Go pony trekking

Hobby Club

salute A budding horse rider.

Silva Storai, one of India’s leading professional women jockeys, found the perfect person to run her dream ‘Pony Club’ (the first of its kind in India) which is located in the lovely green environs of the Embassy International Riding School. Lover of horses, children and theatre, Tara Jones, the British horsewoman, who heads it ensures that the standards are on a par with Pony Clubs the world over, a concept which originated in England in 1929 and has since spread to 31 countries.

Moving here from Nepal and having taught in different countries, Tara is passionate about schooling children correctly in all aspects of equestrian sport and inculcating in them a love and respect for horses from a very early age.

“Children from the ages of six upwards are gently introduced to real ponies, not large powerful horses double their size, like they do in some riding academies. They are taught to work with these ponies at eye level and in the bargain learn that they are not four-legged speed machines and must be treated kindly and with respect,” she says.
The Pony Club has a membership of roughly 150 children from different parts of the City.

It is the perfect place for families to come and spend some quality time learning riding together on weekends and holidays or for children to get plenty of fresh air, exercise and learn a wonderful sport in the bargain.

Touching and petting the animal are an important part of the bonding exercises taught here and the pony will often respond by bending his neck over the child’s shoulder in a gesture of affection. “When a horse responds to you that way, it's magic. We teach kids all about horses from their anatomical structure to grooming and saddling. They then  learn riding, dressage and show jumping which helps them improve their balance, fitness, confidence levels and self- esteem. They invariably fall in love with their ponies since they are handling them on a regular basis and learn about relationships and responsibility as well,” adds Tara.

Early lessons usually involve getting to know the pony and picking up basic riding skills such as getting on and off properly, sitting correctly, walking and trotting.
The Pony Club also hosts activities for the children that are fun and productive and  range from summer camps to weekend workshops and birthday celebrations. Campfire singalongs and cross-country rides, which are carefully supervised by the staff, are also part of their regular schedule of events.

 Adds Silva, “Once a child shows real talent and inclination for equestrian sport, he or she can train for international competitions and keep the Olympics in mind, as the ultimate goal.

The time that children spend with horses makes a tremendous difference to their lives and the skills that they learn from handling horses will apply to all other areas of their lives.”

Log on to embassyridingschool.com for details.

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