In addition to our transformational programs, we host a schedule of innovative workshops and events at the beautiful Challenge U Ranch.

2017 Personal & Professional Development Series

Creating Healthy Communication & Partnerships through Emotional Agility & Personal Leadership

This series of innovative workshops focuses on how to use horse-inspired wisdom and experiential-based learning to enhance relationships and communication effectiveness in life, career, and community. Read on to learn about this popular program, including our instructional approach using Teachers as Horses, and what you can specifically look to practice and take away from your time at the Challenge U Ranch.

It’s recognized that only ten percent of human communication is verbal. Yet, in our culture, we’ve virtually become mesmerized by words as our social and educational systems teach us to dissociate from the body, the environment, and the subtle nuances of nonverbal communication. Much of human brilliance is driven less by the brain in your head than by newly discovered intelligence centers—now called ‘brain two and brain three’—in the gut and the heart. The highest reasoning and brightest ingenuity involve all three of those brains working together.

Communication is essential for effective personal and professional relationships. To be effective, it requires an awareness of what we are “not saying” with words.

Why Horses?

Horses are social creatures that readily and honestly respond to the challenges inherent in forming and sustaining relationships. As animals that are preyed upon in nature, they have also retained a highly developed ability to sense changes in the stance and arousal levels of other herd members, an ability they easily transfer to interaction with human beings. Horses see through the slightest incongruities of emotion and intention, yet they are exceedingly patient and forgiving. Through a series of specially designed activities, participants deepen awareness of how emotional congruence, clarity of intent, and connection are necessary for effective communication, leadership, management and teamwork.


Domesticated horses retain the thought and behavior patterns of their nomadic ancestors.  Interacting with these animals on their own terms encourages a fluidity of human thought, emotion, and behavior.  Horses also model the strengths of what are often referred to as “feminine values”—cooperation  over competition, relationship over territory, responsiveness over strategy, emotion and intuition over logic, process over goal—and  the creative approach to life that these qualities engender.

Program Details

Limited to six (6) participants
per workshop!


Challenge U Ranch, Liberty, MO (Kansas City area)


12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.


$ 65.00 per workshop.
Tuition includes  snacks, bottled water and all workshop materials. Receive 10% discount when you register and pre-pay for multiple workshop dates!

You will practice:

  • Engaging non-verbal leadership skills associated with assertiveness, timing, focus, energy modulation, motivation, experimentation, and boundaries-in-motion—with sensitivity to the needs of others;

  • Setting boundaries with people in ways that create mutually respectful relationships;

  • Balancing embodied reason and embodied intuition in realizing a goal;

  • Recognizing and moving beyond limiting behavior and thought patterns to achieve optimal performance and fulfillment.

You will learn:

  • How to help others manage fear and anxiety in times of significant change or competition;

  • How to use your own body as a “sensing device” capable of reading the unspoken moods/concerns of partners, co-workers, employees, and clients;

  • How to use emotions as information in professional settings (without, ironically, discussing the emotions themselves);

  • How to turn “difficult conversations” into trust-building opportunities;

  • How to  embrace power, combined with compassion, in challenging situations;

  • Experience consensual leadership and how to create mutually respectful relationships;

  • Uncover unconscious limitations and become empowered to change old dysfunctional patterns of behavior;

  • Expand nonverbal awareness:  develop listening to the “two other brains”—the heart and the gut—and the information they hold.


Challenge U Team, I want to thank you with my heart for teaching me to breathe again by providing me the tools to take in new experiences, to walk through my fears, the tools to comprehend and deal with new challenges, to set goals and see them in action from start to finish. My time spent with Challenge U was an incredible journey, personally and professionally. You empowered me to move forward in all areas of my life with confidence. I have learned to avoid looking in that dog gone rear view mirror that only takes me in reverse. Looking straight ahead through the magnificent windshield right in front on me has opened up my eyes to opportunities within myself and has made me realize that I am a valuable human being. Thank you all for teaching me to live my own life without worrying about the expectations of others. You are all Angels.

—  CU Alum