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Experience For The First Time In India The Leadership Training With Horses

Isabelle, an Austrian, runs HQ leadership, where HQ stands for horse quotient, much similar to emotional quotient. Every part of the training determines how horses are a part of human mind and what role they play in shaping your personality.

Experience For The First Time In India The Leadership Training With Horses
Have you ever wondered how an equestrian animal plays a role in building your leadership skills? Give you an amount of education in leading your lifestyle and managing your commercial, social and economical business? Not only this, but also how to lead a life having dominated your emotional stability, psychological hindrances and overcoming your physical parameters. Quiet until now, this knowledge was unknown to us. In fact the idea itself was in the clouds somewhere, but with Isabelle surveying and learning the art, we now have an access to this beautiful mystery of learning leadership from a horse. The woman who understands emotional stability of horses and treats them as the only source of achieving great leadership qualities.
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In an exclusive interview with LA POLO, Isabelle hasleder shares her story about the communication process with her horses and how she became acquainted with the same.

An Austrian, Isabelle hasleder came to India 11 years ago for an engineering internship in Auroville. The young woman was always enthusiastic about horses. Isabelle hasleder has been fascinated with horse riding from a very tender age. She was gifted her first horse when she was 12 years. “ As a horse rider you are always looking to go higher(in jumping), ride faster and enter in tougher competitions” said Isabelle when asked about her fascination. The specific exercises with the horses and their behaviour in different circumstance lead her to a certain realization two years back when she gained a resilience for horse leadership. She was working initially with BMW and these leadership challenges helped her cope up with the work problems at her place. She started the training in germany, EAHAE where she got the certificate.

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She came to India in 2007 for an internship and later worked in Mumbai, Pune and Delhi finally coming in contact with her now husband, in chennai. Her father-in-law, Kishore Futnani was a polo player a few decades back and was a part of the team winning Golanka Cup. the family used to run an equestrian centre called Chennai Equitation Centre which is focused on encouraging children and young riders in the equestrian sport like show-jumping, dressage and even polo. Isabelle takes over her leadership programmes within the premises of the Chennai equitation center. She has around 50 horses ranging from adorable foals, mares and horse. She has taken part in around 20 equestrian competitions in India.

"When you work with a horse you learn how to nurture relationships, practice daily and appreciate your partner regularly – this is much easier with a horse where some carrots are a welcome reward”- remarks Isabelle working as a supply chain manager in India for a swiss based company and later specializing in logistics operations in the automobile sector. Isabelle has dedicated enough time to develop new leaders and encourage her team-members to take up more responsibilities and ownership.


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With her innumerable experience with horses, Isabelle continues describing how horses are so much affiliated with human in several forms. Their emotion and their leadership skill can be so modulated with the horses. There was a horse for every type of leader, and on the other hand,each horse showed certain characteristic, which can otherwise make you different kinds of leaders, depending on the skill you grab more comfortably. To understand the psychological process of how horses modify the leadership skills of a being, Isabelle reflects on the following aspects.

Group Dynamics: Situational Leadership
Horse herds have highly complex social structures to allow the members very efficient and organized group movements (source: Odile Petit, PhD, University of Strasbourg). According to Isabelle, Horses follow a situational dependent leadership which means that through the course of a week or day there are many different leaders depending on the circumstances. These are the kind of Organizational structures you would expect from a new age company; apparently horses are following these modern and very efficient social structures since thousands of years.

Experiential Learning: Leadership Style
Very likely, Isabelle Is a firm believer of experience as a teacher. When you work with horses, it is rare that you get knowledge about different leadership styles in action. It can be leading from front, from back or on the same level, which is an important factor in the skill. This experience boosts up the managers to have a different perspective at different levels in the journey of reaching a goal.

Emotional Intelligence: Horses Connect on an Emotional Level
Contrary to schooling in the classroom where participants are engaged in their rational thinking, training with horses opens up the emotional state of people, which is important to transfer learning and adopt practices.

Inspire Change: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone​
In the professional environment, challenging times will reveal true leaders – the ones who can push the limits of their own comfort zone. In the work with horses people experience situations which are outside their comfort zone, and through professional guidance those moments give participants more confidence to face challenging situations in future.

The three ways of leading a horse include leading as an example, team spirit and authority


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Following the questions when asked, how did she come to know about the equestrian leadership programme and what motivated her to follow her passion for horses she told she was introduced to the programme by her german friend and after her research she got enrolled in for the HorseDream Programme that has no prerequisite of horse background. After she came to India she started gathering her horses,out of which one included a white Marwari, a golden coloured pony (who is a little troublemaker in hergroup), a retired polo-pony and several thoroughbreds who show off their power and speed while running in the arena. The first exercise that one should follow is to observe the group of horses when they are left free and interact with each other on their own terms, then is the time to identify the king among them.

One day out of the blue she invited some managers who were left with the moment of the truth, that this is the best way forward for their situation. Where one of her managers puts it “management books might teach you a lesson or two, but reality starts when you experience the interaction with horses”. Later when more demand for the workshops came in, she decided to leave BMW and work with “horsepower”

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“The teachings of Robin Sharma (Author of “The monk who sold his Ferrari”) have a great influence on me and I attend his seminars in Canada on a regular basis. He says that the most important part for business and for life is to follow your heart and this is what I am doing in my work with horses and people.” Isabelle founded her own company called HQ Leadership India – and “HQ” stands for Horse-Quotient as she believed that when you can succeed in leading a horse, you will be also successful in the corporate environment. The Horse Quotient would be very similar to the Emotional Quotient which also gains more importance in the corporate world at the moment.

Isabelle exclaims with pride as being the first in India to offer this fascinating and enriching experience with horses. The Multi-National companies are usually fast to adopt this program into their leadership development plans and for directors and human resources managers they offer special introduction programs that they can get a first-hand experience on how it works

You can find– the workshops are published on www.LeadershipHorses.com


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