Equine Assisted Coaching
My Life with Horses
My life with horses began with huge trepidation when I was placed on a very round bay pony at the age of four – Mousey. She seemed enormous and I felt like I had absolutely no influence or control over her. It was no time at all though before we got a connection going and my lifelong passion for horses began.
I went on to become a horse owner and amateur competitor and consider myself extremely lucky to have found a true passion which goes way beyond just being a hobby.
During my lifetime with horses, I have particularly appreciated the endless learning I gain from being with them. Not only the riding and stable management skills but other things that I learn from the way they cause me to self-reflect such as self-awareness, accountability, patience, kindness, communication, connection, courage and perseverance.
There are many ways to work with horses. At a young age, I became aware of a certain discomfort I had with the training I was getting in which the goals of the rider were paramount to the needs and emotions of the horse. In later years I grew to understand that there are indeed ways to partner with the horse which allowed respect and consideration
When I discovered Equine Assisted Coaching, I was delighted that I now had the opportunity to bring my passion for coaching, development and horses together. This led me to the USA for training with Pamela Kachelmeier at the Equine Assisted Coaching Association.
It’s helpful to know a little about the nature of horses in order to understand how Equine Assisted Coaching works.
As prey animals, horses rely almost entirely on their ability to be alert to what is going on around them at any given time in order to protect themselves. This is why their senses are far more powerful than our own and that, combined with an acute ability to be fully present, enables them to instantly assess their environment and other beings in any given moment and react accordingly.
Horses don’t seek to flatter our egos. They give honest, immediate feedback through their reaction to our authentic selves beyond any masks we may be presenting. In this space of non-judgement and honesty, we tend to be more accepting of their feedback than we might be of feedback from humans.
Like us, horses are social beings who enjoy living in herds and connecting with other beings. They are friendly, patient, forgiving and have a great sense of fun.
It has long been recognised that this combination of characteristics makes horses great partners in therapeutic work and it is through this work that it has become apparent that horses are also great partners in coaching.
How does coaching with horses work
All of my equine assisted coaching work is non-ridden and requires no prior knowledge of horses.
We undertake simple activities with the horses, working with their presence and nature as an accelerant to learning and exploration of challenges.
Leveraging their well-developed sensing and assessing capabilities, horses respond to our energy and intention helping us to tap into higher levels of consciousness, increase our self-awareness and learn more about how we react to the challenges in our lives in a very inviting, easily accessible and memorable way.
The body language of the horse provides us with information which enables us to reconnect with ourselves, explore our emotions, and to think about the strategies we are using at work and beyond. By experiencing this, we are more able to find ways forward that
This form of coaching can be used for one to one as well as team coaching. It often appeals to individuals and teams who have explored more traditional forms of development and are looking for new, less linear and more transformational ways of learning.
The work is carried out at appropriate locations to suit client needs, with carefully selected horses. I work closely with each horse management team to ensure the welfare of the horses and only undertake ethical horse activities which are respectful and often developmental for the horses. I use my corporate coaching and leadership programme facilitation experience to create the best conditions for learning.
Sessions run for a minimum of half a day. This intervention can usefully form part of a wider programme of coaching, team or leadership development.
Team and leadership coaching is conducted in Partnership with Orchard House Partners at their beautiful estate in Monmouth.
“A very special experience. Having the horse reflect back and amplify what was going on for me internally was quite remarkable and brought some of my old patterns into stark relief. Lisa is a wonderful coach and did a wonderful job of holding the three-way relationship between me the horse and her with clarity, compassion and insight. I’d thoroughly recommend the experience.”