Managers learn from animals
Horse-whispering may soon be the new team-building exercise for delegates attending conferences in the southern lakes region.
"Horse whisperer" Andrew Froggatt, who ran a two-day course at Wanaka's Timber Creek Equestrian Centre at the weekend, said managers of major companies in the North Island were attending horse-whispering courses to learn how to get the best from their staff.
And he was discussing with conference venue managers opportunities to provide similar courses in the Queenstown Lakes District.
New Zealand Post, Icebreaker, the New Zealand Army and Transpower were among the organisations sending staff on horse-whispering courses.
Mr Froggatt, who lives near Wellington, was also working with the All Black and Super 15 rugby coaches, and he had a contract with Sport New Zealand to teach horse-whispering techniques to coaches.
The concept involved learning strong communication and leadership skills, through mutual trust, respect and understanding, and creating an environment in which a horse or a person - could perform to their best.
Horses were a "brilliant" training partner because they responded immediately, indicating whether or not one's handling of a situation was effective, Mr Froggatt said.
He was also working with young people who had got into trouble.
Handling horses was teaching them they would not get anywhere if they got angry.
Overseas, Mr Froggatt said, horses were being used to help victims of abuse learn to touch again and, in the United States, prisoners were breaking in mustang horses and learning that if they ''knocked them around, they'd come off second best''.
Because of the recognition of the success of horse-whispering techniques, his business had diversified into leadership, communication and trouble-shooting, he said.