CHANCE HARBOUR – Heading on a path to self-discovery may not be something someone expects to do with a horse.
Lesley Elchuck, “Sweetie” and Heather Tulloch are preparing for a women’s retreat at Sumac Farms this weekend with Unbridled Leadership, focusing on giving women a “spa for the mind.” AMANDA JESS – THE NEWS
However, self-awareness is exactly what Heather Tulloch and Lesley Elchuck teach on a regular basis at Unbridled Leadership in Chance Harbour.
Normally it’s to groups from professional organizations. This weekend, they’re switching things up and holding a retreat just for a small group of women at Sumac Farms.
“It’s a spa for the mind,” Elchuck said, one of the founders of Unbridled Leadership.
The business facilitates workshops with horses that are meant to teach its participants about their outward behaviour and help them become better leaders.
They do this through combining Equine Assisted Learning, pairing horses and humans for teaching purposes, and the Insights Discovery model, a program that helps organizations improve how their team works together.
One of the reasons Unbridled Leadership incorporates horses into their leadership workshops is because the animals are so self-aware.
Tulloch said humans tend to get stuck in the past or look ahead to the future whereas horses enjoy the moment. Horses don’t hold grudges, she said, and that’s what humans can take from them.
“This is an opportunity to stop and look on the inside.”
They’ve received a lot of positive feedback about their workshops since opening last year and wanted to head in a new direction.
They hope to offer the retreat annually.
On Saturday, participants will start the day with yoga conducted by Leanne Burrows from Pictou County Yoga Studio.
“It’s about being present and in the moment,” Tulloch said.
As well as interacting with horses, women will hear from Dr. Lisa McNiven, a naturopathic doctor in Stellarton, about how positivity affects health and how to choose your reactions.
“Women have so many things to deal with,” Elchuck said about why the retreat is offered only to females, elaborating that they’re often juggling their jobs, work in the home as well as cultural stereotypes.
It’s especially beneficial to women because it gives them a chance to be the most authentic version of themselves, Tulloch said, adding that they’re often putting on different personas for each social situation.
“When you’re with the horse, you’re out of your comfort zone,” she said, adding that you’re “laid bare.”
One exercise they’ll be doing involves directing a horse without talking or touching it. Instead, participants have to use their body language to convey what they want.
Afterwards, they’ll tie the interaction back to daily life.
It’s meant to show how you relate to other people as well as teach you about your own strengths and weaknesses, they said.
“If you don’t understand you, then you can’t be an adept communicator,” Elchuck said.
The retreat is only accepting 10 women so as to provide each person with more individualized time.
It runs from 9:30 a.m. until about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda