The gathering took place at HorsePlay in Kerhonkson. Cori Nichols is the owner and was our trainer for
the day. She put together a program specifically for SCORE volunteers.
The program began with an evaluation of our comfort level with horses. Cori then took us through safety
tips for interacting with horses. Each one of us was allowed to approach the horse, communicate with it
and evaluate the horse’s response to us. It was educational. We got to see how clients may be reacting
to us upon our first meeting. Each mentor had the opportunity to evaluate this for themselves.
Next, we went to the paddock where Cori had designated two horses as our pretend clients. We
observed and evaluated what type of client each horse was. Client 1 was larger and seemed gentle and
responsive to us. Client 2 seemed more aloof.
The next exercise was to lead the Clients through a maze of obstacles that might be interpreted at bumps
in the road with a client. As we worked with the first client, we noticed the client was responsive to our
suggestions to move forward. Some mentors found a firm hand was necessary in moving the client
forward through the obstacles. Other mentors found that encouragement and the soft touch was more
effective. As we worked with each horse, mentors were able to see how they worked as a team to
encourage and move the client forward. The first client took guidance, but the second client was more
about doing it their way and it took a team of mentors to guide and push the client toward the goal.
Cori was very professional in the exercise. All the mentors learned something about working with clients
and working together as a team.