WHAT do we do?
Equine-assisted learning refers to the use of exercises with horses which can help people develop personal and interpersonal skills.
The exercises are done from the ground, without riding the horse, and they might or might not include the use of obstacles (poles or cones on the ground) or tools (ropes, long whips). They can involve one or more people and horses depending on the objectives of the session.
A typical equine-assisted learning exercise would be for the participant to try and get the horse to move around an arena without using a lead rope – in other words, the horse is free to go where he chooses, and the participant needs to try to persuade him to move in a certain direction. The facilitator will provide guidance and support, usually by asking coaching-type questions to get the participant to understand how his or her inner state is affecting the horse’s behaviour.
At the Krasker Training Consultancy we use equine-assisted learning exercises in workshops to help people develop their emotional intelligence. The exercises with the horses are supplemented with input and discussions related to emotional intelligence. As well as theory, we provide practical tools that participants can try out with the horses and then apply after the workshop.
Emotional intelligence is about our ability to understand and manage our own emotions, and understand and respond to the emotions of others.
Doing exercises with horses forces you to reflect on the non-verbal signals you are giving out, including those which come from your emotions, and pay attention to how the horse is responding to those signals. Being forced to analyse their non-verbal behaviour makes people aware, sometimes for the first time, of what they are really feeling inside – and unconsciously communicating to others.
Emotional intelligence is used in a huge range of personal and social situations. We offer a range of workshops to cover topics like:
- Inspirational communication (using empathy, focus and passion to inspire others);
- Different management styles and when/how to use them to best effect;
- Lead/follow behaviour, and the underlying skills and competences;
- Conflict resolution;
- Assertiveness and self-confidence;
- Dealing with ambiguity;
- Collaborating with others.
We can run these workshops as is, or customise them to meet your needs. Or we can create a workshop specially for you and/or your team or peer group, addressing an aspect of emotional intelligence which is of particular importance for you.
HOW do we do it?
We design and run workshops for individuals, groups or teams. Small groups (4 or 5 people) allow more time for individual work with the horses, and more flexibility in the reflection and feedback process – however, with appropriate resources, groups of up to 30 can benefit from an equine-assisted learning workshop or development programme.
Workshops can be a minimum of half a day for small groups or individuals, or up to a full day for larger groups. The time is divided between working in the arena with the horses and classroom work (setting up, debriefing, providing concepts and tools, giving feedback, action planning to ensure solid links with participants’ professional and/or personal context).
We offer a range of formats for our workshops to suit every need.
The basic workshop includes:
- exercises with horses – you carry out tasks with the horse, while the facilitator uses a coaching approach to raise your awareness of what’s going on;
- feedback – from the horse, from yourself, from the facilitator, from other participants….;
- presentation and discussion of theories, concepts, tools and techniques to help you fit the experience with the horses into a framework and allow you to apply the learning to other contexts;
- individual reflection and action planning.
According to your needs and the time and resources available to you, we can add pre- and post-workshop observations and one-to-one coaching sessions to discuss individual needs and objectives and to help you apply the learning to your specific context or a situation you’re facing.
We can integrate a workshop or workshops into an existing development programme that you and your colleagues are already participating in, working with other learning and development specialists to make sure the workshop builds on other input and exercises; or we can build a new development programme for you including workshops with the horses as well as classroom workshops, other experiential learning activities and one-to-one support as needed.