Explore herdship

From leadership.is ….

In the past months I have been contemplating the use of leadership in connection to horses. I see a number of different perspectives on it – and many of them don’t fit my thinking and most of them probably miss something of the real proces going on in a horse herd… 

There are still those who equate leadership to dominance, to being the boss, to making sure the horse does what you want… this has its limits when we think about horses and when it is coupled with “coaching” of people it perpetuates the type of “leadership” that has, thankfully, died out in many organisations in 2018 … 

Then there are those who simply say leadership has no place in a horse herd or a horse human relationship – my hunch when I listen to them is that they don’t believe in the leadership that the first group tries to popularise – and of course they are right … that type of behaviour is not horse behaviour – and typically, fortunately, it isn’t the behaviour of humans in a group either. 

A third option is to compare modern ideas of leadership to a horse herd, I see many similarities, just as the notion of alpha leaders in the work place is becoming less and less common, the notion that there are alpha leaders in a horse herd is also loosing ground… if we see leadership as a proces which combines moves of leading and following by all participating in the process, it makes as much sense to see that in a horse to horse and horse to human relationship as in a human to human relationship. This sees leadership as a distributed process rather than the actions of one person (or horse) – it does away with the myth of the lead mare and the driving stallion or the powerful leader. 

And still something was not sitting right with me … I wondered if the third way also asked for a third word ….