Leadership is NOT a Wardrobe Issue

Leadership is NOT a Wardrobe Issue. Considering starting a business with horses? or Perhaps you have been building a business over the years and need some inspiration?

This book was a delightful surprise for me. Nancy’s knowledge and approach to horses and horsemanship is complete and thoughtful. She then applies this awareness and understanding to her leadership programs. Her explanations and exercises are concise and creative. She caused me to think about these parallels in my own non-verbal horse/human communications. I definitely learned something, and hope that Nancy will not mind if I occasionally borrow some of her words in my clinics. Highly recommended.
Ellen Eckstein, CA, USA – Bringing it Together

choose print or digital

Leadership is NOT a Wardrobe Issue covers 4 areas

• The Business of offering Leadership with Horses,
• how an indepth knowledge of Horses & Horsemanship has influenced the work of The Natural Leader;
• Activities to complement your programs with lesson plans, coaching conversations and the lessons learned along the way;
• Coachable Moments – this section applies to those one-on-one conversations with horsemanship concepts. Coachable Moments draws from the experience Nancy has gained starting horses over the years connecting the two through questions.

What you will find in more than 100 pages of
Leadership is NOT a Wardrobe Issue?

Why Does it take a Lifetime to Learn?
• The Idea for this book
• It’s not a One Size Fits All Deal
• How Did you Get Here?
• What is the one thing you want participants to walk away with?
• An Invitation

Applying Horsemanship Principles to Leadership
• What is Horsemanship?
• Interpreting Behavior
• A Horse’s Perspective

Benefits of Leadership through Experiential Learning
• Experiential Learning
• What is a better Question?
• The Awareness Wheel
• Critical thinking
• Feeling vs Acting
• Emotional Intelligence
• W.A.I.T.
• Safety first

The Business of Creating Great Programs 
• Why Leadership Development programs fail
• Barriers to Success
• Providing Value
• What TED can offer
• Things Learned Along the Way
• How can this book help you?

In lesson plan format with Notes from the Arena – lessons learned along the way delivering leadership work

Coachable Moments
Whether you are doing one-on-one work or working with an individual within a group. Sometimes you need to pull out a specific concept or idea that will resonate for that individual.


Leadership is NOT a Wardrobe Issue Nancy will provide any additional supporting materials to help you get to the next step.

eBook – digital download

prices are in Canadian dollars; Canadian clients GST will apply.

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In Business to Define

Creating a business with horses?

“In Business to Define is quite simply the ONE business book I would recommend for all EFP/EAL businesses to get clear on the essentials they need to move forward. It cleanly and clearly states the ‘what’, ‘why” & ‘how” of defining key elements most often overlooked. Nancy has done a great service to the community with this little gem.”

Thanks for writing it. I will be putting it down as a Key Biz Resource for 2012….it’s really well-done. Congrats!” Shannon Knapp Founder/President, Horse Sense of the Carolinas, Inc.

Starting up your equine related business or simply trying to grow an existing one? In Business to Define is designed to complement your business and marketing plan with specific details on how to get crystal clear on your ideal client.

Looking for more reference tools? Check out The Games People Play with Horses and Creating Exceptional Leaders through Learning with Horses.

eBook >> $29.95

Facilitators Guide Creating Exceptional Leaders through Learning with Horses

Facilitators Guide Creating Exceptional Leaders through Learning with Horses – one or two day program outline.

Download an excerpt of Creating Exceptional Leaders

Creating Exceptional Leaders through Learning with Horses. The Facilitator’s Guide reflects our learnings from four years of programs partnering the concepts from The Leadership Challenge® with activities with horses. Presented at The Leadership Challenge Forum in Chicago August 2009.

eBook – $79.95 Cdn. 

Looking for more reference tools? Check out The Games People Play with Horses and In Business to Define


The Games People Play with Horses

Our first publication The Games People Play with Horses – a series of activities in lesson planning format.

A two Volume series of activities for effective learning with equines. Each Volume contains the combined wisdom of five different practitioners of experiential learning with horses providing 16 different activities in lesson planning format.

eBooks Volume 1&2 Two eBooks

$64.95 +Taxes where applicable.

Looking for more reference tools? Check out In Business to Define a guide to marketing your equine business and Creating Exceptional Leaders through Learning with Horses a facilitators guide to developing a 1 or 2 day program.


I am not one for making New Years Resolutions, mostly because what I hear seem like empty promises. The yoga studio is full in January something I know will change in the coming weeks.

Each ride, every program I am looking to fine tune one of my actions as I recognize and better understand my own behaviours. So rather than a resolution, this is more of a confessional.

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Hitting the Dirt

Ever had that conversation that could have gone better? What you could have done differently or should have said that just might have changed the outcome?

or as a fine horseman once suggested being able to recognize: “What happened, before what happened, happened?” ¹

Well, it happened! Fortunately the spring dirt is relatively soft so with a quick scan that all body parts were intact, I picked myself up, gathered up the reins of the horse still staring in mortal fear at the object and got ready to get back on. The older I get the more I wish I’d listened to what the horse had been telling me before they had to scream.

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Circles in the Snow

Winter is a fabulous time to ride. No bugs!
However, without the luxury of an indoor arena, winter riding is not for the faint of heart. From the brown Michelan Man resemblance I take on to warming the bit before offering it to the horse, heading out requires preparation. It is an endeavour for the committed.

The colder weather also means, the section of cultivated land across the road becomes my outdoor riding arena. There is little to stop the view, stubble rows and piles of chaf become landmarks to weave through and go around the beauty is I can ride without the extreme hazard of snow covered holes.

Despite the number of times we may have crossed the road – there is always opportunity for something interesting to happen. On this particular day the land and sky were a seamless light blue grey. It gives you a feeling of floating as if in some middle world, at least it felt that way until a large truck broke the horizon 3 or 4 kilometers away.

The minute change in scenery interrupted the flow and Sydney became fixated on the distant object inching its way through the grey. The seemingly insignificant altered our ride from a pleasant amble to one where I had to quickly establish a common focus. What I could assume was simply explaining it was only a truck wouldn’t be enough for her. I had to be able to communicate in a way that had meaning to her, otherwise there was little between us and home to slow the energy of my fondly named, TankGirl. I needed to get her focused, engaged, relaxed and thinking!

You might remember me suggesting that horses are not good with change. The instinctual response to change is perceived threat. Sydney’s ONLY thought at that point was get back to the safety of the herd. I had to establish a comfort zone for her where I was her support in our herd of two. Circles are a good way to get your horse focused and relaxed while keeping their feet moving and mind engaged. So circles in the snow it became.

Winter snow offers a brilliant tool for measuring progress. Our fist attempts were anything but circular, as we both started to focus on what the outcome could be the track in the snow began to round and narrow. The truck continued to inch it’s way along the five kilometers of the horizon but I now had Sydney’s attention focused on the task at hand. As I gave her something to do it, a purpose, that in turn offered relief from the pending “threat” the change on the horizon presented. It helped us both regain confidence.

While the actual change minuscule, the perceived change and emotional impact was huge.

As everything about horsemanship and leadership is connected, the experience had me thinking about the chaos that change can inflict on the workplace. Like a horse we are naturally wired to react and resist change. The truck on the horizon demonstrated how easily a very minor change without the right communication can get blown out of proportion triggering the fright and flight mode in an organization.

No matter how many times I’ve encountered a tense moment on horseback I have to consciously remind myself that I have the experience, I have the skill and I have the knowledge to handle the situation. Each time the connection is easier, but like leadership the challenge with horsemanship is we can absolutely know what we need to do, but we must remember to carry it in how we respond. It is our actions that influence the change we would like to see.

It is that conscious awareness that will determine the outcome. I have to admit it is easier said than done, but with practice it starts to flow faster and most importantly when I encounter a change I really don’t know how to manage. I am more than willing to engage the experience of others. It just makes sense.

A Ringside Seat

For two days I had been working hard at achieving the flow of the activity, but the goal of a soft feel and fluid motion remained elusive. As Jack and I continued to muddle around the arena, a voice came from outside fence “Would you mind if I made an observation?”

I had to stop and turn to where the voice came from as it was certainly not one I knew. “Please”, I responded as I was pretty sure any suggestion could improve on where we were at. With a single question, what had been painfully obvious to others was finally clear to me. The difference in outcome, nothing short of remarkable.

I was riding in a clinic with horsemanship master Buck Brannaman, but it was my ringside consultant who opened up the greatest possibilities for me that weekend. As horsemanship is all about our own behaviours, it was Chris’ simple suggestion that had helped me to adjust mine. The Zen saying: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” fits as that one observation has lead to an ongoing dialogue with a friend willing to share his experience and wisdom.

While it may simply be a case of semantics, a term or a title can be everything. I was beginning to believe I was uncoachable however, being mentored is totally appealing. Founded in Greek Mythology, even the word mentor conjures up an image of admiration. Off to fight a two decade long war, Odysseus left his son Telemachus in the charge of faithful friend Mentor, to raise his son to be an honourable, truthful and courageous man.

Corey Olynik captures that appeal in his book “The Mentor’s Mentor”. The first chapter One Conversation Many Installments introduces the concept beautifully. Olynik’s view is the Mentor plays many roles through that Conversation. A role that begins as a Confidante and listens without judgement; is a Role Model with the experience to share, a Guide to help a protege see things for herself, a Tutor to facilitate learning, a Coach to bring accountability to the relationship and ultimately the overarching role of a Sage who keeps his eye on the vision.

Since that day last summer our conversations have covered many topics family, death, politics, the environment, the weather with a thread that always returns to horsemanship. Chris has some wonderful experience to share and his suggestions have greatly enhanced my learning and progress, he has asked the tough questions that make me think about my next step and overall he understands the ultimate goal we both seek in our relationship with our horse.

I have found yet one more Mentor to my horsemanship and leadership journey. Chris, it has been an unexpected and fun conversation, with what I hope to be many installments yet to come. Thank you.