- Exhibit A: Eponaquest Safety Contract
- Exhibit B: Eponaquest® Values
- Exhibit C: Authentic Community Building Agreements
- Exhibit D: Sample Eponaquest® Waiver and Release of Information
- Exhibit E: Eponaquest® Conflict Resolution Philosophy and Procedure
- Exhibit F: Preparation for Challenging Conversations
- Exhibit G: Sample Release and Hold Harmless Agreement
Exhibit A: Eponaquest Safety Contract
All Eponaquest programs emphasize creativity and responsiveness in relating to horses. The only rules we stress are safety rules. Anyone who knowingly or maliciously breaks these rules is a safety risk for the entire group and, as such, will not be allowed to participate in the program. Horses are prey animals and are easily startled into a flight or fight mode. The following guidelines will prevent serious mishaps and make the experience more enjoyable for everyone involved, including the horses.
- Do not touch or feed horses you have not been introduced to.
- When leading the horse, never wrap the lead line around your hand. Do not lay the line over your neck or shoulder.
- Avoid standing directly in front of or directly behind the horse. When walking behind the horse to get to the other side, put your hand on the horse’s hindquarters and move around him with your body close to his body. This allows the horse to know where you are and keeps you from stepping into kicking range (about two feet out from the horse’s body) Children who cannot comfortably reach the horse’s hindquarters are not tall enough to walk safely behind the horse in this manner and should always ask for assistance in walking around the horse. When two people are working with the same horse, they should stand on the same side of the horse.
- Do not hit the horse. Physical violence only escalates the horse’s impulse to run or fight.
- Stop what you are doing and move away from the horse or return to the neutral leading position when the instructor calls a “Time Out”. Wait quietly for further instruction.
- If a horse begins to panic, give him some space. Do not try to restrain him. If the panic escalates, LET THE HORSE GO! Call “Time Out” or “Loose Horse”.
- As prey animals, horses are very sensitive to the feelings of their herd members as well as the human beings who interact with them. Feelings are a primary source of information to this species. Pay attention to your feelings and how these feelings are changing. If you get frustrated, fearful, or angry, call your own “Time Out” and reassess the situation. Do not hesitate to ask for help.
- It is not uncommon for human handlers to pick up feelings that actually belong to the horses. If you have distressing feelings that you cannot name or have no logical reason for, call your own “Time Out” and consult an instructor. Many instances of horse panic can be avoided by listening to and analyzing these feelings before they evolve into extreme behaviors.
- Do not hold your breath. Horses give and receive information through the quality and frequency of their breathing. Holding your breath or producing quick, shallow breaths convey feelings of stress and fear to the horses and can cause them to become stressed or fearful.
I have read the safety guidelines above and will listen to the accompanying demonstration. I agree to follow these rules to the best of my ability and ask for help when I am having trouble with any of the Eponaquest activities. I agree to be responsible for my own safety and thus contribute to the safety of the group.
Signature ____________________ Date ___________
Exhibit B: Eponaquest® Values
Congruency over conformity.
Authenticity over perfection.
Adaptability and Inquisitiveness over methodology.
Exhibit C: Authentic Community Building Agreements
- Maintain confidentiality.
- Refrain from using others’ vulnerabilities against them.
- Use emotion as information, communicating the information behind the emotion to avoid shaming others in the name of “authenticity.”
- Sit in uncomfortable emotions without panicking, recognizing that emotions can be contagious.
- Resist the temptation to “fix” people, horses, and uncomfortable situations.
- Read “misbehavior” as a form of communication, recognizing the learning edge of others.
- Demonstrate sensitivity, flexibility and responsiveness to personal space and boundaries, yours and those of others — people and horses.
- Focus on the present. Notice which emotions belong to the current situation and which belong to the past, including projection and transference.
- Pay attention to the dynamics of shared emotion: empathy and emotional resonance.
- Distinguish between instructive personal feelings and conditioned (False Self) emotional patterns.
- Create a psychological container of support, holding the “sacred space of possibility”* as a fully engaged form of patience.
- Activate the Authentic Self, thus enabling innovative solutions.
* The Eponaquest Authentic Community Building Agreements were developed by Linda Kohanov, with additional support from Carol Roush and Kathleen Barry Ingram, who developed the concept of “holding the sacred space of possibility”.
Exhibit D: Sample Eponaquest® Waiver and Release of Information
(Add Name of Instructor or Business)
Title or descriptor, if there is one
CONSENT FORM FOR RELEASE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
This signed document authorizes (Name of Instructor) to share information concerning _______(Name of client/participant(s)______________________________
with the following individual(s) or agencies, including contact information:
The goal of this disclosure is to ensure continuity of teaching/learning. The extent or nature of the information will be limited to the stated intentions of the Eponaquest Approach to Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) and the particular program that includes the client/participant named above.
I understand that I may revoke my consent to allow release of this information at any time, except to the extent that any action will have been taken on information released prior to the revocation of my consent.
This consent form will be valid for the period of time of EFL service beginning on __________________.
This consent will expire __________________ or when services are terminated or completed.
Signature of Client: ________________________________________
Witnessed by: ___________________________________________
Signature of Instructor: ___________________________________
Exhibit E: Eponaquest® Conflict Resolution Philosophy and Procedure
Conflict is an inescapable part of everyday life. It is an indication of our humanness — a natural outgrowth of diversity and a consequence of differences of beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, needs, and habits of behavior. Whether or not these differences escalate into negativity or they become an opportunity for mutual learning and growth, a kind of spiritual gift, all depends on how the conflict is viewed by the parties involved. While some conflicts can be best left alone, if the parties seek to maintain an on-going relationship, it behooves them to embrace the gift and resolve their differences in a way that is mutually beneficial and sustainable, just as a herd members find a way to stay connected after resolving differences.
The Eponaquest Context:
The health of our Eponaquest community should not be measured by the presence or absence of conflict so much as by our willingness to engage in effective and compassionate ways for resolving interpersonal tensions as they arise. Differences are to be valued as opportunities – (1) to clarify and deepen our understanding of ourselves, each other, our mutual undertakings and our relationship, (2) to consider ideas and possibilities we may not have thought about before, and (3) to find aspects of our relationship we can build on effectively to improve the relationship and our shared endeavors.
The intention to attend to and learn from conflict, within a context of personal responsibility and generosity of spirit, is a clear application of the Eponaquest Values, The Authentic Community Building Agreements, and The Emotional Message Chart, And all of these are informed by our appreciation for the roles projection, transference, and introjection play in our lives.
When, then, is a conflict resolved? When individual and shared needs are met in a way that is mutually beneficial, broadens perspectives, enhances self-understanding, includes self-responsibility, strengthens the relationship and improves performance. Such is our goal as representatives of Eponaquest Values, Principles, and Methods.
While conflict resolution can be difficult, it is far from impossible. Therefore, when conflict is apparent, the parties are invited to address the situation between/among them by using the tools of the Eponaquest Values, Principles, and Methods. The purpose is not to assign blame, identify good or bad, or determine winners or losers. It is to honor and work through the differences in an effort to find common ground for continuing the relationship and ensuring top quality performance. To that end, the following process is offered as a guide for dialogue.
- Between you, identify and agree that a problem exists, that you commit to addressing it together, and that you intend to adhere to Eponaquest Values, Principles and Methods in that process.
- Establish a time and forum for your process: phone, email, face to face, or combination.
- Individually clarify and put into writing the nature of the conflict, from your perspective and perceptions, examining the event(s) and interactions in question, including:
- what you think the conflict is about
- your feelings, needs and desires under the circumstances
- the extent to which you recognize that this might be more an internal conflict (projection, transference, introjection) than an external one
- considering whether it is truly about values or is simply about preferences, and in either case, name them
- determining whether it is about methods or about goals, being as specific as possible
- owning what your role and responsibility is in creating the conflict
- Take time to share your observations, listening carefully to each other in turn, asking questions to insure clear understanding, acknowledging one another’s needs and differences of perception, and attending to emotions and their messages as they emerge.
- Seek and unearth common ground, including shared needs, beliefs, and approaches, as you identify one another’s strengths, points of view and humanity.
- Focus on the present, creatively imagine into future possibilities, and allow the past to inform but not dominate the discussion.
- Agree on what concrete steps you will take to minimize future misunderstandings, ensure safe boundaries, promote trust, and enable mutual responsibility and mutual benefit.
- If at the end of the above process the conflict seems irresolvable, the parties may agree to either: a) engage a mutually agreed upon neutral and experienced Eponaquest third party to assist the parties in coming to a mutually agreed upon resolution, or b) agree to not facilitate workshops together. In either case the Program Director of Eponaquest Worldwide shall be informed of their decision.In both cases, the parties are expected to be professionally responsible for managing their own emotions and judgments with integrity, for letting go of their personal positions, keeping their opinions and feelings to themselves, and recognizing that negative energy can be communicated even when not spoken or written, and for not continuing the conflict through gossip.
- If in the judgment of the Eponaquest, the outcome of the dispute appears detrimental to the principles and values of Eponaquest, the matter will be considered further and recommendations for additional actions may be made.
Exhibit F: Preparation for Challenging Conversations
“Guiding Principle Nine” from the book Power of the Herd, 2013, by Linda Kohanov, provides the inspiration and framework for the following suggested format when Eponaquest instructors find it necessary to have productive conversations on difficult topics. This tool is useful in handling interpersonal challenges of all sorts efficiently and effectively.
Combining the “challenging conversations format” (found below) with the Eponaquest practice of using emotions as information is a highly effective process for resolving interpersonal issues and technical difficulties in the workplace as well as in personal relationships. Disagreements that appear formidable can be negotiated with impressive results using this method.
The following procedure (see following page) can be helpful in organizing your thoughts so that you can be thoughtful, clear and specific—rather than vague, inappropriately emotional, inflammatory and/or blaming and shaming—about core issues that need minor improvement or significant adjustment.
This approach can also be used to highlight performance/attitudes/behavior that deserve appreciation and recognition. Recognizing people for their daily accomplishments, team work, innovative ideas and interpersonal expertise is as important as the need to discuss unproductive behaviors.
For those needing further information on how to prepare for Challenging Conversations or who want to read a sample case study may consult “Guiding Principle Nine” in The Power of the Herd by Linda Kohanov.
Challenging Conversations — Structured Format for Feedback*
The following format is suggested for preparing to offer feedback through short conversations that can make a big difference. This outline is helpful in organizing your thoughts so that you can be specific, not vague, about areas that need improvement as well as performance/attitudes/behavior that deserve appreciation and recognition.
- Opening Statement – General Description of the Topic
“I want to talk to you about…” (category of performance or general subject related to the conflict).
- Observation – Specific Descriptions(s) of the Topic
“I’ve observed…” or “I’ve noticed…” (describe performance or behavior – give details without judgment oriented statements. Remember, if you felt a strong emotion you are to use this as information and only relay the information, not the emotion. For instance, if you feel frustrated, the subject involves a block that needs to be worked through. If you were afraid, address safety issues. If you felt vulnerable, this involves change, experimentation, making mistakes, having your own beliefs and habits questioned. The latter case likely involves your heightened response to some personal issues or blind spots being revealed that may or may not relate to the current situation or work environment.)
- Description of the Impact
“This is important because…” or “This resulted in…” (describe the impact on the workplace, on getting the current job done well. Leave out any references to your own personal past. That’s for you to work on with a coach or therapist.)
- Request or Suggestion
“In future, I would like you to …”, or “it would be helpful to…” or “I’d like to request (suggest) that you…” (describe how to improve performance/behavior, or in the case of praise, offer some statement to the effect of “Keep up the good work!”)
*Based on Bob Wall’s book, Coaching for Emotional Intelligence
Exhibit G: Sample Release and Hold Harmless Agreement
Epona Equestrian Services and Eponaquest®
Under Arizona Law, an Equine Activity Sponsor or Equine Professional is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in equine activities resulting from the inherent risks of equine activities, pursuant to A.R.A. S12-553.
The Undersigned Participant, or Undersigned Parent/Guardian of the Participant, assumes the unavoidable risks inherent in all horse-related activities, including but not limited to bodily injury, physical harm, loss, damage or death to the Participant, spectators, family members, guests and any horses owned by the Undersigned. The Undersigned hereby releases, waives, covenants not to sue for any of the above.
In consideration, therefore, for the privilege of riding, observing, working with and/or engaging in lessons, training, workshops and related educational activities with the horses and other animals, the Undersigned does hereby agree to hold harmless and indemnify against all claims, Epona Equestrian Services and Eponaquest®, Linda Kohanov, Shelley Rosenberg, Nancy Coyne, Mary-Louise Gould, Carol Roush, Elysa Ginsburg, Sue Smades, Lucinda Vette, any Eponaquest Instructors, interns, barn staff, or apprentices and any and all of their Heirs and Assigns (the Indemnified Parties) and further releases from any liability or responsibility for accident, damage, injury, or illness to the Undersigned Participant and/or Parent/Guardian of the Participant, or to any family member or spectator accompanying the Participant on the premises or around the horses owned or leased by the Indemnified Parties.
Signature _________________ Date __________ Program ___________________
Check one: _____ Participant _____ Parent/Guardian of Participant ____________
Print Name of Participant Age (If under 18) _____________________
Print Name of Undersigned above Phone Number ________________
Print Complete Address of Undersigned (include city, state, country, zip code) __________
Emergency contact name __________________________Phone ___________________
Next of kin (if different) __________________________Phone______________________
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