HorseSense, April 2007
As a result of Barbara’s
enthusiasm and urging, I opted to participate in the Krebs’ ”Train the
Trainer” program in Kröpelin (OT Klein Nienhagen), Germany this week. I think, after 2 years of
reading books, articles and websites, meeting many people involved in the
industry of combining horses with some type of personal, social,
psychological and/or professional development, I found in the Krebs exactly
what I’ve been seeking. I found a couple whose passion for horses is as
great as their ability to enlighten and enrich the lives of busy, often
misguided businesspeople who have a profound need to take a good, long look
inside themselves. While every step of my journey along this path has been,
and continues to be critical to my ultimate goal, their approach precisely
mirrors my perspective on corporate facilitation—and for that reason, I felt
completely at home.
From the first evening, I knew I had come across something (and “2 someones”)
special. The facility and the Krebs’ lovely Friesians tell a story all by
themselves. For the first time in 2 years, I felt minimal anxiety as a
participant in the exercises. There were no expectations regarding what we
“should” think, and especially, “feel” or even do--- and spoke at length
about the importance of letting what will be—be, without passing judgment,
and often times, without even commenting. I felt firsthand the role of both
participant and trainer—and since our discussion covered both aspects, I
gained valuable insights that will enable me to be empathetic to my own
clients, as well as guide them through the experience in a manner that will
lead to their own self-discoveries as individuals and groups.
The combination of silence, music, theory, discussion, hands-on and writing
created an experience that spoke to a wide range of learning styles from
academic to kinesthetic. Our small group of 5 contained people with a wide
range of backgrounds, including one engineer. All were equally engaged and
fully present. I believe that is, in large part, due to Gerhard’s approach
of ‘switching gears’ routinely to keep things lively, interesting and
relevant. I found myself feeling appreciative that Gerhard and Karin were so
willing to share the fruits of their obviously long, hard labor of love in
this field…I know that it will boost the speed of my own learning curve
tremendously, saving me both time and money.
I was equally impressed by the obvious time and effort devoted to our
learning materials. The packets were comprehensive and relevant, attractive
and professional. The notebooks served as a very appropriate learning and
discussion tool, complete with exercise worksheets that provoked a deeper
understanding of, as well as deeper thinking about the topics covered.
Particularly because we are a group of trainers ourselves, it was important
to see how Gerhard presents his material. I’m hard to impress but impressed
I was! From the videotaping to the materials to the content and manner in
which the discussions were conducted, it is clear they have tested and
retested their model, and have found the true recipe.
The exercises with horses were different from my other experiences both in
terms of interaction and my response to them. We participated in leading the
horses, both with lead line, as well as with long-lines, and ultimately,
with long lines from the back of another horse. Those last two experiences
tested me in an entirely new way and I really found myself stretching my own
“comfort zone”—moving from feeling totally inadequate to feeling pretty much
okay. The experience did, however, honestly reflect my preferred leadership
style and gave me much food for thought. We also lunged a horse in the
picadero which led to “join up”—another experience I completely enjoyed. I
still struggle with having to “perform” in front of others but I’m learning
to just be myself without giving too much thought to others’ perspectives. I
do continue to be forever aware of how difficult this must be for our own
clients and have also become acutely aware of my preference for knowing with
whom I am dealing before I begin interacting.
I have found my experiences through AIA and other courses to be far more
emotional. It may be because it seems like we were given more opportunity to
interact with each horse alone as a result of the way in which the exercises
are conducted and this created for me a level of intimacy I did not
experience here. At times I missed that in Germany because my style is to
first connect, then interact. Other courses I have taken “forced” me to take
a good, long look at myself—an experience that was both therapeutic and
exhausting In addition, because of the intimate debriefing session, I
sometimes felt a heavy emotional burden as I listened to the outpouring of
others and supported them as they traveled through their emotional and
spiritual journeys, as they did me. From that perspective, this experience
was “lighter”, enabling me to absorb and learn in a very different manner. I
was better able to consider the process from the perspective of trainer—which
was, in fact, what I came to Germany to do! The differences between the two
approaches are entirely complimentary, and both, I feel are invaluable to
becoming an effective facilitator in this work.
I really enjoyed and learned from watching Gerhard and Karin’s horses
interact with one another. They behaviors as individuals and as a “herd”
created wonderful “food for thought” in terms of transference to the world
of humans—not to mention just the sheer pleasure of watching horses at play.
From the Krebs I absorbed so much information about logistics, horse
training for this work, operations, administration and even marketing that
will go a long way in supplementing the knowledge based I’ve already gained
the hard way. From a practical standpoint, this train the trainer course has
really boosted my confidence and my practical knowledge.
In summary, I was so impressed by what I acquired during the two days that I
promptly signed my self and my partner up for the full certification course
in Vienna in October.
In Gerhard and Karin I found new colleagues, true professionals, and perhaps
most important, two very, very dear friends. Thank you, Barbara, for guiding
me to them.