Horses have been helping workers in non-equestrian industries to improve their management skills.

Equine trainer and H&H blogger Jason Webb worked with performance psychologist Charlie Unwin, senior consultant at Lane4, to host an equine assisted leadership day last month (20 October).

32 employees from international insurance company Jardine Lloyd Thompson met at Jason’s Kent-base and carried out in-hand work with horses.

“It was striking how their personalities and management styles are reflected in the way they handled the horses,” Jason told H&H.

“They mostly had no background with horses — no one was confident. But we saw a great improvement by the end of the session.”

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The group was split into two and carried out simple assault courses with eight horses.

Jason explained that participants became more aware of their leadership styles by the way they handled the horses. Most began with very limited equestrian skills.

“Some were more or less running away from them to start with,” he said. “But they soon began to work with the horses and thinking about their body language.

“Others were quite forceful and relentless and the horses ended up becoming increasingly unwilling and harder to move. They began to realise that their teams could be more productive if they gave people time in order to reflect, consider and learn — just like they had to do to get the horses to do what they wanted them to.

“When you are under a lot of pressure you can forget to give people time to figure things out.

“It was quite an impactful day and we got really positive feedback.”