At a tender age when most kids juggle between schools and coaching centres to excel in the fast approaching exams, students from Indus International school have a different take. “ My horse lets me calm down and concentrate better” said Avani Jaiswal, a14 year old horse rider.
Excelling in both studies and sports she believes that horse riding gave her the much needed independence and confidence to help her achieve anything she wanted.
While balancing study and play hours in school, picking up a sport like horse riding couldn’t be easy without the support from school. Anum Merchant, a ninth grade student from Indus said, “It was a bit hard initially because one needs to have a good balance.”
In a sporting activity which requires stamina, coordination, speed and accuracy; injuries among participants is not a rare sight. Anum adds, “I had injured my back last year, but horses have always fascinated me, helping me get back stronger”
Both Anum and Avani backed prestigious medals for hack riding at the National Equestrian Championship Eventing Bangalore show. A unique activity where the participants are given commands to make the horse trot or canter and other simple tricks. They perform an extended, regular and collected versions of the walk, trot and canter, as well as performing a hand gallop, halt and the rein back.
Major General N S Rajpurohit, Deputy Commandant at ASC Centre & College and patron for the national championship said, “We have various categories of events for junior riders. We want to boost the sport and encourage more participation.” “This is the only sport where there is no discrimination between boys and girls till the Olympics level. They ride and compete together.” he added.
While the level of difficulty being the same for both genders, horse riding is a thrilling sport which commands extreme amounts of athleticism and precision. “ In this sport one is in coordination with an unknown territory – a horse, and performance depends on the fitness of the horse as well.” Major General Rajpurohit said. Over 250 and more horses were brought from all over the country in Bengaluru for the championship. Admired for its favourable weather conditions and facilities including the ones provided at the ASC Centre, the city witnessed huge participation from civilians apart from the army.
Nitin Gupta, head coach at the equestrian centre for excellence said, “Weather in the city is perfect for the animal, it is not tiring even during summers.” When asked about the sport known for the elitist and lack of viewership for the ten day long event he said, “ The policy is such that they take no sponsorship and that is why there are no viewers. Also, It is an expensive sport to take up for the civilians as maintenance of horses can cost more than Rs 30000 per month.”
However, when it comes to maintenance of horses, students from Indus International School spend their weekends grooming and caressing their animal. “We don’t ride them during weekends, we bond with our horses by bathing them and understanding their nature.” Avani said. Perhaps it is the same harmony between horse and rider which characterised their performance and will help them becoming future Jockeys.