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BuildingBlock (tm) 

BuildingBlock™ is a Leadership and Personal Development Program that has the ability to transform lives and evolve teams. Equine Assisted Learning(EAL) is an experiential style of learning and facilitates developing life skills through positive interactions with horses.  The standard form of delivery was proven in a 5-year study conducted by UofR, UofS, and UofC with irrefutable results. Essential life skills are developed by working with horses through ground work – No Riding Required and No Horse Experience Necessary! 


Individuals work within a team dynamic to complete objectively driven exercises designed to encourage teamwork with collaboration, cooperation and communication. The learner based lessons inspire self-awareness, esteem and confidence through validated hands-on experience, personal reflection and self-evaluation.

In This Program We Will Cover...

1: Orientation

Objective – Understanding the Teacher

This will be the participant’s first introduction to Equine Assisted Learning (EAL), explaining what they will be doing and why we work with horses. This will also be what establishes ground rules for the arena as well as safety and housekeeping. Participants will learn how to understand the ways that their teachers “talk” which is essential for all the programs to come!

2: Starting The Journey

Objective – Building a Relationship

Today the participants are learning about what is expected with EAL. They will learn about heard behaviour and their similarities to human behaviour. This is the beginning of their personal journey. Participants learn safety in regard to horsemanship, but then also, learn the importance of building a strong relationship and developing trust. They will work on handling a horse safely which includes listening and practicing how to safely approach. Participants will go through a variety of obstacles to learn about leading and stopping their horse, and how to groom and interact with their horses. In addition to working on developing their horse skills, they will continue to build relationships with their horses and teammates as well as develop the necessary teamwork skills.

3: Circuit Training

Objective – Skill Development

Today the clients will work on increasing and developing their horsemanship skills and handling a horse safely, including listening and practicing how to safely approach. The clients will go through a variety of obstacles learning about leading and stopping their horse, how to groom and interact with their horse, and how to use “pressure and release” to move their horse. Not only will the clients develop their horse skills during this program, they will continue to strengthen the relationships with their horses and teammates, to develop these teamwork skills.

4: Push Me Pull You

Objective – Communication

Participants are divided into teams and challenged to work through the different stations to learn the ‘Objective’ of Communication. In order to find success, the participants need to communicate effectively and work together. They are encouraged to discuss different options. Each team’s horse has two lead ropes attached to it’s halter; one long and one short. The goal is to get teams to think about what they have to do as a unit in order to complete each task. Teams were given several rules for today’s courses; no double grabbing (only one hand on the lead rope), no flower picking (the horse picking at the flowers or losing track of the goal), no loopy on the ground (lead rope cannot touch the ground), and no stepping over the rails (this also includes the horse). It is important to remember the rules when attempting to complete each obstacle because it helps participants focus on the objective and encourages teamwork and communication.

5: Who’s The Brain

Objective – Articulation and Active Listening

Work in Teams of 3 with one horse. Each team member is assigned a role (and rotated positions throughout the programs); the brain, the right hand or the left hand. The brain has to direct the two hands in order to guide the team through the obstacles. Only the brain is permitted to talk, and can not use their hands to point, direct or guide their teammates. The team members that are the hands were not allowed to speak and can only follow instructions given by the brain as hands cannot think. If the participants forget about a rule they are given a reminder clip to reiterate the rules. The goal is to challenge the participants’ listening and communication skills. Hands demonstrate active listening without anticipating, in order to complete a task given to them by their brain, and the brain has to ensure they are articulating instructions in a way that is clear to their teammates.

6: Common Sense

Objective – Problem Solving

What is common sense and how can we use it to solve problems? The obstacles are set up in a way that each team has to make a decision based on common sense in order to be successful and safe with their horses. This encourages teams to discuss their options and formulate a plan. The debriefing at the end of the session includes a discussion on the day’s activities which always includes paralleling back to people and everyday life.

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