Horse Sense Leadership: What Can Leaders Learn from Horses?

Tomasz Rajfura, Robert Karaszewski



Leaders’ talent and IQ are no longer sufficient determi-nants of success. More attention is paid to their emotional intel-ligence i.e. emotions and behaviours, as natural and inseparable elements of interpersonal and business interactions. Studies show that leaders’ emotional intelligence has a reliable impact on their and organisations’ success. The development of emotional intel-ligence requires a greater level of introspection and reflexivity, so that leaders can consciously experience and control their emotions, especially in the context of their influence on interactions with others. Therefore, the leadership programs should place more emphasis on the development of emotional intelligence. To do so, business schools should provide possibly the most valuable and effective teaching methods to convey both: knowledge and practice in realistic, business environment. Especially, that emo-tional intelligence is nothing more than a constant experiencing, concluding and using these as references in the future. Experiential learning, called also a learning-by-doing method, has an interac-tive character, which allows participants to be fully engaged and, as a result, learning process occurs. One of the experiential learning methods is equine-assisted learning. This method appears to 

be as effective and strongly engaging its participants in emotional intelligence development. It seems that active interactions with the horses improve human self-awareness, congruence, and social awareness. The purpose of this article is an attempt of evaluation of the equine-assisted learning method in the leadership skills development context. The article summarises the literature review on the role of emotional intelligence in management, the role of experiential learning approach in MBA curricula and the benefits of equine-assisted learning method implementation into leadership development programmes. Next, it verifies literature findings with the equine-assisted training itself to answer the question: “Can the equine -assisted training method be beneficial and useful in leadership skills development context?”.


leadership skills; emotional intelligence; equine-as-sisted learning

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