Horse riding is gaining ground in Thiruvananthapuram
Two equestrian training schools in the city have boosted interest in horseback riding with students as young as five taking the reins
Doctor Mumthas A took his 11-year-old son, Syed A, to learn horseback riding at the Riding School and Insaf Equestrian Club in Thiruvallam, near Thiruvananthapuram. Within a week, Mumthas found herself learning to walk and ride a horse.
“I was afraid of horses. I haven’t completely overcome this. Nevertheless, horseback riding is an exercise that I look forward to after a long day of work. Seeing my son bond with the horse, I was encouraged to try and ride him. That’s how I ended up holding the reins of Rani, ”said the 41-year-old.
Motivated by Mumthas, her friend and gym partner Priya Balakrishnan joined the class. Priya says that Anwar Hussain, lawyer and owner of Insaf training school, instilled in her the confidence to manage her horse even if it is just the start for her.
Horseback riding is gaining ground in Thiruvananthapuram with two new training schools galloping forward despite lockdown.
Skywings Horse Club, created by entrepreneur Shibu Thomas just before the lockdown in 2019, was the first. Spread over two acres of woodland space on the outskirts of Kowdiar Palace en route to Ambalamukku, Skywing has 12 horses stable on the property. It was their interest in horseback riding that prompted Shibu and Anwar to buy their own horses. After learning to ride, Shibu bought two thoroughbreds from studs in Bengaluru and Mysore.
What started as a hobby turned into a business venture when they noticed the growing interest in the horse among their family and friends. Shibu’s wife Ansa Shibu was one of the first to learn to ride a horse and as Ansa takes a brown mare with a blaze for a quick ride he proudly says that today she is the best in her life. family.
Shibu points out that members of the Travancore royal family loved horseback riding, especially the late Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma. The city is also home to the Mounted Police Unit of the Kerala Police. “People here are used to seeing riders, but few of them know how to ride. It was considered an exclusive sport, inaccessible to ordinary people, ”he explains.
Anwar drove about 70 kilometers to Kollam to learn horseback riding at his friend’s house. On January 1, 2021, he bought two mares, a Kathiawari and a Marwari, both of Indian breed, from a stud farm in Pollachi and had them transported to his parent’s farm in Chirayinkeezhu, on the outskirts of town.
“Then I brought them to Thiruvallam and opened the riding school on April 19, 2021. I had lost weight and found horseback riding to be a wonderful way to exercise the body and the body. ‘spirit. I decided to open a riding school to give the townspeople the opportunity to learn horseback riding, ”says Anwar.
At present, Shibu and Anwar each have 12 horses. Buying the horses was not as difficult as finding good trainers. “I visited studs until I had good coaches, national level jumpers from Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, both professional,” Shibu recalls.
Snuggling up a white stallion, Ruby, Shibu says he was bought at a fancy price in the Punjab where he was used in weddings. “The actor Tovino Thomas and Ruby had appeared in an advertisement. Soft and sympathetic, it makes sense if the rider makes it gallop when it can easily reach a speed of 70 km / h”, he explains .
Once the students, ranging in age from five to 50 years old, lose fear of the animal and can walk it, they are taught to trot, which requires stamina and skill. Currently, trainers in Rajasthan teach students about horses and later to walk with them. Anwar points out that his five-year-old grandson learned to ride a horse within a month.
Anwar and Shibu keep touting the benefits of horseback riding. Shibu says, “During the lockdown, I noticed my teenage son was glued to the screen. To get him out of the habit, I persuaded him to learn horseback riding. Within a week, I could perceive changes in him. He gained in concentration and enjoyed being in the open air with his horse. This is true for anyone learning to ride.
Classes are from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and from 4.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. The training is divided into two levels. After learning to walk and trot, students learn to gallop and gallop. The fees are between 10,000 and 15,000 for approximately 12 to 15 courses of each level with slight variations. Once they have learned to ride a horse, students can purchase a riding school membership or go to enjoy a ride for a fee.
Shibu has plans to invite visitors to spend a day with a horse or stay in the lush green space of a luxurious container house, all for a price of course.