University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Equine Guided Leadership Education Research

Click Here for video "Learning from Horses"

Click Here to read Equine Guided Leadership Education: Leveraging Somatic Intelligence in Learning Leadership Competencies

Collaborating With Horses to Develop Emotional Intelligence In Expert Nurses

 In November 2012, researchers from the University of Kentucky's Center for Leadership Development and UK Healthcare completed a pilot study titled The Effectiveness of Equine Guided Leadership Education (EGLE) to Develop Emotional Intelligence in Expert Nurses.. This pioneering research was conducted at Pine Knoll Farm in Lexington, KY. The basic premise of EGLE is that horses provide in-the-moment feedback about leadership skills, and therefore allow the development of insights that can be applied both in a participant's professional and personal lives.

The study’s objective was to explore innovative ways to develop emotional intelligence skills in expert nurses. This includes competency in the areas of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management, which create effective professional relationships and are critical to running safe, efficient and high performance hospital units.Photo of horse

The study compared the before and after emotional intelligence assessment scores ( TalentSmart® EQ Appraisal: The ME Edition ) of both a control group (10 nurses) and an intervention group (11 nurses). . Those nurses who attended thw one day workshop with the horses also completed a qualitative survey that provide additional information on the types of emotional intelligence skills they acquired while working with the horses.

The encouraging results of this study will lay the ground work for similar studies in the future. This study was funded by The College of AGriculture, Food and Environment's Research Activities Award, the CFLD and the  Dorothy Brockopp Nursing  Research Award. PLEASE MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION TO THIS PIONEERING RESEARCH! NO DONATION IS TOO SMALL. Contributions will be used solely for the purpose of research in Equine Guided Leadership Education.

Click Here to access full research report

Click on the photo below to contribute to the EGLE Research Fund.

EGLE Fund photo


If you would rather send a check  please make it out to ‘University of Kentucky’
and in the memo line put  “EGLE Research Fund” mail to:

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                                                  
Assistant Director                                              
Center for Leadership Development                                  
710 Garrigus Building                                                           
Lexington, KY 40546

Other Equine Assisted Learning Programs and Associations:

Equine Experiential Education Association (E3A)

Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA)

Equine Guided Education Association (EGEA)

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH)

EPONAQUEST Worldwide  

The Horse Institute

Horse Sense of the Carolinas



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.

2008 Kenton County Report

2009 Kenton County Report