Leadership Traits Can Be Enhanced by Contact with Horses According to New Study by the University of Kentucky and The Horse Institute

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Interacting with horses can help people develop key leadership traits including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management, according to a groundbreaking research project conducted at the University of Kentucky in collaboration with The Horse Institute® http://www.thehorseinstitute.com.

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“This research project validates that a variety of exercises performed on the ground with horses help people develop positive teamwork and leadership skills,” said Stockl from The Horse Institute.

This pilot study is one of the first of its kind to explore how guided interaction with horses can develop emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) in humans.

The term, "Emotional Intelligence" was coined by author Daniel Goleman. His book was named one of the 25 "Most Influential Business Management Books" by TIME Magazine, The Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

Marie- Claude Stockl, co-founder of The Horse Institute, was a research consultant for the University of Kentucky pilot study. "This research project validates our anecdotal evidence that a variety of exercises performed on the ground with horses help people develop positive teamwork and leadership skills," said Stockl. "The results of the study point strongly towards equine-assisted learning as a major force for positive change in the workplace."

The University of Kentucky pilot study included a control group of 10 nurses from the Neuroscience Surgery Service Line and an intervention group of 11 nurses from the Trauma and Acute Care Surgical Service Line at Kentucky’s UK Chandler Hospital. Nurses in the intervention group participated in a one-day workshop consisting of a facilitated process with horses. No previous experience with horses was necessary to participate. The control group did not experience the one-day workshop with horses.

Both groups took the online TalentSmart® EQ Appraisal: The ME Edition before the workshop and again six months after the first assessment was taken. More than 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on TalentSmart emotional intelligence (EQ) tests, training, and certification.

The before-and-after survey results showed there was an increase in the EQ scores of the intervention group in all four competency areas when compared to the control group. Additionally, qualitative responses from the nurses in the workshop attributed changes in their bedside manner to lessons learned from interacting with the horses. To access the full research report and for more information on contributing to this research, visit http://www.ca.uky.edu/cfld/research.php.

Since 2006, The Horse Institute has been a pioneer in equine-assisted learning for business and academia. Bayer Health Care, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Natixis, Merck & Co, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Wharton Executive Education at the University of Pennsylvania, are among the organizations whose staff members have benefitted directly from The Horse Institute’s groundbreaking program.

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Marie-Claude Stockl
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