CATCH (Challenging Attitudes, Changing Horizons) is one of the many impactful community development and peacebuilding initiatives organised by Co-operation Ireland. It works with youth in North Belfast & Lurgan to develop a positive sense of identity, cross-community contact and mutual understanding. As part of CATCH they attend Horses for People to enhance that sense of cohesion and understanding.
What helped significantly was the credibility of June as a business leader with relevant and interesting experiences, as well as the option to work with a selection of horses, all with different personalities, this combined with the option of using horses to facilitate team and individual learning, accelerates team connectivity, trust and understanding, and has resulted in an increased desire to learn and do more as a team.
It goes without saying that the two day course was great fun but the experience was also informative and enlightening. Thank you for providing us with a wonderful opportunity to try something different. It was lovely to spend time with such mighty and intelligent animals whilst further developing our relationships with the other members of the group. The team and yourself were friendly and put us at ease, especially during activities which may have been outside our members’ comfort zones. The subject matter and activities had been planned really well and it was lovely to receive the thoughtful gift on the final day.
June’s horses are amazing! Kind, bright and intelligent, they recognise genuine leadership. These successful competition horses really know how to be team members. I didn’t expect to learn so much from them.
Team days - boring, contrived and not very worthwhile in my experience! But with June this couldn’t be more different! Fun, hands-on, interactive, reflective and a personalised approach means that each individual member of the team develops a deep level of self-awareness, builds confidence and develops a sense of pride and achievement through the activities June plans. Working with the horses adds a new dynamic that is totally different and unique to anything else in Northern Ireland! So much was not only achieved on a personal level but as a team too. At the end of the day, everyone had a greater understanding of how each other worked and we were able to recognise the benefits this would bring to the workplace. Such a gorgeous setting made the team day seem more like a much needed retreat than work!
I found the training to be a very tangible demonstration of the importance of non-verbal communication. It is interesting to get immediate feedback based on the horse’s response to how you have communicated with them. You know that it is an honest, non-judgemental and natural response because the horse can’t lie. From that perspective it very quickly brings you to an awareness of your own behaviour/communication style. It showed me that I could do with being a bit more directive. Although I am not afraid of horses the sheer size created a sense of awe and respect and made me all the more aware of every physical and verbal interaction. I can see how this could be used for trust building exercises. On the one hand the sheer size of the horse can create fear and on the other hand discovering that you can handle the horse can instil confidence.