Why horse riding is a sport for life

They say learning to ride a horse is akin to giving yourself wings.

DSC_0427DSC_0404I find that utterly true. On my recent visit to Auroville, I was clear about my intention of going there: One was to learn to ride a horse at one of the best horse riding schools in India – The Red Earth Riding School and two, to experience the quiet and calm of the lush surroundings.

Auroville, a community of Indians, expats, good food, great people, animals and the biodiversity tells us that all can exist in harmony. It is a world away from the world yet self-contained.

Staying at Green’s made it all the more special. Earthy, vegan, near to the school and courteous, Green’s Guesthouse is where you should stay if you’re put up in Auroville. More so if horse riding is on your agenda. It’s a mere 1.5 kms from the guesthouse.

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Before I go out and about to lay forth my experience, I’d like to mention that horse riding is a serious sport and a seriously taxing one. Most people assume it is a cakewalk. Not really. When you learn to ride a horse, you learn to take notice of your posture and balance. You would work out every part of your body – with tingling pain in your calves, thighs and arms after a mere 45 minutes on the horse.

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Horses don’t just walk, they trot and they canter, terms you learn as a beginner. And they jump too. What exactly are these? While trot refers to the semi-run up and and down motion of the horse, canter is actually running. One of the very first things you learn is to hold the reins and thump together with the horse in a vertical position. Once you learn this, you go onto the standing trot, which implies balancing yourself in a semi-standing position on the horse without holding the saddle. Once you’re done with the 45 minute session, your arms tingle, your thighs ache and your skin glows like it never has.

Every time someone asks me if I work out in the gym, I say no. Not that there’s anything wrong with gyms. However, I find exercising in closed environs with mechanical machines much of a chore.

Reason why I have always believed in the power of sports and outdoors.

Coming back to my lessons, Kaley my instructor had the right approach to teach. Stern enough, he would constantly remind me as to what I was doing wrong and suggest the right way.

A couple of sessions later trotting seemed like a dance. When the horse dances, you dance with it. That’s the thing about horse riding. It is a love affair. Handsome and gracious, Concorde was my knight in shining armour.  When he started to recognize me, he learnt to abide. That in itself is an art. Horses by nature are not extremely energetic. They’d love to laze and eat. Setting them in motion is one of the firsts you learn. And when you fully understand this, you glide.

To every single one out there who has ever considered riding as a hobby, I say take it up. Every part of your body pains like hell in the first few sessions. Reason why it differs much from a couple of other sports. It makes you alive and you start falling in love. I think I’ll be addicted to it soon. I’ll see you soon, Concorde!

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