How horses are helping humans improve their communication style.
Horses evolved fifty five million years ago. Horses are elegantly beautiful by design powerful and intelligent herd animals.
How We Operate In The World
The equine experience enables humans to discover both the conscious and unconscious patterns of learned behavior. It promotes self-awareness by showing us how we operate in the world and the impact on those around us.
I was completely burnout to the point I was lucky to find the energy to get out of bed. After a lot of research, I booked a trip to the glorious Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat situated in Tallebudgera Valley on the Gold Coast in Queensland.
The ‘Strange’ Experience
This is where I discovered my communication style via a strange experience called the ‘Equine Experience’. Early in the morning on a stunningly beautiful day we headed to the arena. There were twenty men and women working with our handler, Sue Spence from Horses Helping Humans, Australia.
The horse mirrored our behavior and emotions perfectly and seamlessly. I was patiently waiting and watching each person make their way into the arena. My turn finally arrived, I was second last.
Dancing In The Arena
I calmly walked into the arena. Sue gave me instructions to lead the horse using specific hand gestures. As Sue was talking I was looking at the horse straight in the eyes. The more Sue talked the more determined I was to make this horse do what I wanted it to do. Even more so with an entire crowd watching my every move.
It all started off beautifully, with the horse obeying every instruction. As we danced around the arena, I felt serene and radiant. The sun on my face dancing side-by-side with this beautiful creature.
Then, I instructed the horse to canter which went according to plan. A few laps around I noticed the horse started moving at a more rapid pace. As we continued running around the arena, Sue was instructing me to slow the horse down again. The horse came to a grinding halt before raising his hind legs in the air not far from my head.
Wisdom From A Magnificent Horse
Horses are straightforward communicators who excel in mirroring and matching our behavior. Unlike many humans, horses make it crystal clear when you cross a boundary. They have an uncanny ability to discern our emotions and duly respond.
The horse responds in accordance with the way you approach it. For example: If you are calm, the horse will be. Likewise, if you display anger the horse in turn becomes stubborn.
Generally speaking, Sue informs us that people are most like one of the 4 distinct personality types:
Loyal, authoritative, protective. Help others feel safe.
Thoughtful deep thinkers, empathetic, sincerity and care for others.
Enthusiastic, vivacious, easily bored, impulsive, motivates others.
Sense of humor, highly organized, attention to detail, acts as a mediator.
Astonishing Physical And Mental Benefits
An equine experience has astonishing benefits on both an emotional and physical level. Research demonstrates this type of experience offers health benefits including: lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduced anxiety and depression.
Emotional benefits comprise of successful emotional management, improved decision making and problem solving abilities, development of empathy, heightened self-awareness as well as the ability to interpret body language.
As Sue Spence quotes: “Non-verbal communication sends the strongest messages, not only in the equine world but also amongst humans”.
Without a doubt, this experience allowed me to develop a much stronger bond and affection for horses. It was highly advantage to learn simple methods that would improve my communication and enhance my relationships with loved ones, colleagues and clients alike.
I would highly recommend this experience to you as a way to uncover new insights, to further develop your leadership skills and significantly improve your health, business and personal relationships.
This article was first published in Inc.com