Collaborating With Horses to Develop Emotional Intelligence
In May of 2013 The Center for Leadership Development (CFLD) completed a pilot research study on The Effectiveness of Equine Guided Leadership Education (EGLE) to Develop Emotional Intelligence in Expert Nurses. This was a two year intercollegiate collaboration between CFLD researchers, Patricia Dyk, PhD. and Lissa Pohl, MA., and University of Kentucky Healthcare's nurse researchers, Carol Noriega, RN, MSN, CEN, Janine Lindgreen, APRN and Robyn Cheung, PhD., RN.
This pilot study is one of the first of its kind to explore how working with horses can develop emotional intelligence (EQ) in humans. The project included a control group of 10 expert nurses from the Neuroscience Surgery Service Line and an intervention group consisting of 11 expert nurses from the Trauma and Acute Care Surgical Service Line at UK Chandler Hospital. Nurses in the intervention group participated in a one day workshop consisting of a facilitated process with five different horses. All the exercises were performed on the ground and no previous experience was necessary to participate. Each exercise was designed to develop the following EQ competencies: self-awareness; self-management; social awareness; and relationship management. Both groups took the online TalentSmart® EQ Appraisal: The ME Edition before the EGLE workshop took place with the intervention group and again six months after the first assessment was taken. Nurses from the intervention group also filled out qualitative surveys immediately after their experience with the horses and again three months after the workshop. A comparative analysis of the before and after EQ scores of both groups was conducted as well as a thematic analysis of the qualitative surveys completed by the nurses in the intervention group.
The results of our pre and post data analysis showed that there was an increase in the mean change scores of the intervention group in all four EQ competency areas in comparison to the control group. However, the small number of participants in the study makes it difficult to conclude that working with the horses was the cause of this increase in EQ scores in the intervention group. All four EQ competency areas were mentioned in the qualitative surveys with self-awareness and the power of body language being mentioned most frequently.
These initial results are encouraging and lay the groundwork for subsequent studies of larger and more diverse populations of expert nurses using a more rigorous longitudinal design.
This study was funded by the Dorothy Brockopp Nursing Research Award, the College of Agriculture Research Activities Award and with the generous support of Winning With Horsepower's online fundraising campaign. See below for more information on contributing to this pioneering research.
Read the full EGLE Research Report (pdf)
For more on this concept click here: EGLE: Putting Physical Intelligence Back In Learning Leadership Competencies
YOU CAN SUPPORT THIS IMPORTANT RESEARCH BY MAKING A TAX DEDUCTIBLE CONTRIBUTION.
Under 'Other fund name:' Write in “Attn: Marci Hicks – EGLE Research Fund”
If you would rather send a check please make it out to ‘University of Kentucky’
and in the memo line put “EGLE Research Fund”
Attn: Marci Hicks
UK College of Agriculture Development Office
ES Good Barn
1451 University Drive
Lexington, KY 40546-0097
If you are interested in how your organization can participate in future research please contact:
Lissa Pohl, MA OR Dr. Patricia Dyk, Director
Program & Outreach Associate Center for Leadership Development
Center for Leadership Development 709 Garrigus Building
710 Garrigus Building Lexington, KY 40546
Lexington, KY 40546
Other Equine Assisted Learning Programs and Associations:
Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) www.eagala.org
Equine Guided Education Association (EGEA) www.equineguidededucation.org
Equine Experiential Education Association (E3A) www.e3assoc.org
Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association (EFMHA) at National American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) www.narha.org
EPONA Equestrian Services www.taoofequus.com
The Horse Institute www.thehorseinstitute.com
Horse Sense of the Carolinas www.horsesenseotc.com
Kenton County Youth Leadership Development
Thanks to funding from W. Norris Duvall Endowment for Youth Leadership, Ethics and Service, the Kenton County Youth Leadership Development project was launched in the fall of 2006 in collaboration with Kenton County School District and the University of Kentucky’s Center for Leadership Development. The purpose of the project was to examine whether enhancing high school students’ intrinsic leadership skills benefit young people on an individual basis. The study also aimed to determine the impact students’ attitudes toward their leadership abilities had on their school and community involvement in clubs, sports and other extra-curricular activities. The project has been ongoing for a total of four years with an average of 600 students participating each year. Technical reports have been provided annually to offer feedback on the status of student leadership and recommendations suggested to the school district on how leadership programs can be strengthened. Students also increased their knowledge and gained experience in serving as evaluators and program managers. They helped interpret data and gave input on designing school and community-based leadership development programs. The project has helped present Kenton County as a pioneer in assessing how a more meaningful, student-centered learning environment can be created at the high school level. The superintendent has been recognized for his efforts and commitment to empowering students as leaders. In 2009, he was named Kentucky’s Superintendent of the Year.