Mixer isn't your typical business consultant. Sure, he's spent years coaching workers to personal breakthroughs. He also has four legs, hoofs, and a flowing mane.
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/NOT A PICTURE OF "MIXER"
Horses have long been romanticized for possessing a mysterious innate intelligence, from the equine protagonist of the 1877 novel Black Beauty, to Clever Hans, the turn-of-the-century Trotter famous for pawing out answers to arithmetic questions. And of course, there was TV's Mr. Ed, offering lippy counsel to his clueless human owner, Wilbur. Over the summer, I encountered the latest variation on this theme when I attended a workshop provided by Wisdom Horse Coaching, LLC, a Minneapolis-based consulting firm that uses horses to teach people to run their businesses more effectively. Really.
Equine Guided Education is based on the idea that horses see things differently than people -- literally. Equine eyes are the largest of any land mammal, and they are set on the sides of the head, affording almost 350 degrees of vision. Whereas "hard" eyes of natural predators, such as dogs or cats--or humans--focus binocularly on their target ("eyes on the prize"), "soft eyes" are typical of prey animals that need to be alert to their larger environment. According to the theory, they offer a more big-picture view.
I visited Wisdom Horse with a seven-person team from Meyers, a Minneapolis printing and manufacturing business that was there for its second annual training session. The routine at Wisdom Horse--and in Equine Guided Education generally--does not involve riding or any part of what is familiarly known as "horsemanship." The horse is not expected to perform, but rather to be read, as a kind of emotional mirror and does not require any extra training to do this. Thus, Wisdom Horse owns no horses of its own but merely "borrows" them at the sites they use for the trainings. When I attended, the horse they selected from a paddock was Mixer, a jet-black gelding with a flowing mane who looks like he just galloped off the cover of a romance novel.