Working with horses is one of the most direct and rapid ways to building awareness about one’s own energetic presence and leadership style. Horses respond to clarity of direction, honesty and openness. Some of the world’s most successful and revered leaders were also masterful horsemen and women: from Alexander the Great to Joan of Arc to Winston Churchill, we can link outstanding presence with people to outstanding presence with horses. (Further research and discussion of this topic can be found in Linda Kohanov’s The Power of the Herd ©2013)
Whether you are the CEO of a company or in transition seeking a new career opportunity, honing your skills in communicating and listening to feedback is vital to your progress. Horses, without judgment or agenda, can open your eyes to what is working for you and what is not in how you interact with others, approach challenges and strive to achieve goals.
The Institute of HeartMath has studied the physiological changes that occur in the human body simply by entering into the presence of a horse, which often results in feelings of openness and well-being. Horses are very likely to have a “coherent” heart rhythm, which allows them to recover from stressors relatively quickly. The electromagnetic field of the horse’s heart is at least five times larger than our own as human beings, and research shows that physiological benefits while interacting with horses include “lowered blood pressure and heart rate, increased levels of beta-endorphins (neurotransmitters that serve as pain surppressors), decreased stress levels, reduced feelings of anger, hostility, tension and anxiety, improved social functioning; and increased feelings of empowerment, trust, patience and self-efficacy.”
It is in this physiological state that human beings are most able to receive feedback and begin to create changes in behavior. To experience successfully communicating with a horse is a profound way to understand how you can have a stronger, clearer energetic presence with people. Successful leadership requires awareness of one’s own body language, commitment to goals, ability to listen and be responsive, and maintain connection to others as well as one’s own sense of self and purpose. In even the most basic of interactions with horses, they will tell you every time whether you are being authentic and effective, or not.