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Equicoaching, an increasingly professional activity

Through equicoaching, the horse, mirror of human emotions, becomes a collaborator allowing companies to improve the management capacities of their collaborators, and in particular to develop their soft capacities. Increasingly economically viable, and driven by the needs identified during the health crisis, this activity is becoming more professional. How do spike structures form human and equine equicoaches?

If equicoaching is gradually becoming more democratic, this activity is no longer completely new.

Some structures have existed for more than ten years, such as the Equicoaching Academy, founded by Arnaud Camus. “At that time, it was really difficult to sell this project to companies because it was a totally new concept. With the angle of vocational training and management training recognized by the State and eligible for the personal training account (CPF), we have obtained sufficient credibility to be able to develop.”

Equicoaching is now popular with companies because the horse, used as a mediator, is able to reveal and analyze human behavior in seconds. “In its natural state, the horse functions as a mirror to the other, reflecting the person’s own emotions and ways of acting. Equicoaching helps to highlight a person’s resources and weak points to enable them to progress and move forward”, testifies Anne Le Junter, founder of ALJ coaching. “The success of this or that exercise matters little to us. What interests us is what happened, the communication that was created in the group, the posture used… It’s an exercise that marks people because it’s sensory, intuitive and fun. Is there a real emotional release that cannot occur in a room in front of a PowerPoint?” explains Céline Cicuto, founder of Equo-coaching. “At the beginning of the session, it is the meeting of two individuals. We ask the group to classify the horses in their order of preference in order to exercise their instincts,” says Boris Erghott, whose structure, Les Chevals de la Martinière, was born less than a year ago. “And if someone actually feels close to a horse, it’s because the nature or the psychology of the horse corresponds to them or responds to needs or lacks. All this, we decrypt it. We’re really trying to push for cognitive shock. We are here to give them a collective experience that they will remember all their life.”

“We don’t invent an equicoach”, Stéphanie Grenard

Equicoaching session – Equo coaching

© Celine Cicuto

In the world of equicoaching, there is not yet an official diploma recognized by the State, and each structure freely chooses its speakers. At the Equicoaching Academy, there are three types of trainers, each with a particular specificity. “First there are trainers who come from high-level sport, like Karim Laghouag, great champions who have the ability to make people understand and explain what the rigor of performance at the highest level is, and how they managed to reach this level”, explains Arnaud Camus. “Then we have psychologists, graduates of schools recognized by the State and coming from the world of horses, who manage to bring about a decoding of the horse in relation to the person. Finally, we have business managers, who have the ability to make the analogy with what the horse teaches about business.”

For her part, Céline Cicuto, has undergone training at the Haute Ecole de Coaching in order to be able to provide even more in-depth debriefings. “We don’t train our service providers in equi-coaching. If we want to work with people, we work with equicoaches who are already in place? for everything related to working with the horse.” As Stéphanie Grenard, founder of SLE Consulting, points out, “we don’t invent an equicoach. Today it is equicoaches who train in equicoaching. There are some structures specialized in this training but it is not a certifying diploma. It could be useful to create a real diploma, in the sense that it would validate this activity as a real job.” While some leaders require this training to join a group of trainers, others prefer to focus on each person’s skills. “I don’t believe in training in equicoaching,” says Arnaud Camus. “To be relevant, it should train for many years in the psychology, management and analysis of horses.”

“There aren’t really any criteria for selecting horses”, Boris Erghott

As for horses, there are not really any specific selection criteria for this activity. “Obviously, we don’t take whole horses or young horses. Above all, we ask horses to be safe, that they are accustomed, curious and respectful of people”, sums up Céline Cicuto.

“We try to choose structures where the horses can live outside as much as possible. Otherwise, we work with horses of any type: breed, age, activity. We love this variety. Everyone has their own personality, like a human,” says Céline van den Driessche, educational manager at Implitude.

The horses chosen have a life apart from equicoaching. According to specialists, no training exists or is necessary for them. “We are interested in instinct and how the horse can naturally decode you”, testifies Arnaud Camus. “There is no specific training, we don’t want the horse to show an already conditioned response to a stimulus,” adds Céline van den Driessche. “We just want healthy horses that eat well and have that challenging side without being dangerous.” However, as Anne Le Junter explains, “the equicoach has a fundamental role in choosing the horse he will operate on for his client. He must have identified the problems of the company and he knows that in such and such a situation, he will propose a horse which highlights the resources and limits that will have to be confronted. Its role is to pay particular attention to both physical and emotional security. You can push people to their limits, but never all the way.”

Most of these structures are still young. And the health crisis has somehow encouraged their current development. “The need to reconnect with oneself, with others, to create links, to find oneself, to change things… All of his problems and this need for meaning have been an accelerator for the services we offer”, added Céline van den? Driessche.

Laurent Levrard, human resources director for the Sud Île-de-France region at Suez, shared his experience, lived a year ago with the Horses and Coaching structure: “It was a decision of the company and the all managers to monitor this performance. I was in favor of this experience from the start and it marked me enormously. The first exercise was to get the horse moving. There’s a huge parallel between leading people and getting that horse moving. The facilitator had told us that we were going to learn more about ourselves than about the horse in question. When you’re at the right distance for it to pick up the information, you get what you want. It’s a real questioning of the right proportion in our gestures. Like when you lead a team, if the gesture is too powerful and too strong right away, you can no longer increase in power in the event of a crisis. What the trainer told me was totally right, so when something comes out in such a context, the advantage is that we remember it and we manage to modify its behavior. It’s as if you had a mirror in front of you: the horse serves as your mirror. It tells you who you are and how you are. It is absolutely not about him that you will learn but about yourself thanks to him.

As you will have understood, equicoaching is on the rise, and all the elements seem to be in place for this activity to continue to become more professional.

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