Horses evolved fifty five million years ago. Horses are elegantly beautiful by design powerful and intelligent herd animals.

They have the capacity to steal our hearts with their thundering hoofs, strong stature, and gentle ways. They are our best friends, our healers, and helpers.

How We Operate In The World

The equine experience enables humans to discover both the conscious and unconscious patterns of learned behavior. It promotes self-awareness by showing us how we operate in the world and the impact on those around us.

I was blessed to experience this first hand. It was the end of the year and it had been a challenging one given significant changes on all fronts: from my relationship, career and family situation. Under normal circumstances, I could be considered exceptionally effervescent with ridiculously high levels of energy. This particular year however was a different story. 

I was completely burnout to the point I was lucky to find the energy to get out of bed.  After a lot of research, I booked a trip to the glorious Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat situated in Tallebudgera Valley on the Gold Coast in Queensland. 

The 'Strange' Experience 

This is where I discovered my communication style via a strange experience called the 'Equine Experience'. Early in the morning on a stunningly beautiful day we headed to the arena. There were twenty men and women working with our handler, Sue Spence from Horses Helping Humans, Australia.

Sue introduced herself and gave the group an overview of how the day would unfold. One by one we entered the arena. The reactions from the horse were absolutely fascinating and incredibly accurate. After each person had a turn of leading the horse, they were given a debrief on their communication style which ranged from bored, quiet, overly confident, pushy and depressed.

The horse mirrored our behavior and emotions perfectly and seamlessly. I was patiently waiting and watching each person make their way into the arena. My turn finally arrived, I was second last. 

Dancing In The Arena

I calmly walked into the arena. Sue gave me instructions to lead the horse using specific hand gestures. As Sue was talking I was looking at the horse straight in the eyes. The more Sue talked the more determined I was to make this horse do what I wanted it to do. Even more so with an entire crowd watching my every move.

It all started off beautifully, with the horse obeying every instruction. As we danced around the arena, I felt serene and radiant. The sun on my face dancing side-by-side with this beautiful creature. 

Then, I instructed the horse to canter which went according to plan. A few laps around I noticed the horse started moving at a more rapid pace. As we continued running around the arena, Sue was instructing me to slow the horse down again. The horse came to a grinding halt before raising his hind legs in the air not far from my head.

To my surprise, I stood there in amazement without any fear whatsoever. I was bolted to the spot, all I could do was stare up at the horse with everyone looking on. 

Wisdom From A Magnificent Horse 

Horses are straightforward communicators who excel in mirroring and matching our behavior. Unlike many humans, horses make it crystal clear when you cross a boundary. They have an uncanny ability to discern our emotions and duly respond.

The horse responds in accordance with the way you approach it. For example: If you are calm, the horse will be. Likewise, if you display anger the horse in turn becomes stubborn.

Generally speaking, Sue informs us that people are most like one of the  4 distinct personality types:

1. Choleric

Loyal, authoritative, protective. Help others feel safe.

2. Melancholy

Thoughtful deep thinkers, empathetic, sincerity and care for others.

3. Sanguine

Enthusiastic, vivacious, easily bored, impulsive, motivates others.

4. Phlegmatic

Sense of humor, highly organized, attention to detail, acts as a mediator.

My communication style is Sanguine. Somewhere between dancing around the arena and the horse raising it's hind legs, I got lost in the moment, the horse resisted my instructions resultant of my intensity due to my fierce determination.

Astonishing Physical And Mental Benefits 

An equine experience has astonishing  benefits on both an emotional and physical level. Research demonstrates this type of experience offers health benefits including: lower blood pressure and heart rate, reduced anxiety and depression. 

Emotional benefits comprise of successful emotional management, improved decision making and problem solving abilities, development of empathy, heightened self-awareness as well as the ability to interpret body language.

As Sue Spence quotes: "Non-verbal communication sends the strongest messages, not only in the equine world but also amongst humans".

Without a doubt, this experience allowed me to develop a much stronger bond and affection for horses. It was highly advantage to learn simple methods that would improve my communication and enhance my relationships with loved ones, colleagues and clients alike.

I would highly recommend this experience to you as a way to uncover new insights, to further develop your leadership skills and significantly improve your health, business and personal relationships.