A personal development business north of Otaki,where people interact with horses, is getting the best out of people.
Lead The Way, in Manakau, spearheaded by Andrew Froggatt and partner Sam Glazebrook, who have been involved with horses since they were youngsters, has had numerous sporting and corporate people attend their courses.
The pair teach leadership and personal development skills via ground-based exercises with horses, which in turn enables people to learn more about themselves.
Participants, who have included All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, former Black Cap paceman Shane Bond, Silver Ferns leadership group, to Wellington Zoo personnel and many more, go through various exercises with their assigned horses, view video footage of their interactions, before using the confidence they have built up with their horse to guide them through a confidence course.
Elements of individual's interactions with their horse are narrowed down and then analysed in terms of how it would relate to the workforce and bring out the best in others.
The atmosphere is informal and homely, enabling people to open up more than they would in an office environment, and there's often a bit of banter among participants especially as everyone's style is different.
"The whole point it to shake up work relationships and do it differently, so people are better when they get back to the office, and there's a change," Sam said.
"And it's really good for team building because it's such a different experience."
Andrew, author of The Horse Whisperer, - not the one made into a movie - said the video analysis was very powerful.
"You can't make change unless you are aware of it."
He said horses acted as an emotional mirror giving honest and immediate feedback on peoples' communication, relationship building skills and leadership style.
The courses were about getting the basics done right, he said, noting successful teams, such as the All Blacks, who were an example where the little things were done well. Sam said what the pair was teaching wasn't rocket science, rather teaching in new ways that made people more aware.
"We get so busy in life looking at the big picture but forget to double-check the basics are good." Andrew said the courses, aimed at troubled youngsters too, were getting a lot of positive feedback.
"It's very empowering and everyone leaves on a high."