Canter Banter

The Gifts of the Horse - Day 3

Posted by Jake McLaren on Oct 19, 2017 5:18:00 PM

Time to put what I learned about myself into action.

On the third day of the workshop, The gifts of the Horse, we finally had the opportunity to evaluate what we had discovered about our leadership characteristics from day-one and day-two. Armed with this new information about our emotions and how to interpret them we were faced with our largest challenge yet. Before I get into the details of the final challenge the 3rd day of the workshop dished up some other useful tidbits.

Spoiler alert, if you plan on attending the next workshop, stop reading here and go register now.

As we begin the process of ending the workshop, our focus shifted inward. After a review of the Five Roles of Leadership (by Linda Kohanov) including the values, challenges, and characteristics each role exhibits. Next came our silent lunch. A period of time where we were around other people, but remained silent and reflective. This exercise was effective in allowing us to digest all of this information before stepping into the area one last time with the horses.

Observing the community

In preparation for the final challenge we spent time observing the horses in individually, as a pair, and as a threesome. Watching for the shift in leadership roles between the horses as they explored the play area the was set up (The only way to describe this is like an easter egg hunt with senior citizens) The horses were eager to find the treats laid out for them, but cautious and deliberate in their approach. As another horse entered the play area you would see personality shifts, energy shifts, and a clear distinction between the horses in the Five Roles of Leadership.

My shining moment

This was it, the culmination of my three-day journey of self discovery. Sounds dramatic? it was. Coming into the workshop I thought I new exactly who I was as a leader, how I communicated, and what strengths and weaknesses I possessed. If you read the Day 1 recap - you know I was challenged by Acorn in a stale-mate. In Day 2 Fragile proved to me that she was not "fragile" at all, and I was not the "dominant" force I thought I was. So now in day 3, was I going to step up my game and accomplish my goals? My partner for the third exercise, meet Mysteria. We had a goal, I wanted to:

  1. Lead her to as many of the hidden treats as possible
  2. Hold her interest
  3. Prevent her from getting distracted and off task
  4. Allow her to feel comfortable enough to work on her own

If you have been waiting for the office dynamic, there it is. These goals parallel many goals in any job I have had. Inside the arena, with Mysteria, I did my best to use each role to accomplish a task, when it came down to it I also reached into my bag of tricks and pulled out the sixth role "The Bribe" coaxing her with a carrot was the only way to get her over the big blue tarp.

Final thoughts

I learned from the horses that my energy and emotions impacts those around me. I came away from Lodestone Leadership with a better understanding of who I am, and what I need to focus on if I am going to become a more complete leader. Being a more complete leader means that I will be able to work better with a larger variety of personalities. With less likely-hood of revolt or disengagement. I am more open to collaborative leadership and working with others to accomplish our goals, rather than dictating things according to my own agenda.

Register for The Gifts of the Horse workshop

Topics: Five Roles of Leadership, Five roles of a Master Herder, 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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