Riding gives a high

Riding gives a high

One of Bangalore Turf Club’s lesser known attributes is the riding school, BARI, on its premises, which imparts excellent equestrian training at affordable prices to anyone in the City with an interest in the sport.

Apart from riding classes which are held throughout the week and the holiday camps, BARI launched a fresh initiative with the Academy for Severe Handicaps and Autism (ASHA) recently. The children were invited to the school and escorted onto the grounds with much fanfare by Raceday lead riders Manju on Al Habib and Ramanya on Popcorn, their respective horses. Once settled, they were treated to a dressage display by BARI course coordinator Anita Ojha and the Macua Derby winning jockey Lisa Jones giving an exhibition of race riding and paces on her beautiful animal Eye Opener. Senior BARI member Prasad on Royal Triumph exhibited his skills. Major (ret) Hariram, the 1972 Indian National High Jump Champion, a legend in his own right, entertained the kids alongside a mural of his record-breaking jump.

The purpose of the interaction with the children from ASHA was simple.

“Well-trained horses are now found to be a valuable aid for autistic children and horse therapy helps provide autistic children a sense of themselves, their bodies, and increased contact and interaction with the surrounding world,” says Jayshree from ASHA.

 “For many of the kids it was the first time they were so up close and personal with race horses and we were pleasantly surprised when many volunteered to sit on the horses, stroke and touch them. We certainly hope that this can become a well-structured activity on an ongoing basis as studies have shown that swimming and riding are immensely beneficial to all children and especially ones with special needs,” she added.

“Horses are good for children because a child, who is given a little insight into dealing with a horse in the right way can become the natural leader the horse is looking for. The horse in return feels safe and peaceful and will cooperate with what the child asks of him. We take care to ensure that the gentle horses are assigned to new riders under the care and guidance of trained staff. For children with mental and emotional disorders, the benefits of getting a horse to actually carry out simple commands are often profound,” says Fin Powrie, racing advisor of the BTC.

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