Can horses help your management team or staff? Absolutely.
vR Equine Assisted Corporate Training is an experiential program offered to corporations and other businesses that wish to improve various skills in their teams. Its program uses team-building exercises with horses and facilitators to develop leadership, communication, personal growth, corporate culture and positive team development.
This type of equine-assisted training is not riding, but involves setting up ground activities involving the horses, which in turn requires the team to apply certain skills.
Located in Sykesville, vR Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Center, which held its official ribbon-cutting on May 30, uses the EAGALA model. Founded in 1999, the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) is the leading international nonprofit association for professionals using equine (horse) therapy to address mental health and human development needs.
Why Use Horses?
Equine-assisted human training programs provides the one thing other experiential programs do not: the opportunity to interact with a living, breathing, reacting, rather large creature, which creates an environment of constantly changing and evolving experiences.
Horses are responsive beings. They have an awareness of, and sensitivity to, their surroundings, and have as many individual personalities, physical abilities and limitations as the humans they are working with.
Horses don’t care about a person’s position, status or title. They are acutely perceptive, completely honest and have no hidden agendas. They can very accurately sense a person’s level of trust, confidence, awareness and interpersonal skills. Most of all, horses give immediate and honest feedback, which can show people what they need to change in order to achieve a partnership for goal accomplishment.
The Team-Building Exercise
The retreats are custom-designed to meet the company’s specific goals. Real-world challenges occurring in the business may be addressed, or the workshop may simply focus on giving the business team a fun and different training experience.
Participants will be asked to participate in activities with the horses on the ground. No previous experience with horses is required. The exercises are designed to elicit natural responses and patterns of behavior from the business team members.
The facilitators will ask questions of the participants while observing them in action. Because horses will “mirror” the behaviors of those around them, the participants will be given immediate, honest feedback.
Some of the behavioral areas addressed include team building, identifying and attaining team goals, recognizing and adapting to the personality traits of oneself and others, team member effectiveness and gaining personal insight.
According to research, providing information through lecture, reading and/or audiovisual methods results in up to 20% of the information being retained past 24 hours. However, training that involves discussion, active participation and immediate use of the learning results in a retention rate of up to 90% beyond 24 hours. When the individual is mentally as well as physically engaged in an activity, the learning becomes a fun experience that has a greater potential of forming those traits that are the core of successful businesses and organizations.
vR Equine Assisted Corporate Training techniques include demonstration, observation, practice by doing, participants teaching one another and group discussion. They can help business team members find and develop the hidden strengths within themselves and their organization and develop resiliency in the face of change, increasing both staff productivity and investment.
Full and half-day retreats for eight to 10 people are offered. A catered lunch option for the full-day retreat is offered for an additional cost.
An in-office assessment to determine the goals for the retreat will be held, and post-retreat written reports and recommendations are provided.