Frequently asked questions
Why are horses used to teach personal and professional development and life skills?
It’s hard to ignore and challenge the teacher when they weigh in at 500kg!
Horses call on our participants to step up and become a leader worth following. As a prey animal, they are hard-wired to survive, and the same attributes that they rely on in the wild we can parallel to life skills that humans require to confidently lead their own lives.
Prey animals have senses that are highly astute. They can hear our heart beat and they will react the slightest changes within a team - allowing facilitators to find those “teachable moments”.
They are just like us - sort of.
Horses have a lot to teach us, but they are also a lot like us. Herds to horses are teams to people. Horses require a leader that they trust and respect, just like we would love to have in the workplace.
Quite simply, the horse does the teaching; facilitators are there to offer explanation and provide guidance as they work through to find the solutions. Working with horses creates memories that we can apply to our lives and retain far longer than sitting in ‘just another classroom'.
Do I need experience with horses? Will we be riding the horses?
Absolutely not. Our program is run with everyone on the ground and does not require you to ride a horse. You will work alongside the horses as part of your team for the best and true reaction of the horse and the most beneficial way of learning for you. This way the horse can be it's true self and not be "on the job." We instruct every group on rules and safety precautions to take around the animals and the arena. Safety is number one! We can work with everyone’s comfort levels and experience around horses.
What If I’m scared or don’t like horses?
No worries! If you aren’t being pushed out of your comfort zone, you aren’t learning. This is an opportunity to overcome your fears or preconceived notions. Some of the people who have attended our workshops have started out petrified, but by the end of the program, they have all learned more about themselves and overcome their fear.
Do you offer custom programs?
Yes for sure! Just call and chat to Jess about what your requirements are. We can cater to family groups, groups of friends wanting a unique experience and smaller one on one programs. If there is something in particular you would like to run past us, please call Jess any time.
What is the BuildingBlock™ Curriculum ?
The founder of the BuildingBlock™ program (Tamara MacKinnon) bought the study of how human beings learn, together with the research on how wild horses operate. Tamara developed the process where each program has a main objective, yet all objectives are built into each program as well. We work with one solid objective at a time building on the skills each week, hence the building block curriculum program that builds the skills we’re focusing on each week.
While a lot of fun is had in our programs, the hands-on and experiential learning style combined with focussed skill building exercises, results in a much deeper understanding of the lessons learned, and for those lessons to be retained for much longer.
The curriculum program has proven to be life changing, with solid results after a 5-year research study with the University of Calgary, Saskatoon and Regina in Canada.
How would a day of Team Building with these programs benefit our company in a nutshell?
FUN + HANDS ON LEARNING = CHANGE
Immediate change through experiential learning
Objective and outcomes tailored to your organisation
Itemisation of the issues facing the company
Solid understanding of who is in your team and how to effectively work together
Great leadership comes with being a great communicator
Horses reveal the hidden dynamics of your leaders and teams
Why will this program work over others that we have tried?
We are one of a kind. We are different. We are unique and we are fun. We have research backing our programs with proven results and outcomes your organisation is looking for. The same actions bring the same results. If you want substantial results, then you have found the programs to bring about the change your leaders and teams need, to take your company to that next level of profits.
Are you Insured?
Yes absolutely! We carry extensive insurance for every participant including guests at our weekend retreats.
What group sizes do you work with?
As small as 4-6 participants at any one time. If you require a larger group, we can arrange a second experienced facilitator to take up to 12 participants per program. Upon request we can incorporate sessions with a qualified health and nutrition coach who adds huge value to your Team Building day. We split sessions and she teaches how to maintain your mind and body when working in the corporate realm, especially when struggling with a busy and hectic schedule with work and life.
What if it is raining? Or there are high winds and storms?
Our programs are run in an outdoor arena. The programs run in light rain, however, heavy rain, thunder storms and high winds make the day unpleasant and even unsafe. We will reschedule your program or refund your money should this be the case.
Do I need certain clothing?
We do require you to bring closed-toe shoes (sneakers or boots) and dressing in clothes that you are ok with getting a little dusty. A coat in the cooler months and a sun hat and sun screen are always encouraged. We will give you a full list of these safety measures, of course.
Are you Certified?
Yes! Jess Keenan is certified through the Academy of Equine Assisted Learning, a leading organisation in EAL, and offers the only certified building block program in the World.
It’s ok! Just be sure to take an allergy pill (anti-histamine) in enough time before your program. Jess suffers from hay fever at certain times of the year, and finds that an anti-histamine does the trick.
Where are you located?
We are located at Highland Valley, 8km from Strathalbyn and 50km from Adelaide, and a 40 min drive from Murray Bridge. Welcome to the beautiful Fleurieu Region, on the edge of the picturesque Adelaide Hills!
It’s a great spot to unplug from technology, breath in the fresh air and connect back to nature while existing in the moment.