• Gita Matlock

How to Be Your Own Lead Mare

Wild horse herds are always led by a female, known as a mare. She earns her position by being brave, clear in her communication, consistent, and discerning. She seeks answers, approaches with appropriate caution, takes excellent care of herself, and holds everyone accountable. In our leadership training for corporate teams, we discuss the key roles of leadership in the herd and explore what aspects apply to our own professional and personal lives.

The lead mare is in the first position of leadership. She is the visionary, she sets the pace, direction, and destination of the herd. She relies on others to remain connected with her vision, each member of the herd playing an essential role in the safety and success of the team. She fails in her role if she moves out too far ahead, losing all connection and thus leaving the herd vulnerable.

Humans observe the behavior of mares in captivity through a lens that often twists into reflections of our own patriarchal society. Mares are seen as pushy, overly emotional, and downright bitchy. Sound familiar?

Our mare, Dancer, is not the lead in our herd. In captivity, mares and geldings are equally capable of leading the herd and in ours the leader is Zip, a gelding. Geldings don’t happen in the wild.

Of all the horses though, Dancer is most guileless, most willing to care for her own needs and the best about communicating them. She naps when she feels to, splaying flat out on the ground and expecting her friends to keep watch for predators. She stretches in down dog to stay limber, calls loudest to her friends when they pass by, and pushes her way in for extra scratches whenever the opportunity arises.

Here on International Women’s Day, let's celebrate mares. Let’s remember that when we take care of ourselves, when we believe we are worth it, we become fully resourced and able to be the leaders in our lives.

Tips to become your own lead mare:

  1. Take care of yourself first. Meditate, laugh, exercise, eat well, do whatever fills you with ease, joy, and a sense of wellbeing.

  2. Speak your truth with clarity. Know that by being honest and clear, we take full responsibility for ourselves and offer freedom to others to respond as they choose.

  3. Take ownership of your life. Whether you like it or not, you are setting the pace, direction and destination of your life. As Carl Jung says, “Until we make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” So, make it a conscious choice.

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