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What Horses Can Teach Us About Communication, Leadership, and Life

What Horses Can Teach Us About Communication, Leadership, and Life

Horses, running free and unencumbered across an open prairie, fill us with feelings of awe, wonderment and pride in our western heritage. I wonder, is it stirring some deep primordial memory about the relationship of humans and horses over the millennia or are we just appreciating the beauty of such a spectacle? Maybe both, but who can tell?

The history of horses and humans

In ancient times, our partnership with horses enabled us to explore and conquer new territory. As we evolved, the horse helped us with farming, transportation, and shipping, allowing us to become more “civilized,” which in turn led to our diversification and growth as a society. In today’s world, horses are again partners with us, teaching us how to behave better as humans, showing us ways that our “thinking mind” is not all it is cracked up to be!

In the last half century, our newfound leisure time has afforded us the luxury of investigating a new collaboration between humans and horses, one of education and personal growth. This educational opportunity emerged as horse owners and trainers began to accept horses as conscious beings capable of thought, emotion, and communication. We have realized that herd behavior and horse psychology could be a doorway for understanding human consciousness, by providing us glimpses of ourselves through the eyes of horses. Horses are different, and yet not so different in some very important ways, especially in leadership and collaboration.

Leadership in a new key

“Learning to become a leader, in the eyes of a horse, is a true accomplishment. You become aware of who you are, and how you are being,” says one participant, “Horses can teach us amazing things if we take the time to listen to what they have to say.”

In a wild horse herd, there is one horse that leads. Those unfamiliar with horses often think it is the stallion that’s in charge. In reality, the stallion’s job is to chase off the weaker males so a strong and healthy DNA is passed on in the bloodline of the offspring. The leader of the herd is actually a mare, a female horse. She is the leader that all of the horses look to, to know when it is safe to drink water, to eat or to run when a predator is nearby. This mare is able to lead because she has been accepted by all of the other horses as the most qualified to do so. She does not lead by coercion, manipulation, or force. She commands respect because of her knowledge, experience, and ability. You could say that she is the embodiment of those qualities that other horses instinctively strive to be. Through this same “rule,” the pecking order of the herd is established and every horse becomes a leader to the horses below it in the hierarchy, all the way down to the last horse in the herd

Horses in the wild

In nature, leadership among horses is essential, without it, they would not survive. Similarly, in our society, we look to our leaders for safety and survival. We seek out those individuals who are the embodiment of the best qualities that are human. From horses we learn that true leadership is borne out of being the best we can be, with the abilities and talents that we have. As adults we all experience being leaders in some area of our life, whether we realize it or not. We may be leader to our children or the people we supervise or just as an example in the grocery store, when we assist someone who needs help with too many bags to handle. We may be leaders in one arena and a follower in another. Even the most singular leaders are often following the ideals of someone, incorporating what they learn into their own vision and values.

Blue River Horse Center

Jovianne Schubinger had this to say after experiencing a team-building and leadership class at Blue River Horse Center: “Learning about leadership by working with horses and learning about how our brain works had a big impact on me. Leadership is about the energy that you bring to people. From this I learned to be a better leader. If you approach people with happiness they will probably cooperate better. It was a really good day. I learned much about leadership and how your mental state can affect your life.”

John Longhill continues a long and storied history of humans and horses at Blue Tree Ranch north of Silverthorne, by providing life-changing experiences with horses that help participants be more successful as human beings. These transformational workshops with horses help individuals discover unconscious thought patterns while empowering them to set new directions in business and life.

About John D. Longhill:

John Longhill and Right Brain Success® offer business and non-profit mentoring services to businesses and individuals. Initial consultations are free to determine if a mutually beneficial environment exists. Fees are easily offset by the savings realized by resetting priorities, increasing motivation, and clarifying your purpose.

Phone consultations are available to adults/youth that include 3-45 minute mentoring sessions to assess where a person is, in relation to where they want to be, and developing a winning strategy.

(970) 389-8496 or

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2018-03-16T02:11:02+00:00 By |