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  • Writer's picturelaviadelcavallo

Leading in awareness

Horses help us become better leaders: in our personal, family and professional lives.

Let's see how. More and more articles and books show how horses can help humans in personal development or more therapeutic areas (autistic children, kids with ADHD, bullying issues, rehabilitation after long term illnesses, to name a few).

However, some specific programs of coaching with horses, bring out the leader in everyone. Leadership skills are essential in all areas of life and can be developed by traditional and non-traditional methods: conscious leadership, mindfulness, corporate or family dynamics, systemic coaching, just to mention some of the ways that can help us to "own" our leadership roles.

It is all about being completely present in order to take the "right" decisions, build relationships, create a vision for the future, empower team or family members or manage and implement change.

When interacting with horses we need to balance the mind (rational thinking and judgment), the heart (the feelings) and the Hara (the abdomen, in Japanese tradition it is the core of our being, the source of intuition, among other things). In leadership it is the same: only by applying a correct balance of the three we can lead effectively.

Balancing mind, heart and the Hara

In today's world, when we have to deal for example with strategy mapping in our organisation or managing complexity in our families and the constant flow and overload of information, we tend to live in our heads most of the time, rarely relying on heart and intuition. Under pressure we can respond by engaging even more in our heads, or chose the opposite side of the spectrum and go into fully emotional responses. Interacting with horses shows us how to connect mind, heart and Hara, how to keep them connected and how to awaken the "right" response because we are fully present in the here and now and fully aware of what is going on inside and outside ourselves.

Horses mirror our behaviour and offer immediate feedback. They teach us how to remain grounded, present, sharply vigilant when necessary, focused and still in relationship. Keeping the connection and expressing and achieving our objectives and intentions require heart, mind and Hara to be in alignment. I often see how the horse just freezes and stands totally still when the balance among heart, mind and intuition is lost : this means confusion to the horse.

By becoming aware and adjusting the balance, we learn how to move forward, because the horse will move forward. It takes time to practice, to be aware and adjust. We go through misunderstanding, frustration, vulnerability, empowerment, inspiration, connection, and deep joy and elation. The moment when we really connect with a horse, we feel the difference and it fills us with profound understanding and finally immense joy and peace. Interacting with horses shows what is possible in human relationships when we are fully present and congruent. It shows us what being in a relationship truly means.

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