The importance of this was really brought home to me on a two and a half hour horse trek around Runaway Bay, Jamaica in April of this year.
It was one of the most memorable holiday activities and, I have to say not something I was particularly looking forward to, but it did make me appreciate the importance of really knowing your team, the individuals, their strengths, foibles and moods.
So without further ado let me introduce you to the six horses that we were paired up with:
- Winston: – the alpha male who carried ‘Uncle Tim’
- Verbena: – the alpha female who carried me (check spelling of name)
- Bunny: – who carried my daughter
- Pretty Boy:- who carried my nephew
- Shi’a ne: – who carried my sister Jackie
- Xxxxxx:- who carried my sister Bianca
To these six horses and our two guides I want to say a heartfelt and deeply appreciative ‘thank you’. We were six largely inexperienced and certainly at the start pretty nervous riders, with the exception of Bianca and ‘Uncle Tim’.
So on the 17th April 2014, after ten minutes at most of instruction about going left, right and generally getting the horses to move – we set of riding ‘cowboy style’. There were no hard hats or other safety gear in sight so we really were in the hands of six on the whole extraordinarily well behaved and patient horses.
I guess from the owner’s point of view they had to be, he had to know which horse was best to lead, which two had to be kept apart. As it happened Verbena and Winston weren’t getting on too well that day (Verbena did seem intent on ‘winding’ him up).
The owner also somehow managed to match each horse with the right person, especially important as our party included two fairly young children.
This was a big deal for me as I was completely focused on Verbena and therefore not in a position to provide any real assistance if it had been needed. We had to trust the horses and the owner’s judgement and skill in handling his team.
We had to rely and trust in the experience and patience of his six horses so that they would by in large convey us safely through scrub and bush.
So in my view any organisation that can develop this level of trust and knowledge within its teams must be doing pretty well.
PS I’m afraid not one of us can remember the name of the sixth horse……..