Horses are mirrors that reflect back our inner emotional truth. Connection is fundamental for building a relation between horse and man based on trust.
The feeling of connection arises from a sense of inclusion, being part of a team. We are being included when we feel included.
The horse teach us a Native American concept: balanced leadership. A crowd with a leader is a herd; without one it’s a mob. Horses need a leader. They seek four qualities in their leader: command, control, compassion, communication.
First a leader has to look like a leader. A leader, horse or human, transmits an aura of authority in his or her bearing. Body language can tell you if an individual is accustomed to a position of command.
A leader has not only to be ‘in control’ but also ‘under control’. Good leaders don’t lose their cool. They make good decisions, even in pressured situations. They exert control over those under their command. When conditions are demanding and dangerous, leaders are able to mobilize their charges so they respond even when panicked.
Compassion is also an essential ingredient of good leadership. No leader will stay in charge for long unless he or she can demonstrate that the good of the herd is the highest priority.
Even if we think of bravery as a human quality, horses value it too. Leaders need to show they can empathize, sense the needs of those they lead. Leaders can be ambitious but the best leaders are ambitious for all to succeed, prosper and be at peace.
The fourth vital quality of good leadership is effective communication. A successful leader uses clear cues and clear signals to communicate. It is vital that a leader make his of her wishes know and that every member of a group knows what is expected in response to these requests.
Learning is the acquisition of a new skill, teaching is the facilitation of the process.
We should learn from horses in order to enter in deep connection with them.