The rescue decided to think outside the stall with its LeadChange Colorado program, which generates thousands of dollars in just a few hours!
How They Did It
CHR’s Director of Development, Shawna English, said rescued horses are used to facilitate leadership development and team-building experiences for businesses and corporations.
Groups spend the day trading workplace pressures and deadlines for the beauty and fresh air of the CHR Ranch. All exercises take place on the grounds and are specifically designed to help visitors work together to accomplish a common goal, which might range from addressing dysfunction within the team to creating camaraderie within a brand-new team or developing leadership skills in managers.
“When I approached corporations about supporting CHR, I was met with the response that their focus was on human health and welfare. That’s when I decided to devise a strategy where businesses needed us. Now, I can contact an HR department and offer an engaging team-building experience that will uniquely improve employee communication and company productivity,” English explained.
The strategy is two-fold: The rescue increases revenue while engaging a new demographic of people. LeadChange started four years ago, and since then has had hundreds of participants, English said.
LeadChange is promoted primarily online through the rescue’s LinkedIn page and website, as well as through the local Chamber of Commerce and other venues.
Horses in the program have not yet entered the adoption process, so it gives value to untrained and unrideable or companion horses – and also allows horses to be handled who might otherwise be standing in a pasture untouched.
Now You Try It
If you’re interested in doing a program like LeadChange, English says you may face skepticism from potential clients. “CEOs, department heads and MBA students have all told me that before they did the program, they could not understand what they could learn from horses, yet were amazed at the learning that took place,” she noted.
She also suggests a first step of looking at the certification courses on equine-assisted learning offered by O.K. Corral.
“I think it is important for each organization to look at their own strengths and what they may uniquely have to offer,” English said. “What has made LeadChange successful is not my knowledge of horses, but the understanding of how one builds relationships in the workplace, energizes teams and develops leaders.”