The Healing Power of Horses: How Horses Taught Me Important Leadership Lessons

As the founder & CEO of Random Acts of Green, I know how important it is to keep my leadership skills in tune.

It can be tough being a woman in business – especially with a business that is purpose driven!

Sometimes you doubt yourself and your abilities to execute on certain ideas.

Oftentimes, I find myself thinking I am not good enough – or I sell myself short.

I forget to celebrate my accomplishments and give myself credit for how far I have come. I even get thrown off my keel when unexpected things happen in my personal life – which can hinder my motivation to achieve my business goals.

But!!

For anyone who knows me, I am an individual who is continuously looking for ways to improve myself. I am an optimist and I want to learn about ways to sharpen my leadership skills!

For this reason, I attended the Meaningful Connections – — Resilient Leadership for Today’s Workspace Leadership retreat hosted by The Mane Intent and Adaptimist Insights on April 24 & 25.

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The Mane Intent is located at 2410 Cameron Line in Indian River east of Peterborough.

Owner of The Mane Intent, Jennifer Garland  shared with me that horses are wonderful natural coaches because they respond to and react to our way of being in the moment. The relationship with the horse is a genuine relationship that gives us the opportunity to examine ourselves and to cultivate or change our way of being in relationships.

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ManeIntent

 

Jennifer also shared that working in relationship with horses can help people overcome fear and develop confidence that can be translated directly into real-world situations and our professional lives.

Learning through guided experiences with horses can help you discover your untapped potential and can reveal suppressed emotions – some that you might not even know you have.

I’ve always known that nature is good for our overall health and well-being- –for instance, studies have found that getting outside can make us appreciate nature and be more willing to protect our environment. Connecting with a 1,500 lb animal was DEFINITELY new to me!!

At first, I was a bit skeptical about this.

I knew I would get a lot of value from this experience but little did I know just how much!

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My first exercise was to lead a beautiful horse, Maggie, around an obstacle course in the arena  – all by myself!!!!! – with NO training  – in front of a group.

I was “handed the reins” and was invited to connect with the horse by using my leadership skills to guide the horse around the course.

I thought this would be simple….

It wasn’t.

I missed the first few obstacles on the course.

I panicked.

I felt like I’d failed – and immediately the horse Maggie picked up on it!

She gave me a hard time walking around the arena – and I couldn’t figure out how to get her to move – she froze.

I tried giving her more lead, backing away, stroking her, calling her name, tugging her lightly, but nothing seemed to work.

Embarrassed, tears filled my eyes that I couldn’t get the horse to go around the arena.

Jennifer gently assisted me and let me know that I had to be confident, believe in myself and my abilities. Maggie needed to know that she could trust my leadership.

If Maggie sensed I didn’t believe in myself, then she just wasn’t going to budge or follow!

I deliberately changed my attitude, after three long breaths and a pause.

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Almost instantly, I was able to connect with Maggie by being more assertive – and believing that we could finish our task to get around the arena.

I was amazed at how quickly she listened. I felt empowered!

This was a wonderful experience for me – and a lesson to trust yourself, your abilities, and the decisions you make – and to remain calm in the face of adversity and resistance.

I was surprised that the experience brought tears to my eyes!!

Crying is NOT (I repeat NOT!) something that I am really comfortable doing in front of others – but I was happy to complete the exercise.  It gave me a new sense of appreciation for being vulnerable in front of others, while finding strength within myself.

It is amazing how wildlife interactions can move us to tears while creating connection with the environment around us.

We share this planet with many species.

Some of them understand us as human beings more than we know.

They share a deep connection with us – and they are important to protect.

My experience at The Mane Intent was touching – and therapeutic. It invited me to look inwards.

It really surprised me – it was an experience of teaching and reflection.

It reignited my passion to continue to lead with confidence – and to remember the reasons that connecting with both wildlife, nature, and our environment is so important for our well-being!

The crew at The Mane Intent was gentle, supportive, and understanding. The leadership retreat featured many exercises that really inspired me to be a better leader and I left with a number of practical tools to support the creation of healthy and meaningful relationships at work.

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I’d highly recommend checking it out!

I am grateful for this experience and am excited to continue my journey to inspire green behaviour and a healthier planet. Thank you to the horse Maggie for being a wonderful teacher and thank you Jennifer and Geoff Crane of Adaptimist Insights for the opportunity to grow my leadership capabilities!

ManeIntent

 

 

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