It is said that the horse was the last animal to be domesticated because of its virtues; speed, power and stamina. Horse riding may have begun by chance when someone climbed on top of an older, calm mare and he would have decided that riding a horse indeed was better than walking. And so it began by channeling the power of the horse in the right direction, which eventually was a decisive influence on the history of mankind. But here I was staring down at the neck of ‘Easy Street’ at Thapathali analyzing the power of the beast and wondering if I made the right choice by visiting Chandra Horse Riding Center (CHRC) Pvt. Ltd. And what a paradox it was - Thapathali!! Easy Street??
Horse riding is an art and riding the thoroughbred at CHRC without the assistance of the instructor was impossible. Before I mounted the horse, the instructor checked all the gear. As told, I grabbed the saddle horn and pulled myself up to sit on the horse. The stirrup was then adjusted for my jockey size body. I was told that before mounting, stirrups can be adjusted to the length of ones arm, as it is also the length of the leg. With both legs on the stirrups, I distributed my weight over the center of the horse and used my legs to help keep my body balanced. Though I had a fear of falling, my only concern at that particular moment was, ‘How do I start the engine?’
Niroj K.C., the instructor then gave me the reins to the horse but I let it hang loose as I did not know how to steer the powerful animal. I was told that combining the movement of the reins and the legs would urge the horse to move to the left or right and by pulling it would stop the horse. I visualized Louis L’Amour smiling from above as the horse started walking after I gently kicked its sides. I was told to watch out for low hanging tree branches and other objects that could knock me off the saddle while adventure riding or trail riding. For the moment, the joy ride was sufficient. No trot, no canter and definitely no gallop, though the center has ample grounds for such equestrian activities and advanced classes on the matter is entertained.
After dismounting by reversing the steps I took to mount, the instructor told me that CHRC not only provides riders with the opportunity to train on equestrian skills on thoroughbreds but also gives them an opportunity to learn basic horse care which includes grooming, tack and saddle care, feeding, exercising, lunging and hood care. The course consists of 26 lessons over a period of a month with 30 minutes of riding and 15 minutes of horse care lessons. For those who have cherished horse-riding ambitions especially to acquire perfect skills, the opportunity is at a horse length.
Riding horses for pleasure, sports and adventure has always been a stately pastime for many through the ages, especially for those who admire the gentleness and power of the animal. CHRC located at Mana Mandir – Thapathali and the first of its kind, was established in 2001 keeping in mind the difficulties faced by local riders with an army background, who found it difficult to continue their passion for riding in the absence of a riding culture outside the army. At present, members of the club, expatriates, school children and even novices like me frequent the center, which is meticulously planned with an international size riding rink and a curriculum that provides training and practice to take up joy-riding, adventure riding, trail riding or just riding as a hobby. Members of the club can observe the way horses are maintained and can also participate in the activity.