Therapy Horses

Horse-Centered Leadership Program Opens in New Mexico

The Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe offers the Equus Experience to clients focused on team-building and leadership.

The Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is offering a new experience for leadership and team-building groups.

The 57-acre property, which overlooks the Rio Grande River Valley at the base of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez mountains, is now home to five horses and a donkey. Guests can participate in the Equus Experience, a new program that uses equines to help human participants work on confidence building, trust, and self-discovery. The program is led by equine learning facilitators Kelly Wendorf and Scott Strachan and their team, and sessions can range from three hours to a multi-day course. Groups of up to 40 attendees can work with the horses on customized exercises that help participants establish connections, learn to trust, and practice leadership and listening with unspoken communication.

The program opened in late February and so far has been popular with corporate groups staying in the 65-room resort. Peter Falke, director of sales and marketing, says, “What I have found planners to be intrigued by is having a productive program and giving people the opportunity to advance productivity for their group but also for self improvement. There is an appetite and thirst from the meetings community to do something different in terms of leadership, self discovery, and team building.”

The Equus program is based in what was formerly known as “the Goodnight House,” the former residence of a local artist and also the resort’s founder, Betty Egan. Falke suggests the program has become popular so quickly because meeting planners are looking for ways to accomplish team building and implement leadership programs without forcing attendees to sit in a classroom for three days. For groups who would like to do both, Rancho Encantado has a 700-square-foot boardroom and the 2,500-square-foot Aspen ballroom, as well as four indoor-outdoor patio or terrace function rooms for intimate meetings or large seminars. Another unusual feature available for groups at the resort is a teepee that can accommodate 20 for yoga or meditation sessions.


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