16 Nov Why You Should Plan a Corporate Horseback Riding Retreat
Tired of the typical corporate “team building” conferences? Corporate team building has never been so fun and productive using horses. Horses provide real-time leadership and management skills for companies and their employees that will be invaluable in the future. Here are five skills that a corporate horseback riding retreat will teach your employees they can bring back to the office.
Horseback riding is not a passive activity; it requires you to be alert and reactive at all times. Is your horse getting too close to the one in front of you? Is he wandering off the trail? Maybe he’s stopping to eat (no eating on the job!). Whatever the case, you must react to these factors as they occur. This can be a great way to teach your employees to be ready to respond quickly. Business didn’t happen last week, it occurs in the moment, and a good employee uses that moment as an opportunity.
Horses are herd animal. They respect authority and have a leader who they look to for direction… but that doesn’t mean they won’t make you earn the title. If you let them nibble at grass or walk around mud puddles, then you can bet your ride will consist of a puddle-avoiding-lawn-mower doing as it pleases. Just like in any business, you have to maintain a firm but respectful control over your horse to have an enjoyable time. This translates directly to the office, if you let your employees walk all over you then you’re in for a bad time. This is an invaluable concept for those in leadership positions, and you can see who understands that by how their ride goes.
Unless you know something we don’t, you aren’t going to be able to tell your horse what you want. You’ll have to communicate purely through your body: how you hold the reigns, how you shift your weight, what you do with your legs, etc. This is another metaphor you can use to remind your team that how they carry themselves and what they do NON-verbally can be more impactful than they realize.
When you’re out on a ride, and you want to tell the person three horses up something, you’re going to have to speak up. In reverse, when your guide who is at the head of the line has something important to tell you, you’ll have to listen. This sounds like common sense (because it is), but that doesn’t mean it’s something that shouldn’t be practiced! This kind of exercise in such a unique setting is a great way to not only practice soft skills but to see who on your team excels and who needs some work.
Unique and Different = Memorable
Finally, let’s be real, how many management teams do you know who have gone horseback riding as their team building exercise? Put into the right context, horseback riding offers plenty of touch points to talk about and gives the one-of-a-kind experience that helps those lessons on abstract topics like body language become memorable. Also… it’s a lot of fun!
So when you’re thinking of your next team building exercise or even just wanting to take your employees out for something that everyone will enjoy, consider setting up a group horseback ride. It will be something they will always remember.