” I do not know what it is «
« I know that but I do not see how it affects my ways of doing »
« I’ve done it once, why again”
These are the 3 most common questions posed by coaches, professionals, & executives when I speak of the results that we produce through Equine Guided Education. Otherwise known as learning with horses.
Before answering each one, let me ask you a question:
How do you grow your human side?
By human side I mean your presence, your mindfulness, your congruence and authenticity. Perhaps you regularly attend yoga, meditation or Chi-gong sessions. Alone or in groups. Maybe you’re a fan of cycling, climbing or walking, combining the exploration of the outside to exploration of your inner world. Maybe you’re just too tired, too often, to indulge in a regular activity (which in itself – doing nothing – can be a great way to live the present moment).
But there is one thing lacking in all the activities mentioned above. The smell of a farm after a rain shower on warm day is one thing ….. but there is much more than that.
Welcome to the team
As the yoga mat keeps the imprint of your posture, the soil of an equestrian center retains the winding course of your steps. It is a working environment, with galloping partners on all fours in an office space comprised of wooden fences and a high, wide roof to shield us from the weather.
But it is also a classroom. A place where living beings on two and fours legs combine to add more.
What is EGE?
As a professional, you have to operate in all kinds of contexts, often in an environment (under the influence of a system) where stress is constantly set to high. The system and its components have an impact on others. What is your dynamic. How do others feel in your presence. How do you feel. Do the reactions you get match the intentions you send?
Consistency. Coherence. It is vital to give my environment the right messages. A message that I understand, or better yet, that I know clearly what I want.
In this process of learning EGE, a living, independent and reactive partner living at your disposal. The horse is very sensitive, able to detect a change, discomfort, inconsistency before it. They have the ability to join us in exploring unknown territory. His survival instinct, social and hierarchical dynamic become a learning partner that leads us to surpass limitations of attention and awareness.
A client discovery
This reminds me of a participant who wanted to explore notions and boundaries of leadership during our workshop. The client was convinced she did not have any natural authority : a big issue for someone just appointed to lead a team of skilled peers.
We partnered her with a bright and imposing 12 year old Andalusian called Fresco. Over the course of a morning, in tandem with exercises, she began to notice something previously unseen by her (but evidently seen in her). Fresco the veteran was willing to listen, remain beside her and ready to follow. No fear (otherwise he would flee). No pushing from impatience. No drifting away owing to indifference.
Fresco sensed a leader worthy of adjusting the rhythm of his steps for. Revealed to our client, it was unequivocal clarity that far from empty posturing, she possessed authentic influence. Reality intruded on her old story, revealing a new and better truth.
You cannot stay inside your mind. You have to get involved.
When you meditate, there is no witness. In the stable there are many experts’ eyes fixed on you. They watch you, scrutinizing your movement and intent inside the space you occupy. This is where development happens. In the relationship between you and the horse, motivating you to go beyond your existing ability to build effective relationships and quality of presence. You observe you in your dynamic, and you have what you don’t see reflected back (like it or not)
What professionals have to win from EGE
More coherence. Awareness through movement. Somatic education is the name. The fine art and rigorous science of the interrelationship of consciousness with biological functioning and the environment. This brings into alignment your body with the head, emotion and even spirit. More consistency, more often.
Done it. Why repeat the experience more than once?
We are alive and evolving, just like the environment in which you operate. We change, our ability to understand and interpret situations, even familiar repetitive ones, also moves. As dynamic beings our moods vary with as our perceptions. Bringing those back to the stable a second, third or fourth time sparks new discoveries. Clients report that each exploration brings them closer to who they really are (which is itself evolving).
Becoming more human by contact with animals.
The horses we speak with have a language that we can not predict . We can not anticipate the answer to our questioner as we do so often in our daily life. This truly puts us in a position of observer, the ones listening, looking for any movement, the tiniest sign. But asking why does he move his tail in all directions, or why does he bend his left ear when I do this thing isn’t the important part.
What matters is your attention to non-verbal language and what that quality of attention generates for you, in you . This places attention inwards. listening out for our own feelings, giving attention to what is happening inside. Sometimes a position of vulnerability caused by so many both coinciding.
This proximity to our senses, this intimacy with emotion and clarity of a reaction, puts us firmly back in touch with the human in us.
The observation capacity is vital.
The horses do not manipulate the moment, they do not adjust their reactions according to a scholarly cause and effect calculation. They are honest, without malice, transparent and direct. They base their (re) actions only on what they see and feel in the moment.
Their interpretation must be as fair as possible. Their life depends on it.
Moments of truth. Do they matter enough to you?