• Medicine Horse Ranch, POB 224, Tomales, CA 94971
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Leadership Demands Trust

Questions about leadership are swirling around the collective consciousness these days. One important question has been raised very eloquently by fellow horsewoman, Kelly Wendorf.  She asks in her latest newsletter, “What oracle can save leadership from its extinction?” https://mailchi.mp/equussantafe/leadership-its-not-what-you-think-it-is?e=5683412894

For starters, leadership depends on trust. As it so happens, trust begins with self-trust and the ability to recognize clarity of signals. When was the last time you received a clear yes or a clear no to a question you’ve posed? Looking around at our most public leaders, it’s easy to see why there is such deep confusion.

Wendorf and I agree about where we are likely to find an example of real leadership worthy of emulation. We both believe that horses are our saving grace.  Wendorf writes, “It just so happens that the oldest, most successful leadership system today is the horse herd.” https://mailchi.mp/equussantafe/leadership-its-not-what-you-think-it-is?e=5683412894

Historically Horses And Humans Worked Together

And it’s true. The planet has been here for roughly 55 million years and of all the thousands of species of animals in existence, there are only 17 or so we humans have been able to domesticate. Horses are one of the most amazing.

Less than 150 years ago, horses were present in our lives on a daily basis. People rode horses to school. Horses carried our groceries from town, they hauled wagons of potatoes from the farms to the trains or ferries.  Like the human, horse at its nature is born for service and thrives when it is contributing the best parts of who they are in the right environment.  They, like we humans, develop quirky behavior when they are isolated, shunned, overly confined- or when they are mismatched to a job they don’t have the ability to do.

Five Pillars Of Leadership

Why have horses thrived? Primarily because of their leadership culture.

As Wendorf points out, “Besides the basic survival needs of food, shelter and water, the herd is organized around five core pillars: safety, connection, peace, joy, and freedom. The leader, therefore, is chosen based on his or her ability to maintain these five pillars within the herd system, in care of the whole.” https://mailchi.mp/equussantafe/leadership-its-not-what-you-think-it-is?e=5683412894

You may wonder how exactly does a lead horse govern and keep those five pillars intact? It’s an important question which Wendorf answers as follows: “Through two superpowers: care and presence.”  Care is defined as a genuine desire to attend to the needs of others. It is a form of unconditional love paired with responsibility.  Presence is the ability to be acutely aware moment to moment. Without presence “care can be inaccurate or ill-timed. Without care, presence can remain abstract.” https://mailchi.mp/equussantafe/leadership-its-not-what-you-think-it-is?e=5683412894

Develop Leadership Based On The Most Successful Model

If we had a directive to choose our leaders based on their abilities to provide safety, connection, peace, joy and freedom, imagine how different things would look! Unfortunately this is not the case. However, your business can begin to develop leadership programs based on the most successful equine leadership system. Our team at Medicine Horse Ranch designs custom equine-guided experiential programs for specific groups, individuals, businesses and organizations around any number of relevant issues and/or topics.