I'm not a natural animal person, so I was a little bit apprehensive. But I have to say I was remarkably surprised, actually I was quite taken with the horses, and they seemed to be a bit taken with me as well. I found them to be really calming and reassuring.
I got the air of a calm reassurance from her, and was so was quickly reassured that it was all fine. The session taught us that it's OK to be ourselves. It taught us that there are no norms, and it's a way at really looking at situations and saying that that just because this is the way we've always done things, it doesn't mean we have to. It also showed me that we have an amazing team, and that we are all here to support each other and encourage each other. It was really amazing.
I'm really proud of myself that I coped. I was really surprised at my interaction with the horses. I'm really thrilled about that.
Shirley Cameron, GM of Operations
A remarkable experience.
I have been somewhat afraid of horses since an incident in my teens, but with such warm support from the facilitators and within the group environment, the natural process of just being with the horses completely overcame any lack of confidence on my part.
The facilitators are clearly highly competent and deeply empathetic, and it was a very engaging and personally insightful experience.
Mental Health Educator, Workplace Wellbeing
My experience in the round pen with the horses was a turning point for me both personally and professionally.
I volunteered to have a go in the ring with one of the horses. At first I was nervous and did not really know what to expect.
After a while my nerves went and I started communicating with the horse.
It was an amazing up-lifting experience which I would recommend to everyone.
Horses - I loved reading about them when a child, and growing up in a small rural village in Southland some of my friends were lucky enough to have their own ponies.
I spent time with them, and learned to ride - sort of.
But mostly my connection, and pleasure from association with animals, came from the domestic cats and dogs that were an important part of my city, and later life-style block life.
While living the 'good life' on this 30 acre block, I worked as a secondary teacher, and later, school counselor.
Understandably then when Deirdre offered me the chance of a 'Salta Experience' I was really keen to try.
And it was an EXPERIENCE - a really interesting one. For me, some of the fear, the uncertainty, of the unknown response of these large animals was still there, but it didn't last long, and wonderfully alongside that was the remembered joy of how domestic animals ( and for all I know maybe wild ones) can share and communicate an understanding with humans.
Big creatures, these horses, but so long as I offered respect it was returned, when I indicated a need it was answered - and gradually there was no need for fear or anxiety.
The whole experience has blown my mind. We are a relatively new leadership team.
At one point we realised that we had excluded the horses and we had to expand our circle to include the horses. I think that will be one of the take away points from today.
How Deirdre is able to connect it all back to the workplace makes it very beneficial.
We had to map out the journey that we've taken into Kilmarnock using the equipment. It made us all see that we've taken similar journeys to this point.
I would 1500000% recommend coming out to Salta Horses!
Tim Jones, GM of Growing Good at Kilmarnock Enterprises
Wow, what an amazing experience it was.
It was a chance to get up close to something that was larger and much more powerful than me without feeling fear or anxiety. I was asked to do some simple activities that required me to enter into a contract with the horse.
Words like unconditional trust, setting aside any preconceived notions of how we communicate without words and faith in one’s own abilities come to mind when I think about that day.
I gained such a deep understanding of my own processes which were personal and unique.
We were 'used to have a pony as a kid' owners of our newly acquired horse when we were recommended Jacob. He had the experience to handle our greenness as owners along with the good and not so good past history and experiences of our horse.
He taught both us and our horse in the calm, gentle but firm way we were looking for in a trainer who truly loves horses.
We recommend Jacob and attribute much of the great outcome we have had to him.
Melanie Ralph & Michelle Cole
Hawarden, North Canterbury
I had no idea what to expect and did feel a little apprehensive at first.
I'm a bit scared of horses, mostly because I don't know them or understand them, having not been brought up around them. They seemed quite frightening to me because they are so big and powerful.
Seeing the Salta horses at work gave me a new perspective, not only about horses themselves but also about our relationships with them.
But it doesn't stop there, the Salta experience, if you allow it, gives you insight into your relationships with other people as well as animals.
Something in the way we interact with the horses allows us to see who we are as people, how others see us, and, through the response of the horse, how we are accepted for who we are.
The horses just made it for us. I would recommend it to any corporate team that wants to bond.
I have to say the horses have just been fabulous.
The most phenomenonal part of the day is how everything we did today with the horses related exactly back to our workplace. I think specifically for us, because we are in service to people who have at times been marginalised in their lives, there were a lot of paralells to the experiences that these horses have had in their lives beforehand. And working with horses makes you realise that we are all different, we are all unique, and we need to be more inclusive as a society so we can be sure that everyone can participate in a way that they should.
Michelle Sharp, CEO of Kilmarnock Enterprises
Salta Horses was a wonderful experience. The horses are lovely and the team are so welcoming and accepting. Equine therapy made a huge difference to how I feel, not just when I was there but over the following weeks, and I'm sure it will last a long time. Thank you so much!
Some awesome feedback from a young person who has been coming to Salta Horses for several weeks.
I had the privilege of attending an Equine Assisted Learning session hosted by Salta Horses.
Now, I’m really not a horsey person, but it became quickly obvious what wonderful, honest life-guides these amazing creatures truly are.
Watching the opportunity for individuals to safely, gently explore their challenges, and path in life, with their chosen equine partner at their side, was very moving and uplifting. Seeing is believing – you too will be amazed.
Any individual or team will benefit from this unique experience in a wonderfully peaceful rural setting.
Open your mind and perform to your best. I cannot recommend this opportunity more highly.
So I'm Michael Toothill, and I'm the General Manager of Kilmarnock Trust.
So we were driving out here and trying to guess exactly what was happening and where we were going. And when we turned the corner and saw the sign, I thought, "Great, I've heard about this and have never participated, so Wow, something new. What an opportunity."
How did the Salta Horses workshop relate to your work environment?
So, I'm new to Kirmarnock, so for me, today, it's about getting to know the team better. Just getting to know them, and to know how we'll be working together. So that's what I anticipated, well for me, is going to develop more.
As in terms of team building, I've loosely categorised it under that title. I've done a lot of team building, different activities. But to actually include horses as part of team building is definately something new and novel. So I was excited and anticipating something new and different.
I think one of the standouts for Kilmarnock, that I'm developing, is around inclusivity, so, and through the various activities we did, and how horses became part of that, it helped and encouraged us to think, how do we consider others who are different, and how inclusivity can work for me in the workplace? And how do I perceive other people who are different?
What did you personaly take away from today?
For me personally, going away, I know a little bit more about the new team that I've become a part of, and it's really reinforced what I was hoping - they are a very aligned team in a lot of ways, and also there are differences, differences that they celebrate together. And that means for me, I know I can be myself in this new team. I don't have to pretend to come with lots of knowledge and lots of experience, and be amazing. I can be amazing just by being myself.
Michael Toothill, General Manager of Kilmarnock Trust
I'm a little bit nervous around horses! The older horse was very gentle, and seemed to be specially looking out for those who were scared of horses, and one gal who was particularly nervous seemed very proud of herself at the end.
When I'm in situations at work, I'll think back to things we were doing in the arena, and being more thoughtful in things that we are putting into action. And chilling!
Deirdre was quite chilled, like the horses really. I never would have thought about team building with horses, but now it makes sense.
Even for those of us where were a wee bit nervous around horses and things, I think it brings something else out of you, and it probably puts you in a position that perhaps a lot of our employees might be in when they are actually coming in.
Deirdre was great, and the horses were beautiful - and so was Daisy the dog!
Robbi Shearer, GM of training and wellness at Kilmarnock Enterprises
Deirdre was awesome. Her knowledge and her steering the session was fantastic. Really professional, and very understanding and caring.
The location is amazing. The view is spectacular. It's so peaceful and relaxing. The birdlife, and trees, and horses and everything. It speaks to my soul.
I'll be taking Deirdre's card home with me and passing it onto my husband and trying to get him to get a team building session out here!
Sam Fisken, Financial Controller at Kilmarnock