Heritage Ranch program uses horses to help business colleagues communicate better

A new program geared to the corporate world has galloped into Heritage Ranch.

A new program geared to the corporate world has galloped into Heritage Ranch.

The Unleashed Team Building Experience uses the equestrian centre’s own horses to help colleagues communicate better for stronger and more interactive business teams in the office.

“The program takes multiple important things when it comes to understanding how to co-operate and succeed as a group and gels it all together out in the arena,” said Alan Getz, Heritage Ranch’s on site-facilitator of the new program. “It really brings out the value in listening skills, admitting mistakes, asking questions, watching your body language . . . Things like that.”

Things that are also crucial when it comes to thriving in the corporate world, added Getz.

And the best part?

“The horses don’t judge anyone.”

The program, developed and customized to each group by Getz himself, was launched at Heritage Ranch for the first time near the end of March.

Since then, they’ve worked with about one group a week on average, said Getz. They’re more than ready to take on more.

While there are other team building workshops with horses available around Central Alberta, Heritage Ranch’s program is one of a kind.

“A lot of the time, the groups will have to drive out to a ranch then meet in a conference setting somewhere else beforehand and afterwards to debrief,” said Getz. “I wanted something not only affordable but also a one stop shop — lunch too. We do that here . . . It’s relaxing and more enjoyable that way.”

Groups generally complete two horse activities in a day, said Getz. There’s a formal talk on safety and discussions about what they learned throughout the day as well.

It’s $95 per person for half a day, $195 for a full day and $295 for two days.

The idea for the program came from Getz’s own past experiences as a counselor in drug and alcohol treatment centres and his passion for horses (Getz was raised on a guest ranch in Langley, B.C. and was training horses by the time he was 13).

He said he knew first hand how valuable horses can be when it comes to human behavior and learning about trust.

“The equine team building has the highest return on investment in any team building approach on the market today,” said Getz, quoting a three year research study undertaken in the United States.

The United States military even uses equine team building strategies, he added.

Rick Burton, a commercial banking area manager for BMO Bank of Montreal, signed up his colleagues for Unleashed as soon as heard Heritage Ranch had such a program.

“We’re in the middle of merging two teams into one, so this was a perfect opportunity to really break the ice,” said Burton, who lives in Camrose. “It was great. I feel like we’ve laid out a foundation now, we’re comfortable asking questions of each other.”

Getz won’t comment too much on the details of what Unleashed is all about (he doesn’t want to ruin it for any potential attendees). But he did mention a big learning curve for everyone was setting up an obstacle course for Spike, a buckskin fjord cross horse. Without touching or talking, they had to get Spike to step over a certain object at the end of the course.

Getz said he plans on seeing the program grow and would one day like to even expand it.

“Maybe down the road I’ll do individual equine therapy sessions for those struggling with addictions or something like that,” he said.

rfrancoeur@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

The Sylvan Lake Gulls celebrate a sixth inning home run from Nolan Weger on Sunday during a game against the Edmonton Prospects. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Historic opening weekend for Sylvan Lake Gulls

It wasn’t perfect, but perhaps that was the beauty of it. Fans… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

Three Hills RCMP recovered stolen copper wire during recent investigation near Kneehill. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Fatal ATV rollover near Innisfail Saturday

A 77-year-old man from Red Deer County died Saturday after an ATV… Continue reading

Firefighters and emergency services workers helped celebrate Barry Young’s 85th birthday at Timberstone Mews on May 29. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters in central Alberta make birthdays special

A fire truck arriving outside your house is not normally good news.… Continue reading

A view of Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park is shown in this undated handout photo. More Canadians are expected to leave their passports at home this summer and hit the road in Canada as the weak loonie and low gas prices prompt a deeper exploration of their own country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Travel Alberta *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Report: Alberta losing residents to other parts of Canada

As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly winds down in Alberta, residents are continuing… Continue reading

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Germany's Robin Gosens, left, celebrates Germany's Mats Hummels after scoring his side's fourth goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group F match between Portugal and Germany at the football arena stadium in Munich, Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Matthias Hangst/Pool Photo via AP)
Germany clicks at Euro 2020 with 4-2 win over Portugal

MUNICH (AP) — Germany finally clicked into gear at the European Championship,… Continue reading

Fans cheer on their team during the pre-game warmup of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinal with the Montreal Canadiens facing the Vegas Golden Knights, in Montreal, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
COVID-19 concerns give way to Habs Fever in Quebec as Montreal continues playoff run

MONTREAL — The sun hadn’t yet risen in Montreal on Friday morning… Continue reading

Coronavirus cases are on the rise from India to South Africa and Mexico, in a May 19, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
As Brazil tops 500,000 deaths, protests against president

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Anti-government protesters took to the streets in… Continue reading

A black bear cub forages for food along a salmon stream below a bear viewing spot for tourists in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in Juneau, Alaska.  (File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Bandit responsible for vehicle break-ins is a black bear

THORNTON, N.H. (AP) — Surveillance video helped police get to the bottom… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 25, 2019 file photo, Editor Rick Hutzell, center, gives a speech to his staff including Chase Cook, Nicki Catterlin, Rachael Pacella, Selene San Felice and Danielle Ohl at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won a special Pulitzer Prize citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its newsroom, is leaving the Maryland newspaper. Hutzell, who worked at the Annapolis paper for more than three decades, authored a farewell column that was published on the paper's website Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Ulysses Muoz/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Editor of paper that endured newsroom shooting says goodbye

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won… Continue reading

Most Read