Facilation as dressage?

I was having a chat about faciliation with Rob Paterson on Skype and he came up with the analogy of dressage. If you watch this (amazing) Youtube of a horse doing its thing chances are you’ll be watching the four-legged animal not the two-legged one. After all, its the horse that’s doing all the work, and the guy is just sitting there.

In fact, the rider is doing all sorts of small stuff with his muscles to co-create the show – but he’s not drawing attention to himself at all.

It’s not a perfect analogy, of course. Facilitation isn’t about control but I’m focussing here on the apparent lack of activity, the discipline that requires, and allowing the other(s) to be the star, not yourself…

4 thoughts on “Facilation as dressage?

  1. Robert Paterson

    In that connection you might be interested in the origins of the word manage, it comes from menege and the story of that origin relates to your clip


    Johnnie and I were talking about how tired we get when facilitating. It seems that we are doing nothing but the amount of energy used is huge.

    In dressage, the rider does do lot but using only small movment – my dressage friends tell me though that it is really all about the use of energy and the relationship that the horse and the rider establish.

    We are so used to action being a simple leverage idea – it is hard to connect to wheh action is the consequence of the use of an energy field

  2. Fredd Kambo

    In some ways, this is what separates good referees in sports from ordinary ones. The good refs do just enough to help the players get on with it. The ordinary and bad refs seem to want to be stars as well and so they try too hard to be seen to be doing something.

  3. David Zinger

    I couldn’t help but watch the horse. I love the analogy of dressage for facilitation – less is more for the rider and energy flows between rider and horse or facilitator and group.

    You have also made me feel more comfortable with “horsing around” in faciliation. Thanks.

    David Zinger

  4. idealawg

    Have you watched the horse yet? Johnnie Moore draws an analogy between dressage and facilitation

    If you have not watched the clip of this extraordinary horse, you must take a couple of minutes to do so now. One friend of mine told me that watching it made her glad to be alive. Since another friend sent me the link, I have watched this clip several


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