Expert Spotlight: Christina Haxton

Would you believe part of the Zoe staff is a team of horses? According to Christina Haxton, who occasionally integrates them into her training sessions, horses are ideal teachers: they are responsive beings with acute awareness of and sensitivity to their surroundings. Like people, horses have individual personalities as well as physical abilities and limitations. And horses very accurately sense a person’s level of trust, confidence, awareness, and interpersonal skills.

In one of her team-building courses called “Lessons from the Herd,” participants have an opportunity to get in an arena with two to three horses – without having to ride them – to learn team-building skills directly from the animals. With more than 20 years of experience owning, training, and showing her own horses, Christina incorporates her management experience and expertise as a marriage and family therapist with knowledge of equine behavior to offer a unique perspective to businesses and organizations.

Following are Christina’s responses to our interview questions.

What are your most popular presentation topics?

“How to Avoid ‘Lizard Brain’ and Turn Conflict into Opportunity” and “Lessons from the Horse: The Art & Science of Building Trust with Your Herd.”

Three words that describe your presentation style:

Creative, Engaging, Content-rich.

What are your favorite groups of people to work with?

Painfully left-brained engineers, scientists, and physicians who are recently promoted and motivated to learn “how to” quickly build trust with their new team.

What’s the most unusual location (or circumstances) you’ve presented in?

In a dirt-filled arena at a gorgeous guest ranch in the mountains of Colorado with six horses as co-facilitators for a senior level leadership retreat for 40 doctors.

What are some things that surprise you or inspire you about your interactions with clients/participants?

Clients, individually or in teams, discover THE most perfect, brilliant solutions when they arrive at the perfect intersection of fun, a little urgency, and connection.

Do you have a favorite quote? What/why?

“… we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!” – Jonathan Livingston Seagull. A seagull who was outcast because of his “strange” ideas about having the courage to follow his heart discovers the power of doing so, and the power of forgiveness. My Mom gave me this book when I was nine and was going through a very scary time in my life. Reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull helped me feel she was with me, even though she wasn’t, and also gave me the courage to believe in myself.

Tell us a recent book you’ve read and would recommend:

Drive by Daniel Pink.

What’s one thing on your “bucket list” you hope to do in the next year?

Win the Western Slope Reining Horse Association High Point Rookie Champion Saddle & Buckle.

Standard Starbucks order:

Boring, but consistent: Grande Brewed Coffee with sugar-free vanilla, one splenda and cream.