A Different Kind Of Team Building With Gentle Horses

One of the most common team activities is the tyre race that requires coordination among the participants. Employees are divided into teams to manoeuvre the tyres around obstacles. First to reach the finish line wins. However, there are other unique challenges that does not involve running around and trying to compete with another.

On a rainy Friday afternoon, 26 employees from 10 organizations from south-western Virginia and West Virginia spent bonding time in a stable of gentle horses. The employees came from different sectors that include manufacturing, technology and chambers of commerce. Two skilled team building facilitators fine tuned the participants’ behaviour.

The workshop was referred to as “Refining your Team Building Behaviours.” It was facilitated by Pam Umberger, owner of the Copper Crest Farm in Wytheville and Kentucky-based MSN Cheryl Bess. The facilitators co-founded Mirror Horse Interactions to enhance interpersonal effectiveness. The horse acts as the “mirror “on how individuals can interact in a more effective way with others.

The goal of the unique challenge is to refine team building behaviours so that they can be effectively applied at the workplace. Experiential exercises and posed questions were crafted by the facilitators. The objective of the questions is to challenge both verbal and non-verbal communication cues that the participants will give the horses and how these behaviourscan be transferred to the workplace.

The challenge received overwhelmingly positive responses from the participants. A response on an anonymous evaluation of the challenge read that it was quite strange to discuss some situations with horses. The activity resembled the situations that he was envisioning with the staff. He was able to gain a deep insight into the situations. Another participant wrote that the activity with the horses was the best day in his work career.

Team building events are always anticipated by employees because it provides them with paid time outside the office. However, team activitiesmust always be planned carefully so that they can achieve the goal. There are different challenges where teams can work together and collaborate to solve a series of problems. When teams work together they become more productive, effective and motivated not to mention that they are more fun to work with.