Many of these blogs I wrote some time ago and appeared on my old website. Please ignore the date is says it was published. Enjoy. 

Are You The Chairman of the Meeting?

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Being an effective horse person is like being a great chairman at a partnership meeting.  We can think of the parallels between the two to learn how to be a great equestrian chairman with all the meetings we have with our horses.

herd watching 

Before Meetings

A great chairman will know who is attending the meeting: know their objectives, view points, strengths, skill sets, motivations, what is in attending for them etc… How about thinking of developing your horsemanship skills along these lines? Below are some questions that may stimulate your thoughts, prompt discussion and debate. Hopefully they will lead you to ask questions and give you focus for finding out answers.    

Questions to prompt thinking, discussion and debate:

  • How well do you know your horse?
  • Do you know his preferred learning style? How to maximise it in your training sessions?  
  • Do you understand the language of the herd? Do you utilise this?  
  • Do you relate to your horse with equine compassion?
  • Does your horse exhibit behaviour that puzzles you?
  • What are your horse’s objectives?
  • How does your horse view the world and the sessions you have together?
  • What are your horse’s strengths?
  • Do you know what your horse is confident and skilled at?
  • Can you tap into what motivates your horse?
  • Do you know how to make sessions fun and rewarding for your horse?
  • What is in it for your horse?
  • Do you know if there are gaps in your knowledge? 

Development Opportunities

If you struggle to know the answers to these questions here are some horsemanship development opportunities. Wow how exciting a chance to learn about the passion you feel about your own horse and horsemanship. Not knowing is not a failing, failing to ask the right questions and to then seek out answers is failing. Remember for all of us horsemanship is a journey not a destination, there is always so much to learn, different view points to consider and many different ways to work with our equine partners. Think of it like this if you never considered the above questions how much could you be missing? What opportunities are passing you by?      

Before Meetings

A great chairman will contact each individual invited to attend for their contributions for the meeting agenda. How about thinking of developing your horsemanship skills along these lines? 

Questions to prompt thinking, discussion and debate:

  • Do you allow your horse to contribute to the training / schooling agenda?
  • How effective are you in listening to your horse?
  • On the agenda how high up do you prioritise your horse’s agenda items? 

Before Meetings

A great chairman will carefully consider the information gathered in order to select appropriate topics in relation to the partnership’s development. Plus structure the agenda to have a flow and still allow the agenda flexibility to respond to views expressed during the meeting.

Questions to prompt thinking, discussion and debate:

  • Before you start training or schooling with your horse do you have a planned agenda?
  • Are you aware of how the partnership with your horse has developed?
  • How each session can have flow from one to another?
  • Are you flexible enough to allow your horse to change the agenda? 

At the Meeting

A chairman will review and recap with all attending on the previous meeting by recapping on the minutes, encourage feedback, evaluation and check that all is correct before moving forward.    

Questions to prompt thinking, discussion and debate:

  • At the start of your training / schooling session do you review with your horse previous progress from the previous sessions?
  • Do you look for feedback from your horse?
  • Do you check your and your horse’s knowledge is correct before moving onto your planned agenda?  

At the Meeting

A great chairman will guide participation from all at the meeting. By encouraging input, sharing of information, with open communication, expression of view points on agenda items. A chairman will also question, probe, with the aim to stimulate all in discussion and debate. Encourage collective reviewing the collected information to pull together conclusions and for future action. The chairman will guide and steer attendees at the meeting through the agenda items to keep the meeting on track.  

Questions to prompt thinking, discussion and debate:

  • Are you able to guide your horse through the agenda items while encouraging your horse to communicate his opinions and views?
  • How effectively do you listen to your horse and understand him?
  • Do you see agenda items / training sessions as an opportunity to explore with your horse finding answers to questions through open discussion and debate with your horse?
  • Do you take on board your horse’s input?
  • Are you able to review the session to shape up future action? 
  • How do you use your horse’s input to shape future sessions?
  • Are you stepping up to the role of a good chairman to keep the meeting on track? Or do you hand this responsibility over to your horse? 

At the Meeting

A great chairman will always make sure actions for the future are listed with who is responsible. They leave space for any other business and note items to be taken forward to the next meeting. A chairman will always appreciate, acknowledge and thank participation. And set the date for the next meeting.  

Questions to prompt thinking, discussion and debate:

  • Are you aware of what actions arise out of training / schooling sessions?
  • And who is responsible for achievement of these actions? And how?
  • Do you leave space for your horse for any other business?
  • Do you note any future agenda items that have arisen with your horse?
  • Has your horse been appreciated for his contributions?
  • Do you acknowledge and thank your horse?
  • Do you plan ahead your next schooling / training session? 

After the Meeting

A great chairman will evaluate the minutes, circulate minutes to participants and be open to feedback. Then the cycle begins again, a new agenda can be put together for the next meeting. 

Do you spend time to evaluate your training / schooling sessions?

  • After the session do you work with your horse to reflect / practice what you have learnt / achieved? (Go over the minutes together)
  • Are you open to feedback from your horse?
  • Do you find yourself struggling to move forward?
  • Are you open minded and willing to try different approaches? 

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