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There are hundreds of available leadership and team development workshops. And yet RIDERS is unique because it uses horses to provide insight into the learning experience and relates outdoor lessons to needs in the workplace.

RIDERS uses horses to provide important insight
The element that distinguishes RIDERS from non-horse experiential programs is obvious—the horses. But the immense advantages that horses add to the learning experience may not be quite as apparent from the outset.

Horses introduce an important element into the experiential equation. If you've tried ropes courses, you've seen just how powerful adventure-based learning can be. Confronting almost any challenge can tell you something about yourself and has the potential to strengthen your character and resolve. This is the salient feature of most experiential learning workshops. But RIDERS offers something more. Our workshops introduce horses to add a new "relationship" into the equation, something you don't normally get from interacting with ropes or boats or mountains. And because team building or leadership development is really all about knowing how to build relationships, this extra element can be immensely useful.

m gunnerson quote

Horses provide immediate feedback. Horses are partners who show us immediately how we deal with others in a new and challenging situation. And they provide an immediate mirror of our behaviors with others. For example, whereas people who try to command with force instead of persuasion are met with swift and obvious resistance by a horse, the same sort of behavior may go unchecked in the work place, where coworkers are often reluctant or afraid to voice their objections. Similarly, unclear goals or directions may be excused or overlooked by an employee, but not by a horse. Horses invariably respond to vague or tentative directions by heading back to the barn! By listening—to the horses, the facilitators, and to other team members—participants cannot help but discover more about their leadership and partnership skills. Learning how to use such knowledge to better lead and cooperate as a team is the goal of the RIDERS workshops.

Horseback riding is a great leveler. No matter how "skilled" you may be back at the office, everyone reveals different competencies, weaknesses, fears, and dreams at the ranch. Traditional boundaries such as status, turf, credentials, and hierarchical levels become far less important as you and your teammates learn to value and rely upon one another in new ways. Sharing a different side of yourself with your team will lead to more trust and a deeper understanding. You will also uncover opportunities to build stronger ties, to discover where your team excels, and to learn how it must continue to grow. Experience has shown that when confronted with ranch challenges, a team increases the pace of its learning significantly.

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RIDERS combines outdoor experience with Boardroom expertise
Hiking mountains, shooting rapids and yes, even riding horses, is of little value if what you learn can't be applied in the workplace.

RIDERS trainers are experts in business. Other experiential workshops may be staffed by expert outdoors-people, but they often lack the business experience necessary to make the lessons learned in the saddle beneficial in the boardroom as well. The RIDERS trainers are seasoned organizational psychologists; adept at helping individuals gain new insights into using their strengths as leaders.

RIDERS emphasizes experience over prescription. Many workshops devote their time to teaching you a specific pattern of behavior or outlining the "seven techniques" for teamwork and leadership. Not so with RIDERS. Rather than telling you how things must be done, we create a safe and open environment so that you can explore what works best as a leader and as a team. Leaders and teams need to be able to see their own way in order to then decide what they want to do differently. Yes, we certainly have some opinions about what helps people/teams be effective. But RIDERS has been built on a "learn by doing" and "learn by reflecting" model. Studies consistently show that lessons learned by experience instead of by prescription are the lessons that truly last.

A RIDERS workshop is customized to the needs of your group. Because the RIDERS workshops are staffed by experienced organizational consultants, we are able to tailor your workshop to suit the needs and personality of your team instead of relying on a "one size fits all" approach. That means doing some up-front assessment with your team about its current and desired state. We never lose sight of our goal: to help you grow, excel, and succeed.

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