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Equine Gestalt Coaching Method

We are excited to begin offering Equine Gestalt Method Workshops at Running W Ranch Spring 2020.  We have partnered with certified coach Evelyn Jones.  

What is Equine Gestalt Coaching?

As found on the Touched by a Horse website, EGC is "a type of coaching that helps clients bring to their awareness emotional blockages and unfinished business that may be holding them back in their lives."  

EGC is a great tool to use in group settings, primarily in building cohesion in teams that work together.  Have a new board for your organization and want to jump-start communication?  

When it comes to kicking your leadership up a notch, there’s nothing quite like a power session with horses.  Horses do not judge us, they do not lie, and the feedback is honest and immediate.

In our team building workshop, we use formerly wild mustangs.  These horses are extremely intelligent, sensitive and willing.  They are looking for a leader, and you carry that potential.


Coming to a workshop at Running W Ranch, you will grow communication skills and empathy toward your teammates as you work with our horses and staff.  The best part of it all?  You will also be able to experience the beauty that surrounds us here in North Idaho.  Downtown Coeur d’Alene and surrounding areas draw visitors to our area from all over the world.  Go to the bottom of the page to see some of our top picks for ways to enjoy your stay in addition to the workshop.

Leadership Development with Horses: Discover how horses transform your ability to lead and work together.


By their nature, horses seek out confident and trustworthy leaders.  Horses have a special ability to provide you with a dramatic view of how your leadership skills and team work measure up.  Over time, many of us learn to hide feelings and filter reactions in the work place, especially from leaders.  A horse, however, will hold up a mirror to your leadership style in ways you simply won’t get from your team or your peers.  Too forceful of a personality and the horse will leave, too weak of a personality and the horse will take advantage.


Horses understand what leaders often forget: every interaction is a conversation.


In the process of speaking or writing, we sense each other.  We make sense of what we see, hear, and feel through the physiology and wisdom of our bodies.  Horses live like this and interact with each other every day – paying full attention to the real conversation behind every interaction.


When leaders and teams work together with horses to accomplish something, it’s actual, expressed skills practice.  We go beyond concepts to what you actually need to do to become a more credible and trustworthy leader.  We look at the actions and behaviors that produce outcomes not just with horses, but with people, too – because what it takes to influence a horse is astonishingly similar to what it takes to influence people.  This is considered experiential learning.


What is Equine Assisted Learning (EAL)?

EAL is a cutting-edge experiential form of learning that uses the unique abilities of horses and their natural herd dynamics to take leaders and teams to the next level.


  • This is not horseback riding and the focus is not on developing horsemanship skills.  Participants interact with horses through structured activities.  No horse experience is necessary and those with horse experience are equally challenged because “this is not about the horse.”

  • Experiential, goal-oriented activities are utilized to target beliefs, habits, and behavioral responses. These are examined during activity processing so participants can gain greater personal insight about themselves and how they interact as a group to accomplish goals.

  • During workshops, an environment of non-judgment and self-acceptance is created.  There’s no right or wrong way of doing the activities.  Rather, it’s about the experience and each person / team accomplishing goals in their own way.  This is the pillar of our program.

  • Our facilitators help participants bring this direct experience, immediate feedback, and metaphorical learning together to maximize change and learning.


As prey animals, equines instinctively have a keen awareness of and sensitivity to their surroundings.  Their heightened recognition of, and ability to interpret the body language and emotions of other beings not only makes them successful herd animals but enables them to be powerful messengers that mirror back their direct experience of us humans.  And, they do so without the judgment or biases typically associated with human beings.  They can’t be bullied into partnership and they are never too polite to tell you how they really feel!  They give immediate, honest feedback about our interpersonal skills and how clear, confident, aware, congruent and trustworthy we are.

Just like us, they have complex social dynamics that utilize teamwork, cooperation and loyalty.  Horses show participants what effective leadership and teamwork is, and what it is not.  The interaction with horses and the direct and honest feedback they provide moves participants outside of their comfort zone and reduces defensiveness so that new learning and change can occur.



Why choose experiential learning?


Experiential learning is any learning that supports participants in applying their knowledge and conceptual understanding to real-world problems or authentic situations where the teacher facilitates learning.


Our experiential training session ensures effective skill development that is fun and memorable, and will deliver the results you are looking for.  Horses are particularly effective at delivering professional development through leadership training.  Horses are a prey animal who learn to adapt so that they can survive in the herd.


They demand skills and attributes such as confident leadership, powerful decision making skills from moment to moment, trust, respect, support, and an acute awareness of what is going on around them within the herd and their broader environment.  For instance, horses in the wild graze most of the day, if they since anything threatening, they are on alert, determining if they need to flee or go back to grazing.


Following the example of herd dynamics, participants are taught to recognize the parallels between what the horse is teaching them, and how this relates to their personal and professional life.



Types of Outcomes:

A common but very important question for potential clients is:

“What specific outcomes would you like to see at the end of the day?”

Based on the answer, we can choose the activities that target these outcomes.

The more specific the outcome, the better.  Some examples are:

  • Lead others with earned authority, rather than a formal title or position.

  • Gain greater awareness of your communication strengths and gaps.

  • Discover how your nonverbal messages influence the way.

  • Align your intent with body language that supports – rather than sabotages – your message.

Knowledge is memorized, experience is gained, but skills teach us to use the knowledge and experience! Through our interactive team building and corporate development workshop, we give your employees the skills they need to help your company grow.  By investing in your future leaders, your company can reap the rewards! 

The three main attributes of a successful employee are knowledge, skills and experience.


What Happens at a Workshop?

A typical workshop involves ground activities with the horse that provides opportunities for leadership development and/or team building.  Our team facilitators help participants explore their interactions with the horses and the comparison for use in the workplace.


Do We Need to Know About Horses?

No, all participants work with the horses doing ground work, no riding.  The focus is on human skills, not horse skills.  Working with horses helps us explore partnership, communication, and creating results, all while having fun along the way.



Clients are responsible for all travel expenses.  We have recommended a few hotels in our area for reference.



Market concept to Corporations, Businesses, Professionals via Facebook, Website and Flyers

Book 4 – 8 employees

Monday 4:00 – 7:00pm – Registration, meet and greet, dinner provided

Tuesday 9:00 to 5:00 – lunch included (breaks and snacks provided)

Wednesday 9:00 to 1:00pm

April thru November (or can go all year long)

2 to 3 groups per month



Team building skills

Leadership rolls

Problem solving

Working together as a group

Learn to have empathy for others

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