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Creating effective teams

Here at HorseSense UK, we're trained in delivering a highly valuable leadership model that brings clarity and effectiveness to groups, families, teams, projects and companies.

A simple way to visually and kinesthetically understand leadership is to experience how each position in relationship to a horse affects the impact you have.

For example, the person at the front of any project or organisation is in charge of where that organisation is heading (position 1). It's the most obvious form of leadership, the figurehead at the front that sets the direction, pace, destination. No guidance from the front means no clarity. Effort by the group may be expended, but it will be scattered, lack co-oridination and may ultimately miss the mark. A good example of leading from the front is having a mission statement and a trailblazer figurehead that leads the way so that others can follow. For example, a parent that sets the tone that we are a kind and compassionate family that helps others, or a CEO that wants to be the first person to offer affordable space travel.

When working with a horse leading from in front makes it clear where you are going, how fast you are going there and when you have arrived. The question is, will the horse follow? Are they aligned to your goals? Do they trust your judgement? Or would they prefer to be in the driving seat and set the agenda?

Leading from behind

Rarely associated as a leadership position is the driving force behind a project (position 3). For anything to get off the ground requires energy. Whilst leading from the front has a "pull-factor", what works best is when when the project's vision is backed up with a motivator type person that makes sure the job gets done. This person has the benefit of being able to see what's in front of them and make sure no part of the project is left behind. It's a role that rarely gets the limelight, but is actually extremely influential as without this element objectives aren't completed. This is where the phrase "have your back" or "back me up" comes from.

In relation to the horse, you're asking the horse to move forwards. Is the horse listening? Do they respect you? Are you pushing too hard and forcing the project to go faster and faster and out of control? What needs to happen to get/keep something moving without driving it faster than everyone can handle? Reading what is in front of you is important here.

Then there's those that keep projects on track by not letting them waiver into something they originally weren't intended to do position 2). When it's easier to take short cuts, this type of leadership understands the goal, is responsive the objectives and keeps the project focused. Here the leadership style is collaborative.

However, if you only have collaboration with no vision or leader, you don't go anywhere. If you have drive but no focus then everyone gets on with their own thing but no progress is made (this makes me think of working from home - a lot!). With a horse, it's companionship on the journey. It's a "focus" and "in this together" kind of energy.

A group of people are walking towards a goal with a horse in the centre
Moving as one team is a powerful experience
Working together as a team is easy and effective when you know your role

Finally, you have the outside perspective (position 4). This can be from within the organisation or external. This perspective see's the whole picture and can provide feedback and additional support. There is no parallel in the horse world, but in the human world that person may be a coach, supervisor or video footage, a medium that can tell it like it is and give insights and ideas.


Working with a model like this provides a framework and clarity. People can be clearer of their roles and expectations, delegating where necessary or asking for support.

Positions are not fixed, and can evolve where choices allow. For example, family members may take turns to decide where the family goes that day, whilst domain experts may lead a project where their expertise makes them most qualified.

Would you like to know more? Feel free to reach out via our contact form and ask us more!

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