Team Development and LeadershipTraining

Dune Lakes Lodge is the ideal venue offering the location, unique experiences and picturesque environment to build on capabilities, shape the future, or provide a reward for a job well done.

With our unique equine-centred team building, it won't be long before you appreciate the value of escaping your daily routines into an environment that both clears and opens your mind. The benefits will be reflected in what you produce, plan or create.

Bring your team to Dune Lakes Lodge to reflect, rediscover and rebuild in an environment conducive to creativity and problem-solving far from the distractions of city life.

The outcome will be a highly effective event which will motivate and energise your people and relationships - paying dividends on their return. Give your people the opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed environment! Meal options available on request.

Contact Rosemary to discuss your training needs.


Horse have existed, adapted and thrived in a constant state of fight, flight or freeze since they first appeared on earth however many years ago. The competitive world of corporate can also exist in a constant state of fight, flight or freeze. Although we humans, unfortunately have not adapted as well as our equine friends. This is a situation employee’s can immediately relate to with the inefficient and destructive forms of power in the guise of leadership so prevalent in our culture today. Colleagues in a work environment develop coping strategies such as: detachment, numbing, denial and tunnel vision in order to emotionally protect themselves during their day to day activities. As a result of the coping strategies they may experience some or all of the following issues: depression, addictions, identity problems, anxiety/panic attacks, sleep disorders, anger and stress.
So in today’s highly competitive economic environment, building effective teams has never been more important. Many leaders are struggling with the leadership challenges emerging from the current economic climate. Some are driven by demand, some by fear and some feeling totally inadequate - not sure what to do! They all have one thing in common, they could all benefit from a more flexible leadership style that enables them to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Developing strong leaders and teams is challenging but absolutely achievable.
Let’s look at how.

Dune Lakes Horse Inspired Learning Centre specialises in Equine-Facilitated Human Development with horses as the teachers. Our training programmes help employers and employees individually or in groups to overcome these challenges. Through experiential learning activities, people learn how to excel more in life by practising innovative leadership, relationship, nonverbal communication, and emotional and social intelligence skills through safe, engaging, non-ridden activities with horses. Our committed human professionals collaborate with clients to develop workshops or training programmes specifically focused on the success criteria of the company or business.

The Power of the Herd, an innovative, non-predatory approach, explores what horses have to teach us about leading ourselves and others. The effective leadership qualities exhibited within the herd, observed over years of hands-on living and working with horses, in both their natural environments and in human/horse relational situations, have the potential to create sustainability in all areas of human endeavour.
The horse is a dynamic, non-predatory sentient being that symbolises strength, power and freedom. A prey species that observe and adapt to their environment every second of the day. A herd embodies a holarchy, unity is strength, approach. Every horse inherently knows each herd member is just as important as another and that working together increases their chances of survival. Incorporating this into the workplace highlights this principle. When every employee is valued and recognised for his or her individuality and uniqueness, creativity and productivity and workplace morale increase exponentially.

With our unique Equine-Facilitated Human Development programmes, it won’t be long before the value of escaping daily routines into an environment that both clears and opens the mind, is fully appreciated. The experience gives time to reflect, rediscover and rebuild in natural surroundings conducive to gaining insights and problem-solving far from the distractions of city life. A highly effective event which motivates and energise people and relationships - giving people the opportunity to get to know each other in a whole new way in a relaxed and calm environment. Paying dividends on their return to the workplace.

Activities are created that will bring about those "ah ha!" moments which will stay with you long after you have left the tranquility of our surroundings and returned to the work place.
Equine Assisted Learning is an internationally recognised innovative, fun and unparalleled method of learning and training that’s been rapidly growing in popularity throughout the USA and Europe. No riding in involved and no previous horse experience is necessary.

Why horses?
  • Horse's are acutely perceptive, totally honest and have no hidden agendas.
  • They accurately sense levels of trust, confidence, awareness and interpersonal skills.
  • Horses offer us opportunities to learn what we need to change, in order to succeed in our personal and professional lives.
  • Horses are masters of sustainable, flexible and effective leadership.

Within the framework of horse-focused tasks the team draws on high levels of group co-operation. A challenging assignment is put to the team and can include: 

  • Interpreting objective.
  • Formulating an action plan.
  • Communication, both verbal & non-verbal.
  • Active listening.
  • Processing the content and passing on the information and then acting on it whilst under pressure.

Frustration, foibles and fun are part of the process. Both successes and failures lead to greater awareness of strengths and weaknesses. Discover the dynamics at play today!
These may include:

  • Emotional awareness and competency.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Relationship building.
  • Team development practices.
  • Effective communication.
  • Problem solving strategies.
  • Giving and receiving feedback.

Contact Rosemary to discuss your training needs.

Fonterra Team Building

I had hoped to get my team away to relax and to do something different as a group. They, like me, had been through the trips to Waiheke and been up and down ropes on numerous occasions in the name of team building - enough is enough!!!

Dune Lakes Lodge offered an equine experience that was completely different - having a group of 'townies' out there interacting with - relating to and moving around 600kg animals was an amazing experience for the group - descriptors such as 'wow', 'fantastic', 'lovely' can still be heard in their conversations with their peers.

I personally appreciated your flexibility when trying to tailor the day to what I had hoped for, and being able to cater to different levels of confidence and adventure. I think this was reflected in the feedback form we completed that came back as a 9/10 experience!!!

As their manager, I'm really glad to have taken the time to find an exciting new adventure for the team, and thank you again for your professionalism and warmth that created a great experience for all. I think you have a gem here for others to tap into and I'm happy to talk with them if they wish to hear firsthand of our corporate experience."

One task involves entering a round-pen with an unknown horse and leaving with one that has connected with you. An awareness of the implications of body language between you and the horse, invokes a realisation that subtle energies - combined with focus and the timing of interactions - apply to relationships in your everyday working world. The experience may prove deeply thought provoking.

Take for example a team that has problems working together. When the group is not successfully working together to accomplish a task with the horse, the horse will respond in ways that might thwart the group’s efforts and clearly display areas for improvement. The facilitator will interpret the actions of the horse as indicators to the participants that they are not in control of the situation and are not working together as a team - with the horse being the integral team member.

The behaviour of the participants is reflected in the behaviour of the horse. A positive change in participant behaviour brings positive changes in equine behaviour.

We usually find that the way in which our clients interact and react with the horses is very similar to the way they interact and react with their customers, peers, or other work groups as well as their own families!

Nathan Searle ... Process Improvement Manager - FONTERRA

Contact us to discuss

470 Wilson Road
South Kaipara Head
Helensville 0874

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