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We are doing research at Systems Analysis Laboratory at Aalto University of Helsinki. The main purpose of our on going work is to understand more deeply the impact mechanism of equine-assisted leadership and corporate training. The paper, now in the process, offers an integrative conceptual framework of equine assisted coaching and provides conceptual meta-understanding to the key practices found useful.
The theoretical assumption behind our practical work is that equine assisted therapy and learning yields significant and methodical reinforcement developing the bodily and emotional sensibilities required in human communication.
During summer and autumn 2016 we have been facilitating Leadership trainings with horses in Loppi, Finland. Now our data consist around 50 hour videos, Systems Intelligence self-evaluation test and interviews of participants.
Our approach is rooted both in practical wisdom and solid scientific foundation. Reinforcing multilayered intelligence forms the basis of the fruitful work we do. As a theoretical background we use mainly Systems Intelligence approach and integratively psychotherapy and infant research. Systems Intelligence is a constructive force that combines human sensitivity and active doing. The whole shapes the person, and the person, for their part, shapes the whole – often intuitively, instinctively and subconsciously.
Working with the horses is based on EKD Horsemanship, a method developed by Esa Korhonen Dimitroff. EKD Horsemanship is concerned with both human and equine wellbeing and entails gradually deepening horsemanship skills on the ground, on horseback and in the mind. In addition to SoulTeam’s corporate training, Esa also organises courses that focus solely on horsemanship.
No prior experience with horses is required for participants. Even though we have noticed that the training have been impressive also for those experienced equine enthusiast, who have participated.
The training consists of a mix of exercises and observations that involve both humans and horses. We use the natural roles of the herd of horses to help to illustrate and practice the elements needed. Several horses are involved in the training and their different personalities offer a rich reflective surface.
Our findings are very promising. Video material clarifies beautifully how through moment-to-moment communication with horses shifts our mindset from talking and analysing to living, experiencing and doing. The human-equine dyad provides for the participants a context to experience beingness, connectedness and psychological safety in a relationship. ”Doing what works” becomes instantly apparent whether we are talking about a defined goal, success in general, nourishing attitude, novel solutions, attuned assertiveness, right timing or nature of feedback. Through attuned moment-to-moment communication and syncronized rhythm between the human and the horse co-created systemic dance and nonverbal exchange carries potentially deeply healing possibilities for human. It seems clear to us that the benefits can be extended further by reflective practices and insights are transferable to other systems of one’s life with beneficial outcomes.
Our work continues and we start two new groups on February and March 2017. Are you interested? Read further in Finnish…
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