horses was HUGE for me. I felt supported by my team, and they understood this was scary for me. I learned that it is okay to show vulnerability. I don’t always have to be strong.” ~Team Member from California Mid State Fair To learn more, click here.
We’d love to have you join us.
Beth and Kasia
P.S. Don’t worry about lack of horse experience or too much horse experience – you are perfect just as you are!
*All stories used with clients permission