Look for the Little Things at HorseTalk and in Life

The first HorseTalk of 2021 is just two weeks away! On one hand my whole life prepares me for each session. On the other hand, I always want to be as current and prepared as possible.

Sometimes I prepare by watching past video. When I showed horses I could watch video of the same horse show, the same class, over and over and over again. The outcome never changed – when I won, I won no matter how many times I re-watched the class. When I screwed up, I made that mistake over and over every time I re-watched the class.

In watching past video I was struck by how small, small changes can affect a 1,000 or a 2,000 pound horse. The important lesson is how the smallest vocal, verbal or visual can affect a change in the workplace.

One of the favorite seemingly little things learned in the Round Pen at HorseTalk is to make sure where your hip bones are facing. When your hip bones stop facing the rear portion of the horse, the horse will stop or disengage. It’s not the horse’s fault.  In the workplace, how often do we face our computer while talking to the human at our office door? Or face our smartphone while the waiter or waitress is taking our order.

Horses have two ears and each ear can be doing a different thing, you want the ear closest to you to be paying attention to you, not the bunny in the pasture. When you are facilitating a meeting, in person or on zoom, don’t you want to look for signs that the attendees are paying attention?

When a horse puts their head down, they are acknowledging that you are leader. How do team members acknowledge that you are leader?

The term for a horse learning to be ridden by a human, used to be “to be broken or breaking a horse”. Do you want an animal or a person to be broken? Now the term is “starting a horse”. This means you are starting the journey of a horse being saddled and ridden by a human.

An open hand with a horse will be taken as go faster. A closed hand will say go slower or stop. If a horse is sensitive to small cues, don’t you think your team members are too?

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