The Youth Equine Leadership Program uses horses to imbibe leadership qualities in youth

This is the second year The Youth Equine Leadership Program was conducted for the Bhavishya Yaan affiliates

Staff ReporterUpdated: Monday, December 05, 2022, 11:16 AM IST
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Isabelle Hasledar and Vidushi Karnani |

Isabelle Hasledar, a certified leadership coach and Vidhushi Karnani, a tenth-grade horse enthusiast, together conducted a coaching program on November 26 for around 20 youngsters, who were part of The Bhavishya Yaan, a student enrichment programme of the Rotary Club of Bombay. 

“Horses react to what you communicate non-verbally,” said Isabelle, a corporate management trainer who trains with horses. “Therefore, when you learn to communicate well with the horse and lead him/her, you automatically learn to pay attention to your body language and other communication skills,” she added. “The idea also is to put into practice what you learn and stay motivated.”

Damian Irzyk, Consul General, Poland

Damian Irzyk, Consul General, Poland |

An Austrian, Isabelle has made India her home for the past 12 years. She specialises in involving horses in her training programmes by using exercises that promote leadership qualities by jointly leading horses through obstacles, getting the horse to move in the direction you want it to go, etc.

The goal is to get trainees to overcome fear and gain confidence through riding. This is the second year The Youth Equine Leadership Program was conducted for the Bhavishya Yaan affiliates. “One needs to have a sense of direction and clarity while riding. These are the things that we learn when we interact with the horses. It is a good way to be in tune with your own sense of direction,” said Vaibhav Patil, alumni of The Bhavishya Yaan, who was attending it for the second time.

Minakshi Achan, Executive Vice President, Brand and Creative Communications, Disney Star 

Minakshi Achan, Executive Vice President, Brand and Creative Communications, Disney Star  |

The programme is based on the fact that it’s only by doing that one can achieve. “It is said that one learns 10 per cent when one reads, 20 per cent when one listens, and 90 per cent when you do it yourself,” said Vidushi Karnani. “Learning communication skills early will help these students who are just about graduating or are choosing their career options. We tell them if they keep their back erect and straight, they know where you want to go and the horse senses it. This way they learn to control thoughts,” said Vidushi, who taught how to mount, hold the saddle and reins and ride without fear as the horse senses fear if one is scared.

Samikhsa Patil was scared when she sat on the horse for the first time. However, the fear subsided soon and she was eager to ride again. “I am a little more confident now. This was the first time I saw a horse up close. Before this, I had seen them only in movies,” said Patil.

Ashish Karamchandani, President, The Nudge Institute

Ashish Karamchandani, President, The Nudge Institute |

“We make horses walk through obstacles with two youngsters. This teaches them to trust others,” added Isabelle. 

“I have spent 10 years with these youngsters. They are very bright and some have already made it to big companies,” said Jaya Prasad, mentor of The Bhavishya Yaan project at N M Joshi Marg School. “Today’s program will surely teach them how to focus, communicate and most importantly how to be a team player.”

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