The importance of youth empowerment

and why horses can help developing emotional intelligence and social skills

Why horses you may ask?

Horses have a great way of breaking through emotional barriers and getting straight to our emotions and heart: something adults often have a problem achieving when dealing with teenagers.

Horses are huge animals which simply with their size command respect.
At the same time, they are very soft and gentle animals - a domesticated prey animal, they want no harm for humans, on the contrary. 
And although domesticated, unlike dogs or other house pets, horses have still kept many of their wild instincts.

Because their main way of communication is non-verbal, they have developed fine antennas to perceive and interpret our body language, emotions and intentions. 
They reflect these back to us without any filters, as they have no reason to judge.

If we are willing to read their reflections, we can learn an awful lot about ourselves, and that is the core essence of horse assisted learning.

Are leadership skills for teenagers important?

I would say in today's world, leadership skills are even more important than ever before!
Leading means influencing somebody else's life - not via text messages and with emojis, but by dealing with real people!

And leading is not just about leading others, it is means taking matters into your own hands.
This is a very important life skill - it is learning to lead your own life!

In a country like the United Arab Emirates teenagers often enjoy less freedom than in many other countries:
Here, they are usually not able to cycle alone to school or walk to their friends house in the afternoon - they rely on their parents to drive them or give them taxi money.
They are often spoilt by nannies cleaning after them and cooking for them - making it less important for children and teenagers to feel responsible for what they are leaving behind.

Yes, they can enjoy a different sense of freedom because it is such a safe country.
However, as adults we also have an obligation to make sure that the youth, as they grow through their adolescence, are prepared for real life and can become responsible adults. 

Teenagers today have so many options and choices and live in a rapidly changing world.
To empower them and make sure they are equipped to take the right choices, we have to ensure that they learn essential social skills which can easily be forgotten when we spend so much time in front of screens and only receive filtered messages and images on social media.

What skills can teenagers learn from horses?

To be able to lead someone (yourself, a group of friends or a horse!) you need to first work on a variety of skills:

  • Have respect for yourself and have others respect you
  • Be able to establish meaningful relationships
  • Be a reliable partner
  • Communicate clearly
  • Be honest and authentic
  • Be focused and know where you want to go

A horse will only follow willingly if these criteria are met - and if not, it will plant its feet and wait until you can convince it or give it a good reason to follow you.

And moving a 500 kg horse by pure force is not really an option!

As soon as you shift your focus or raise your energy to show that you really mean it - that is the moment the horse listens to you. Because the reaction is instantaneous, the learning happens - we see immediate results to our own expressions.

Sign up to our one day workshops

We are running open Workshops on Emotional Intelligence for Teenagers in Abu Dhabi on the following dates:

We run these courses at Mandara Equestrian Club and in cooperation with Ride to Rescue, a charity taking in unwanted and unrideable horses. 

The cost for the workshop are 650 AED per participant including snacks and refreshment.

We run supervised exercises with the horses from the ground.
Horse experience is not needed and the participants will not sit on a horse.

In group feedback we will analyze the exercises and also review some scenes on video to discuss more in detail what it feels like to lead such a big animal, how we work with others in teams and what we can do to improve.

The atmosphere is kept positive and constructive - with horses, there is no right or wrong way of doing things, each person just has their own style, and it is about finding out what works for oneself.
Also, each mistake is a chance to learn and improve, and not seen as failure.

As the workshop is limited to 6 participants, please sign up by using the below booking form:

Interested in Teenager workshop

Please note that all fields with an asterisk must be filled in.

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