Canter Banter

The Gifts of the Horse - Day 2

Posted by Jake McLaren on Oct 5, 2017 7:54:48 AM

In the first day of the workshop we covered a lot of awareness related topic. The body scan is important for identifying the symptoms of an emotion we may be experiencing. Once armed with this information we can address the symptoms and ask ourselves some key questions to help get those emotions under control and prevent an intensification of that emotion (See The Message Behind the Emotion). 

The second day of the workshop we discussed emotional intelligence and how we can use the intelligence provided by our emotions to manage them. Managing these emotions became critical once we stepped into the round pen with our equine partner, it is said that a horse can feel out heart beat, our breathe and even the magnetic energy our bodies give off. How Often have you sat next to an uneasy person and found yourself becoming uneasy as well. We absorb the emotions and energy of those around us, it only makes sense that other people will absorb our energy the same way.

heart energy


Turning up the dial

In the afternoon session we had the opportunity to turn up the dial and really crack the whip. This is not a metaphor, the afternoons assignment had us embrace our positive energy and transfer that to the Horse we were assigned to work with without losing control of the situation. Any dominant leader can walk into a room and bark orders, unfortunately this type of energy actually drains our team and sparks mutany or revolt. Mature dominant and mature leaders have the ability to turn up the energy in a positive way and cause their team to accomplish goals rather than checkout. An immature dominant or predator needs to be careful that turning up the intensity doesn’t incite panic in their team.

This was a particularly revealing exercise for me, coming into the workshop I had the idea that I would have no problem motivating whichever horse I was assigned to work with (meet Fragile). Fragile was belligerent, stubborn and more interested in rolling around on her back than doing anything I had asked. “come on Jake, crack that whip!” “show Fragile who's the boss!” even-though my fellow participants were not saying it, these were the words I was screaming to myself. I couldn’t do it, I left the round pen defeated. This exercise completely dismantled everything I thought I new a out my leadership abilities, I went home at the end of day two with a lot to think about.

Becoming a Master Herder




After reviewing the characteristics and challenges of each of the five roles of leadership outlined in Linda Kohonavs book The Power of the Herd. I came to the conclusion that these are not vertically aligned roles of leadership, the do not act independently of each other, but rather they were cyclical. With some overlapping characteristics that lead to a logical progression into the next role. Where I felt I was a strong blend between the dominant and leader roles, my actions revealed I was an immature dominant and predator looking to cull myself from uncomfortable situations.

Topics: Five Roles of Leadership, Five roles of a Master Herder, Leadership, Gifts of the Horse

Welcome to Canter Banter

A place of discussion and learning for all those interested in Equine Facilitated Learning

At Lodestone Leadership we take leadership training out of the lecture hall and into the arena. Step into the round pen with your 3000lb training partner, and witness first hand how your emotions and body language impact those around you.  

The Five Roles of Leadership

  • Dominant

  • Nurturer/Companion

  • Leader

  • Sentinel

  • Predator

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