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Team Building & Leadership Development: Horses for Courses




Nothing’s as apt in business as “You can LEAD a horse to water,” as the saying goes “but you can’t make it drink”. We may not all be horses, but at some time or other we’ve all been in teams or experienced leaders that inspire such behavior! And probably wondered, bemused, why they don’t just change their behavior to make us want to work for them. After all, motivating people – or horses – can’t be rocket science.

But what can horses themselves tell us about how we should be behaving and leading teams to success in business?

Well the answer is quite a lot! Having experienced horses being used as ‘experiential’ props within team building and leadership development, I can confirm their value and benefit! They are surprisingly representative with their ‘authentic’ behavior of how teams and individuals, when being ‘open’, respond to different leadership styles and team dynamics. Rebellious at times, stubborn when they don’t get their own way, obedient and happy to be led by those in which they have trust, they also are usually less vocal and more forgiving than humans!

For those seeking an alternative to the usual raft building, assault courses or death-defying river crossings, I’d thoroughly recommend such equine team building & leadership development. Less aggressive or adventurous in nature, it’s also likely a more non-threatening setting in which all of the workforce can experience and observe leaders and successful teams in action. And not just the aggressive, competitive sales teams, or the Alpha-male/female types, who naturally thrive on adrenaline!

So, what can horses teach us about teams and leadership?

1. Clarity of vision. Perhaps the biggest single observation is how easy it is for others to follow when it is clear what it is that is wanted or needed for them to achieve. Being charismatic as a leader or business owner is not enough. People – or horses – have a right to know what is needed or expected of them. Make it clear, and even the most skeptical will follow happily!     

2. We follow those we trust! It actually all boils down to trust, at the end of the day! If we trust someone giving us direction, then we will often give in to the experience and the journey! Mistrust or no respect for what they can do, and we’ll probably end up questioning their decisions or worse trying to do our own thing the whole journey. Sound familiar?

3. There’s no right way to lead – or to be led!. Teams come in all shapes and sizes. And so too do leaders! The best teams are those that are cooperative, willing to work together to complement each other’s experiences and skills. The best leaders are those that recognize this, and can adapt to different styles and situations, as each particular team and situation dictates. Be flexible. But more importantly have an open mind!   

So, achieve Your Business Vision – inspire your team!

Just a few words to get you thinking about the value of horses and, of course, team building and leadership development. And a reminder about how important people are in planning and inspiring a business to success. Particularly if as a business owner you have ambitions for an easier life or to achieve more from your team! And after all, isn’t that what we all want!

Comments welcome



(Equine Team Building & Leadership Development: