The Herd Why Horses Riding horses give all the benefits of motor and sensory planning, developing balance, muscle tone, posture and general relaxation. They are herd animals and intuitive beings They respond instinctively; they have the ability to mirror/reflect back to us inconsistent behavior, as well as body language. Through this, we become more aware of what we reflect to the outside world. They are honest They are acutely perceptive, totally honest and have no hidden agendas. They are large and powerful animals They provide a natural opportunity to overcome fears and develop confidence. They have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods. They help us learn to respect personal space and how to adjust to specific temperaments and environments. They like to have fun There is no natural distinction between work and play. What is EQ and how does that apply in a session? Self-awareness The ability to recognize an emotion as it “happens” is the key to your EQ. Developing self-awareness requires tuning in to your true feelings. If you evaluate your emotions, you can manage them. The major elements of self-awareness are: Emotional awareness. Your ability to recognize your own emotions and their effects. Self-confidence. Sureness about your self-worth and capabilities. In a session – you need to be aware of how you are feeling today, because that will influence how your horse will respond to you. Self-regulation You often have little control over when you experience emotions. You can, however, have some say in how long an emotion will last by using a number of techniques to alleviate negative emotions such as anger, anxiety or depression. A few of these techniques include recasting a situation in a more positive light or taking a long walk (riding the horse). Self-regulation involves Self-control. Managing disruptive impulses. Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity. Taking responsibility for your own performance. Handling change with flexibility. Being open to new ideas. In a session – you need to be able to calm yourself, otherwise the horse will become anxious and will not follow your lead. You need to be able to adapt if the session do not work out as planned. MotivationTo motivate yourself for any achievement requires clear goals and a positive attitude. Although you may have a predisposition to either a positive or a negative attitude, you can with effort and practice learn to think more positively. If you catch negative thoughts as they occur, you can reframe them in more positive terms — which will help you achieve your goals. Motivation is made up of: Achievement drive. Your constant striving to improve or to meet a standard of excellence. Aligning with the goals of what is required. Readying yourself to act on opportunities. Pursuing goals persistently despite obstacles and setbacks. In a session – Being faced with challenges, a horse that has its own mind, goals may take longer to reach. One needs to able to keep on pushing forward despite hindrances in a session. Empathy The ability to recognize how people feel is important to success in your life. The more skillful you are at discerning the feelings behind others’ signals the better you can control the signals you send them. Horses communicate with body language and respond acutely to our own. If once can learn from the horse an empathetic person excels at: Service orientation. Anticipating, recognizing and meeting another’s needs. Developing others. Sensing what others need to progress and encourage them in their abilities Understanding others. Discerning the feelings behind the needs and wants of others. In a session – Horses have distinct moods and attitudes and one need to be able to understand that. For example, sometimes a horse might feel unwell or unfit to ride and be okay to go for a walk while leading or just spend time with him where he is at. Social skills The development of good interpersonal skills is tantamount to success in your life. In today’s always-connected world, everyone has immediate access to technical knowledge. Thus, “people skills” are even more important now because you must possess a high EQ to better understand, empathize and negotiate with others in a global economy. Among the most useful skills are: Wielding effective persuasion tactics. Sending clear messages. Inspiring and guiding groups and people. Change catalyst. Initiating or managing change. Conflict management. Understanding, negotiating and resolving disagreements. Building bonds. Nurturing instrumental relationships. Collaboration and cooperation. Working with others toward shared goals. Team capabilities. Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals. In a session – Horses demands a good leader, clear communication, working as a team and building relationships.