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Leadership and Horses

Why use horses to teach leadership?

Horses are big animals. They weigh 1,000-2,000 pounds. But they are prey animals; they ultimately will look to humans for guidance and to tell them what to do. Horses, thus, are imposing beings, but are a relatively safe being through which to learn.

Horses, by nature, look to care for their humans, who they know care for them. Horses can be well trained to allow even the smallest of humans lead them. Even in the word, leadership grows out of "leading" a horse around as the big animal looks to the tiny human for guidance.

In addition, horses can teach assertiveness--for example, as a horse dives for grass or hay, a human can assert his or her self and pull back, to prevent that behavior. But if a human is timid or shy, they won't impose on the horse and make it happen.

These skills become metaphors for life. Just as we develop the confidence to lead a 1,200 pound animal around, we develop the confidence to lead in our own societies. Just as we let a horse know it is not okay to eat at that moment or that we are turning in a particular direction, we let other people know our needs and wants. Horses are sensitive beings that have much to teach, if only we stop and listen.

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