I spent an afternoon with Emma and Sevy during the maelstrom before Christmas in 2018 as part of an exercise to experience the process and assess its suitability for my own executive clients in their quest to develop their leadership potential; I also used it as part of my own ongoing professional development.
Interestingly there are many equine metaphors used in the business environment - taking the reins, harnessing human potential, blinkered to the competition, being at the starting gate, cracking the whip, carrot and stick, you can take a horse to water but you can’t make him drink!!!!!!!!
From a personal perspective, I operate in a vortex of setting out to achieve too much, pushing myself and others to complete everything; being critical of myself and others for non completion, dissatisfied with non achievements and unable to celebrate the considerable positive achievements. I am still learning to give myself and others space and time and pleasure.
Emma did not task me with any expected outcomes but outlined the process and made sure I was safe. The environment and her ability to be calm and assured creates a safe and non threatening atmosphere in which to work with this very big beast!
In this situation I wasn’t the expert, I wasn’t training him or responsible for delivering an outcome; I wasn’t his source of food or protection nor his companion or pack leader; I was just there to respond to him. I couldn’t make him come to me, he had to feel trust in me to relate to me as he chose. I was rewarded with his sweet smell, his soft muzzle and warm breath. We were connected and that connection of and in itself was powerful and affirming. I had to go at the horse’s pace in his space and enjoyed beautifully tender intimate and precious moments with a very sensitive previously traumatised stallion called Sevy.
It was a visceral moment and a timely reminder to me personally to be patient and give people space to come to their own conclusions and respect their needs and feelings. At the end of the day there are very few situations so time critical that I cannot afford that modicum of respect.
It also resonated with me in the context of a leader/follower relationship. In an organisational context people bring to us their life, their time, their emotion, their energy to create something together, whatever the deliverable, product or service. Being confident, knowing yourself and your limitations and being prepared to work at creating meaningful and mutually respectful connections as leaders is fundamental to our own success and the success of others.
Emma just encouraged me to reflect on my own experience at the end of the session, and to set my own goal and follow up in a timely manner to aid further reflections.
I would recommend the experience and encourage you to approach it with an open mind and heart.
Thank you Sevy.