Learning About Yourself With Ponies-Horse Heard and Lead Change

What this pony doesn´t know about management…

Not being experienced with horses, Evan Burgess never thought his next management teachers could be called Fluffy and Rusty…
Horse Heard and Lead Change are two concerns with the same staff. The different hats the staff put on both focus on building effective communication, but with different audiences in mind. Horse Heard is a social enterprise that helps among others people who come under the NEET classification (not in education, employment or training), and people who show clear talent, but are economically deprived. Lead Change has helped develop or refine communication and leadership in some very large companies, such as Motorola. All whilst using an equine helper!

Teamwork could make guiding a pony easier or harder…
Ponies are said to be a mirror of your own emotions. With a heightened sense of their environment, a pony can often sense the mood and feelings of a person. In fact, recently there has been a drive to recognise horses as a sentient being. This is because they seem to have the most socially orientated brain in the animal kingdom. By communicating successfully with a horse, one can develop their own sense of awareness.

We ventured down to Highworth for the express purpose of navigating an obstacle course with some lovely ponies, without any harness to guide them. It was our intention and ability to build a connection with the animals that would direct them alone. What could this tell us about our communication skills in general? Though this could be seen as a rather abstract concept, it was rather practical in understanding how we relate to the outside world through a fresh medium.

Not an average office.

As I guided my “teacher”, a small pony called Rusty with my voice and intentions alone, I realised when things didn’t work out, it wasn’t just because the pony was being disobedient. I hadn’t shown enough clarity in my actions to make the pony keep interest and follow. Though Rusty looked rather harmless, as he tried to steal my iPhone and shoulder barge me out the way, I realised how much I had to get him onside if I wanted to go through the maze of obstacles with him. Even with reigns I couldn’t have directed him if he didn’t want to come.

It was a fascinating challenge, and I can see how it can help people in such diverse circumstances. To find out more about these enterprises, see below.

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