Mumbai: A unique leadership training programme was conducted on October 23 at the Mahalaxmi Race Course involving 17 alumni and students of the Bhavishya Yaan student enrichment programme of the Rotary Club of Bombay. They were imparted life lessons and leadership skills using horses. The programme was conducted by Isabelle Hasledar, an Austrian who has made Mumbai her home for the last 12 years and who is a horse leadership coach at HQ Leadership International, and Vidhushi Karnani, a 9th-grade horse enthusiast from Bombay International School, who connected the dots to make the event happen.
Participants were taught enhanced leadership skills, building emotional intelligence, and steps to conquer change. Isabelle said, “Horses can read your energy and emotions in a heartbeat. They are honest, listen to you for hours, and will give you answers to all your questions without saying a single word. They truly make you remember the greatest leadership lessons for a lifetime.” She added that the programme was all about getting hands-on leadership skills.
Vidhushi, who has been fascinated by horses since a very young age, and who is training in equestrian, said the trainers and coaches guide participants through all the exercises and connect situations to the reality of the outside world. “I am happy to be a part of such a different programme that will have a lasting imprint on potential leaders. I am delighted that we are lending a social touch to this initiative by being a part of the journey of the students and alumni of the Bhavishya Yaan. We will endeavour to continue such initiatives,” she said.
The participants said they were thrilled to attend a programme involving such a different theme. Nirmala Kokate, who is pursuing her graduation and a teachers’ training course on the side, said, “This has been so exciting and enriching. I never realised how much we can learn from horses. The whole experience has been something that my friends and I will never forget. I am grateful to Isabelle and Vidhushi for this rare opportunity.”
The trainers were equally thrilled. As Isabelle put it, “These are people who have never touched a horse in their life, but within five minutes, these children were easily communicating with the horse as they feel close empathy. Building trust is very important. When it comes to leadership skills, it is important to show an example of those who can be good role models. These children have started to learn about leadership and communication skills through horses, and it has been a good experience for me as well, teaching about leadership through horses.”
Vidhushi and Isabelle have known each other for a couple of years now. “The main aim was to assist Isabelle and understand leadership skills so that I can teach these qualities to the youth who will build a better life for themselves. I believe that children must have access to learn new things, and everyone should get equal opportunities,” Vidhushi said.