It’s not uncommon for romantic films to have heroic figures atop white horses, riding into the sunset with their loved ones. It can look really easy in the movies, right? Well, why not take some lessons in horseback riding, to learn how to make it look easy yourself.
Origins of horseback riding
The close relationship between man and horse dates back centuries ago, long before horseback riding started. Earliest evidence of man’s dependence on these majestic beasts includes drawings of horse-drawn chariots discovered in caves, placing this association in the Bronze Age.
While the earliest record of horse riding was discovered in Egypt, disputes still abound as to who the first people were to ride a horse. One thing that is clear, horses were an integral part of our lives in the early part of the 20th century, transporting goods and humans before the advent of modern vehicles. These days, the use of horses is limited mainly to farm work, racing and equestrian competitions.
I want to ride a horse!
Horses, like most animals, are sensitive to our feelings and emotions so the most important thing to note before signing up for lessons is not to fear these large animals. Perhaps one of the most beautiful things about horseback riding is that it can teach you lessons that go beyond just riding the large animal.
“Horse riding has proven to be therapeutic for the disabled,” said Mani Shanker, owner of Gallop Stable. “More importantly, it also builds one’s confidence and helps one stay fit,” she said.
What skills do I need?
Don’t worry if you’ve never ridden a horse before, as beginners are welcome at most schools. As long as you have a love for horses and are willing to learn, horseback riding can be a fun sport to pick up.
Classes typically begin with simple moves like getting used to instructing the horse to walk and trot. Once you have established a good sense of balance, you can move on to canters and progress eventually to jumping.
“Our sessions usually last between 30 to 45 minutes and how much one is able to master within this time frame really depends on the individual. If you have a good sportsmanship, great balance and exhibit no fear, you will pick up riding at a faster pace,” explains Mani.
Safety is important when riding horses and students all need to be equipped with proper riding boots and a helmet. If you do not own a pair of riding boots, come prepared with covered shoes or lace-up boots. Helmets are available for rental but should you plan to pursue horse riding, it would be advisable to purchase a personal helmet.
Pony rides are also available for children keen on the sport and allow for a ‘trial’ session without having to invest in lessons. This allows you to ascertain if your child is keen on learning the sport or if he or she does not feel comfortable on a horse. No prior booking is necessary for pony rides.
Where do I sign up?
If you’ve always wanted to ride off into the sunset on your own steed, head to Gallop Stable at either Pasir Ris or Horsecity (located at the Turf Club) to find out more about lessons.
Gallop Stable is located at the following places:
61 Pasir Ris Green, Tel: 6583 9665; 100 Turf Club Road, Tel: 6463 6012