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Experiential Learning with Horses


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  • Tuesday, June 07, 2011 5:36 PM | Anonymous
    By Kim Shook, Cofounder of Bella Terra Equine Adventure (bellaterrainc.org)

    I saw Simon Sinek (author of the 2010 book "Start with Why - How Great Leaders Inspire Action") speak at a recent leadership conference and he was the stand out speaker of the day.
    Simon Sinek started out with the goal of explaining why certain marketing campaigns are more successful than others.  What he ended up discovering is why we connect with certain things (and people) and not so much with others.  We connect when we share common values and beliefs - this seems so obvious but so often we have difficulty applying this concept.
    Simon Sinek inspired me to evaluate my beliefs and values to better understand why I connect the way I do.  This examination helped me to understand myself better and realign my personal goals.
    Here is a great 18 minute video of the main concepts of his book:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4
    If you find the video intriguing or even inspiring, then definitely I recommend his book to you.
  • Tuesday, June 07, 2011 1:17 PM | Anonymous

    By Kim Shook, Cofounder of Bella Terra Equine Adventure (bellaterrainc.org)

    E3A offers a teleclass and a 2-day training program with horses for you to explore your strengths, the strengths based philosophy, and utilize the StrengthsFinder assessment tool in your E3 programs. Join us to see your own strengths in action and learn how to facilitate strengths-based team development programs with horses to aid in facilitating with a positive focus and enable a shift in team culture.

    Here is an overview from Gallop about using strengths to accelerate performance within an organization:  http://www.gallup.com/consulting/61/Strengths-Development.aspx

    Gallup research shows that strengths development interventions can produce increases in employee engagement that in turn lead to improved business outcomes in areas including retention, productivity, profitability, and customer retention

  • Tuesday, June 07, 2011 12:58 PM | Anonymous

    By Kim Shook, Cofounder of Bella Terra Equine Adventure (bellaterrainc.org)

    Whether you do or you don't, this Inc. article provides insight into what makes an entrepreneur tick, providing great perspectives for the next time you facilitate an entrepreneur during an E3 program.  Extend the information to StrengthsFinder and what it means for an entrepreneurial culture that permeates an organization:  http://www.inc.com/magazine/20110201/how-great-entrepreneurs-think.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialmedia&utm_campaign=button&usrid=undefined

  • Wednesday, May 25, 2011 1:31 PM | Anonymous
    By Kim Shook, Cofounder of Bella Terra Equine Adventure (bellaterrainc.org)

    We all know about the great teachers that horses can be, but what about dogs?  Read this cute blog to learn about how we can learn from dogs to be better people:  http://salesbarista.blogspot.com/2011/05/barktitude.html
  • Tuesday, May 24, 2011 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    By Larry Bramblett, Founding Member of E3A

    I am Larry Bramblett, one of the founding members of E3A. I bring a lifelong love of horses and a thirty year career in education. I have been a teacher, principal and superintendent. During those years horses were my recreation, refuge and teacher. I have helped develop the curriculum and training specifically designed for teachers with a focus on providing inspired results for the participants. As teachers, we hope you will help us through your comments to build an even better program.

    I’ve always been suspicious of certification courses leading….nowhere. It seems that many of the current certifications in the equine experiential field consist of level after level of course work providing beautifully scripted diplomas suitable for framing and placed neatly below the picture of your favorite horse. I’ve always been more interested in how I could put a certification to work, that is, if I found the content compelling for myself, how could I share my learning with my students and peers?

    E3A is an organization that provides training to the corporate, educational, coaching and personal development fields using the horse as teacher. The education certification track specifically targets educators and special education teachers who are interested in providing workshops for their peers, and those seeking innovative curricular content that motivates students and alternative methods to successful classroom management. Certified E3A candidates are provided with an organizational plan and practicum that will enable them to promote this training in their classrooms, schools and districts as an addition to current staff development and continuing education programs.

    The E3A Educational Certification is rigorous and rewarding. Horse experience is welcomed but not required. Non- ‘horse people’, will help you to connect with local equine operations fully equipped to help you succeed.
    The goal of E3A, through the mirror of horses, is to inspire you, not just for a day or a week or a year. E3A can help you become an inspirational leader both in your classroom and in the field of equine experiential education.
    We welcome your advice, comments and suggestions. Check our "Upcoming Schedule" to sign up for our next teleclass about the E3A Education Certification Program or contact us for more information. 

  • Tuesday, May 17, 2011 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    By Dr. Linda Pucci, Inner Resource Center LLC (innerresourcecenter.com)

    I’ve been practicing in the equine assisted psychotherapy field for the past 5 years and as a therapist for almost 30. I’ve found experiential work with clients and horses to be astounding in terms of its power and ability to bring about significant change in a short period of time.

    At the same time, I’ve noticed that there are limitations to the equine assisted psychotherapy approach in other contexts. As I’ve moved into providing more coaching and work in business settings, I’ve discovered that corporate teams don’t want to delve deeply into their feelings. They want to increase their ability to work as a team in order to increase productivity and customer service. They have a limited tolerance for the sort of frustration we invite in an equine assisted psychotherapy session.

    It has become clear to me that a “one size fits all” approach to equine experiential work isn’t practical or particularly effective when working outside the context of psychotherapy.

    Business clients bring totally different expectations to the arena. It behooves (no pun intended) the equine experiential practitioner to speak their language and address their needs. They haven’t come for psychotherapy or deep emotional work. Typically, they come to increase their effectiveness in the work place. While their approach in the business world may be affected by patterns of behavior and personal issues, their major concern is how they can function better at work.

    Clients referred by educational institutions also require a different approach. Whether they are “at risk” children or a leadership group, they haven’t come to the arena for therapy. In fact, we’ve found that many school systems are leery about any appearance that an intervention is therapy. Can they benefit from equine experiential work? Absolutely! But in the context of school sponsored programs, delving into the morass of psychological and emotional issues is not only unnecessary, it is uncalled for.

    In both contexts, it really comes down to the definition of the types of services you are providing, the needs that are specific to that context, and what your goals are. In our experience, businesses and schools aren’t signing up for psychotherapy–with horses or without.

    Being able to address the specific needs and goals requires different language and a different approach to equine experiential work. That’s why we’ve been really excited about the philosophy and approach of the Equine Experiential Education Association (E3A). (See http://www.e3assoc.org/)

    My partner and I find the E3A’s approach to equine experiential work fits the contexts of business and educational institutions much better than a model which requires a psychotherapy team. The E3A model offers a different style of facilitation in equine experiential sessions, but one that isn’t limited to emotional issues.

    We recognize that equine assisted psychotherapy (as an approach different than therapeutic riding) really helped to put all equine experiential work “on the map,” and made an incredibly important contribution to the field. And, we like the idea of the profession expanding further, and moving into contexts outside the mental health realm. We suspect that there are many people out there who recognize what the horses can offer, and are looking for a way to carry equine experiential activities forward in their communities. We think that E3A shows the promise of becoming a professional organization that can make that happen.

    Linda Pucci, Ph.D. is a psychologist, life coach and trainer at Inner Resource Center, LLC in Maryville, TN, http://www.innerresourcecenter.com/. Her equine experiential businesses, Resources With Horses, and Business Resources With Horses provide training and workshops geared toward personal and professional growth.
  • Tuesday, May 10, 2011 10:20 AM | Anonymous

    By Dr. Linda Pucci, Inner Resource Center LLC (innerresourcecenter.com)

    Those of us who have been facilitating workshops and programs with horses can attest how powerful these 1000 pound co-facilitators are at crystallizing learning. We’ve seen the “aha’s” and how the learning lasts over time.

    After years of practicing equine assisted learning from a psychotherapy model, I’m really excited about the launch of the Equine Experiential Education AssociationundefinedE3A, which is an organization that focuses on equine experiential work specifically for corporate, educational, and coaching settings. Those of us who have been practicing in those fields know that the mental health model doesn’t always translate well into a business, educational, or even personal growth workshop setting.

    The new organization brings with it a whole new model for the facilitation of training and education with horses and invites participation in this growing field by including a wide variety of trainers, educators, and coaches.

    The E3A facilitation model incorporates facilitators who have professional experience in the areas of professional education, corporate training, coaching, or experiential education skills. Facilitators use interpretation of the behavior of the horses to reflect on the behavior of the humans both in the arena and in other areas related to the training.

    The E3A facilitation model uses a team approach that enables facilitators to work effectively with client groups. Both facilitators in the team are encouraged to have a working knowledge that includes experiential facilitation and equine behavior as well as knowledge about their area of focus (training, education, or coaching). Rather than have facilitation and equine management fall separately to different members of the team, each person acquires the requisite facilitation skills and knowledge of equine behavior to work very effectively together. Training programs offered by the association allow team members to enhance their roles by acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills for both facilitation and equine psychology.

    One reason I’m excited is because the E3A model provides a clear structure and plan for developing experiential education and training programs. Assessment, goal setting, and follow-up evaluation is part of any training or educational program in the E3A model. Experiential activities are selected to best achieve the personal and/or professional goals of the client while remaining open to the collaboration of the horses in this process.

    The experiential activities with horses are framed from a corporate training, coaching or educational perspective and are geared to facilitate development while maintaining appropriate boundaries on personal issues and information. This model invites change within a structured container of professional facilitation skills that allows interpretation of immediate equine reactions.

    I think this approach offers great promise to those of us who want to work with businesses and educational programs with horses, and who want a straight-forward, structured, highly professional approach to doing this work. Check it out for yourself at
    www.E3Assoc.org .

    Linda Pucci, Ph.D. is a psychologist, life coach and trainer at Inner Resource Center, LLC in Maryville, TN, http://www.innerresourcecenter.com/. Her equine experiential businesses, Resources With Horses, and Business Resources With Horses provide training and workshops geared toward personal and professional growth.
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