Back of Beyond Equine Centre

How does becoming a leader to your horse affect other parts of your life?


How are the skills you must develop to attain leadership in a horse-human relationship transferable into leadership in human relationships?

There are many skills that transfer into leadership in human relationships, which can be developed and practiced while attaining leadership in a horse-human relationship.  A good leader has several of the following qualities – all of which can be developed while working with a horse!


Good communication skills: Horses communicate with humans and with each other primarily by using a complex combination of body shapes. As humans begin to understand a horse’s body language and communicate with them using theirs, they develop an awareness of body language in all their relationships. Since body language comprises at least 80% of our communication, this is a useful leadership skill.

Self-confidence: Working with horses develops self-confidence by increasing self-esteem, developing the ability to be assertive (not aggressive), and producing emotional stability. Horses respond very quickly to emotions (highly developed in most prey animals) and mirror the emotions of the humans around them. As humans work with horses they learn to identify their own emotions and gain control over them. Self-confident leaders are able to project their own emotional stability onto others and make good decisions.

Empathetic Listeners: When working with horses, humans need to seek first to develop empathy and understand this prey animal that thinks very differently from our human predatory nature.

Consistency: Good leaders of horses are clear and consistent. Horses are very confused by inconsistency and are always looking for a consistent leader.

Non-judgmental honesty: Horses are very non-judgmental teachers. They do not care about material things like what you are wearing or who your friends are, and they give their trust and respect based on who the human really is inside.

Courageous: Working with a horse demands that humans conquer their fear of a much larger, faster and initially unpredictable animal.

The ability to inspire co-operation: Connecting and collaborating with a horse teaches us how to encourage co-operation from other beings in general.

Using your intuition: Horses, as prey animals, have a highly developed intuitive sense. When humans spend time connecting with horses they also develop their intuitive skills.

Creativity: Trying to figure out and work with horses – a creature so different from humans – develops our creativity, ingenuity and imagination.

Calm: Horses respond best to humans who can remain calm when under pressure. Horses choose a leader for their herd who does not waste unnecessary energy and is always aware, alert and who can quickly and calmly lead the group to safety.