DAVIDSON, N.C. -- A horse as a teacher? A Davidson farm is working to empower women by teaching them to really be themselves, and the horse is their guide.
Kris Batcherlor is a horse specialist at Triple Play Farms.
“Ok, so I’m going to go ahead and halter him up and then we'll walk him out there together,” she said before bringing a horse to a pen during a recent workshop.
Ellen Yale, a working mother of two, took the day off to go to school. The classroom is the peaceful 14-acre Davidson farm, but her teacher is Monarch—a horse.
“The goal is really to use the relationship with the horse to learn something about yourself,” Batcherlor said of equine learning.
Horses, she said, see right through people.
“They are more honest than most of us and all other animals,” Batcherlor noted. They are incredibly intuitive, she says, and call you out if you're not being real.
During the class, Ellen is tested as she has to get Monarch to move around the pen. At first, the mohawked beauty stood his ground. He only goes when he truly believes she means it.
“You might learn something about your communication style, the way you build relationships, whether your body language sends the message that you think it sends and they hopefully were able to connect the dots to where that might be relevant in other areas of your life,” Batcherlor added.
Educator Rosie Molinary teams with Batcherlor in hosting the workshops and gestures to the pen.
“This is sort of like a non-judgmental lab, so when you come out here, you realize ‘Oh, I can experiment with some of these things and figure out who I am. And then I get really positive feedback for being who I am,” Molinary said.
For Yale, the busy mother of two, it was clearly a lesson learned.
“[It] really reinforced that I need to pay more attention to just being there and being who I am,” she said.
“What we hope is that participants walk away with this idea of seeing themselves the way the horse sees you,” said Batcherlor. “And all these horses are willing to see you as competent and able to lead if you’re willing.”
The women host several workshops at Triple Play Farms throughout the year, including some designed especially for young girls.