As we are experiencing extreme weather and caring for our horses, we are also making plans for great equine experiential education programs to happen in 2019. It is exciting to see that, while we are actively proceeding to update our websites, launch marketing campaigns and create content for our clients, we recognize that we are together part of a larger, supportive community.
The best news is that we will have a chance to see each other in person this year. Mark your calendars: October 10-12, 2019 for the Second E3A International Conference, at the famed White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, AZ.
I have heard only great things about the ranch and we are so looking forward to experiencing that ourselves. We'll make it even more special with great presentations, networking and, of course, horses. Taking into account the feedback we received at our first conference in 2017, we will again allow plenty of time every day in the arena with horse activities.
Mark the date and please check our website in mid-February to get all the details about the 2019 Conference and then please register.
Until then, be well and think Spring! The days are getting longer.
Truth is - Horses, like people, get older. And as the horses in my herd aged, I had to face decisions of what to do. What was best for my horses? Certainly, I wanted to preserve the longevity of my loyal, lovable equine partners each of whom continued to willingly give whatever they could give. But it was apparent that they too knew that age had set in; time was not on their side. I would have to find for them a new purpose. But how? And what? My staff and students were so attached to these wonderful, generous horses that re-homing them was just out of the question! Our program had been exclusively designed to teach horsemanship and riding lessons while assessing our students' skills at U.S. Pony Club Rallies and local horse show competitions.
Student Leadership Drill Team.
In searching for a viable alternative, I became aware of programs that promoted equine-assisted learning. After diligently researching these programs, I discovered what our staff and I, at Spirit Song YEA, considered the best option - E3A's Equine Experiential Education. This program showed us how to partner with the wisdom and experience of my older "schoolmaster" horses, keeping them active with less, physical stress while helping humans identify and master their life challenges, capitalizing on their intrinsic strengths. Implementing the E3A Model has revolutionized our programs at Spirit Song Youth Equestrian Academy, now including both unmounted activities and mounted riding lessons using the E3A Model.
I am frequently asked, "How do you incorporate the E3A approach into a Horsemanship and Riding Lessons program?" First, we found that the E3A approach to learning is easily adaptable to just about any modality in life requiring connection, communication, relationship building, and teamwork; it is most effective when the approach is integrated with horses who instinctively sense, function, and respond in the moment.
Debbie Arledge and Alison Selby, also E3A certified facilitators and members, conduct a game on horseback which includes riding skills.
Following the principles taught in the E3A certification training workshops, at the beginning of the riding lesson, a staff facilitator describes the overall lesson and then, team and individual goals are chosen by the riding students. This pre-briefing is done while the students are warming up their horses. Next, the riding students are given a few minutes to discuss and agree on their execution plan to achieve their chosen goals. During the time the students are riding through their lesson, the staff facilitator uses the E3A 5-Question Model to guide the students thoughtfully through their lesson experience (Discovery and Interpretation), assisting the students to be aware of their horse's response and then to translate that awareness into a different action plan to achieve a different response from their horse the next time. After the riding lesson is completed, the staff facilitator continues using the E3A 5-Question Model in a debriefing session with the riding students that includes a discussion on how what was learned during the riding lesson parallels other events that occur in their lives and what the students will do differently the next time that type of event happens.
4 of our "Out of the Starting Gate" students practicing a salute.
This debriefing is often conducted in the presence of other family members of the students so that each family unit can be aware of and assist in the life changing decisions determined by the students. Typical starter questions the staff facilitator might ask are: "What did you learn about your horse today?" "What did the horse tell you about him or her?" "What did the horse tell you about you?" What did you learn about yourself in this lesson today?" Since the lessons are at least weekly, the staff facilitator can follow up at the beginning of the next riding lesson to see if the life events of the past week occurred and whether the riding students were able to apply what they had learned to get a different result.
We are fortunate in that all of the Spirit Song staff is E3A trained and certified. We are indeed grateful to E3A, its Master Trainers, and other fellow members who have helped us develop the basis for our transformative, mounted lessons. In addition to the mounted program, Spirit Song also has developed an Equine-assisted Life Skills program for the Texas state-sponsored Youth Empowerment Services. An Equine-assisted Vacation Bible School in conjunction with a mounted Drill Team Leadership Camp is in its 8th year.
Fulfillment of a SSYEA student's goal to learn to ride bareback.
As I stated previously, the E3A approach to learning is easily adaptable to just about any modality in life requiring connection, communication, relationship building, and teamwork; its application is only limited by our own creativity!
--Starr and Joe McAlexander
Upcoming Training - Certification & Enrichment
For a complete list of the 2019 Calendar of Events & Trainings, click here.
Interested in becoming certified in 2019?
Level 1 certification consists of a Teleclass (C1), plus 6 days (C2 and C3)
instructed by two master trainers in the arena.
We limit enrollment to small groups to give you lots of personal attention.
3 day arena seminar 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM PDT each day
Registration closes 7 days prior to the event. Register here.
Having trouble registering? Call us at 775-376-2530
Communicating with Confidence - Look Like You Mean What You're Talking About and Sound Like It
by Janis Cooper, EQnimity
People who communicate with confidence have the ability to convey what they want their prospective clients to know in a clear and efficient manner. They convey trust and become believable and as a result are generally successful in their business or career.
Having confidence means understanding the value you offer, effectively communicating and presenting yourself and your EFL business. When you can do this, you'll get noticed for all the right reasons and be able to increase your reach and your income. The clients of confident people do not question or undermine what the services or products are worth, but rather pay what the business owner decides they are worth - because they see it as good value for the money.
Confident communication requires knowing your worth and trusting others will recognize the value of your service too. By communicating confidently, you can influence how others perceive you and change how you feel about yourself. In reality, confidence is a set of behaviors that you can change over time. Here are a five to practice:
Presence. What impression will you make? If 55% of our communication is body language, and 38% is para-verbal (i.e. tone, uptalk and speed), then only 7% is verbal. Pay attention to how you show up at all times because it is a reflection of you, your business, and your confidence. Practice things like poise, good posture, and looking at someone in the eye. Slumped shoulders and talking too quietly or quickly can show a lack of confidence. Rather, go into each interaction with a smile. Be well-groomed and use a sense of humor, where appropriate.
Be prepared. Clarity and directness give you power and authority, but it needs to be done without arrogance. Start your communications with a strong, confident "I" statement backed up with evidence in support of the validity of your offering. Be sure to refer to evidence or research on the power of working with horses. Include examples of previous successes that your other clients have experienced. It's important not to let insecurities overcome you. If you have that tendency, I recommend watching Amy Cuddy's TED Talk and practice her power pose before approaching a new client or talking about your offerings to a group. Better yet, read her book "Presence" for additional strategies.
Be clear. What is it you want to say? How does it need to be tailored to the person or audience you're addressing? A good sales strategy is to ask questions in advance of making your pitch. For instance, engage the prospect in a conversation about what they are struggling with. What are their goals and objectives and what stands in the way? What do they envision for the future and how would that benefit them? Paraphrase what you heard them say and ask them to verify that before responding with how your EFL business will benefit them. Knowing more about your prospective clients will convey confidence in your communication because you'll be clear on how to tailor the conversation.
Watch your words. Avoid words that can diminish how you're coming across. Circumvent "I think", or "I believe" when you know something to be a fact. Instead speak with energy and conviction. Also, don't hedge by using "Sort of", "Kind of", or "It seems like". Don't come across timid, and avoid apologizing unnecessarily since it shows insecurity, for example "I'm sorry to bother you as I know you must be busy.".
Be genuine. It takes courage to be confident in yourself while sharing your business. It can be scary as you're getting started. While EFL is a growing field and more and more people are aware of it, it's up to you to make it compelling. The more genuine you allow yourself to be in this conversation, while remaining confident in what you're communicating, the better the chances of people taking notice.
Remember, if you act confident enough, you will become confident enough. It takes practice and conviction.
Janis Cooper is an E3A certified practitioner and E3A board member who specializes in strengthening leadership skills together with team development to achieve optimum personal and professional success. Janis is owner of EQnimity and is based in Waitsfield, VT.
Report on 2018 Fall Trainings
E3A had an incredible and busy fall in 2018 with two C2 C3 certifications, nearly back-to-back. The first workshop was completed in Reno from October 4-9th.
There were 5 participants for C2 and 7 for the C3 arena classes. Three of the participants traveled from Singapore.
Jennifer Kaplan hosted this certification at her home and ranch in Washoe Valley. The four horses she provided were balanced, enthusiastic to do to the work and were excellent mirrors for the group process.
Jennifer provided delicious and nutritious lunches and snacks, which kept everyone fueled up to learn the workshop process and facilitation skills.
New facilitators at the Reno program.
The certification was extremely well received by all participants. Our three participants from Singapore expressed that they had been attempting to use the E3A model and were glad to finally have training with the model so that they could access the full effect and benefit of the process. Everyone had powerful "aha's" and met the goals they established for the training.
The second C2 and C3 workshops were held October 15th though the 17th and the 19th through the 21st respectfully in New York City. These workshops were held at the Forest Hill campus of GallopNYC, which is a nonprofit therapeutic ridding facility in Brooklyn, NY. There were 8 participants for C2 and 9 for C3, with three of the participants attending from Singapore. The evaluation responses were very positive and all participants appeared to gain deep insights, new skills and techniques that they could take away. Alicia Kershaw, a E3A member, had arranged the workshops and as the past executive director of GallopNYC was able to secure a great herd of horses from the ridding stable.
Hamming it up at the New York program.
The certification was well received by all members of the workshop. The Master Trainers really had to think on their toes for one participant who works primarily with elderly clients who have first and second degree dementia. The trainers were able to help the participant transfer the model to her clients. The rest of the participants seemed to be very enthusiastic about the skills they learned.
We here at E3A feel grateful for the opportunity to train such enthusiastic and capable students. And on top of that...it was great fun!
SHOW US YOUR MARKETING MATERIAL!
Do you develop videos to help promote your EAL business? If so, send us a link to your video and we will feature it in our quarterly newsletters. Sharing your videos with the E3A community will help others see the work you are doing with your business and will help to spread ideas about how to communicate the benefits of our equine-assisted learning businesses. Submit your videos or direct questions to Susan Urban, email:
If you are not a member of E3A, we'd like to invite you to join us. There are many benefits to being an E3A member, including free Community Network Meetings, great people to network and exchange ideas with, and some opportunities that are only open to our members. Check them out at www.E3Assoc.orgunderMembership.
Want to be more involved?
We have plenty of volunteer opportunities. Call us to let us know how you want to help. Remember, every horse in the herd plays a role in the herd's success...What part will you play in OUR herd?