Deccan Chronicle

Horse Power

Deccan Chronicle.| Swati Sharma

Published on: August 9, 2023 | Updated on: August 9, 2023
C.V. Anand, Commissioner of Police of Hyderabad

C.V. Anand, Commissioner of Police of Hyderabad

"Horses lend us the wings we lack."
In the words of poet Pam Brown,

Horses have been valued as beasts of burden, war winners, and on the sports field. And now, they’re playing a big part in combating fear and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many film personalities share a deep bond with horses. Randeep Hooda, actor and accomplished equestrian, promotes horse welfare as well as equine sports. Salman Khan  enjoys horseback riding not only for its own sake, but also for the numerous health benefits it provides. He shares his passion frequently on social media. Similarly, Julia Roberts has travelled to Mongolia to host and film the documentary Wild Horses of Mongolia. She spent several weeks studying nomadic people and their relationship with wild horses. Bella Hadid was riding from a young age, and though being diagnosed with Lyme Disease put paid to her hopes of competing in the equestrian events of the 2016 Olympics, she hasn’t given up her love of horses or riding. Hadid was recently photographed taking her horse around various obstacles at an equestrian competition in Florida.

‘Spiritual zone’

Shruti Vora, Equestrian , who made history last year by becoming the first Indian to compete in an individual dressage event at the World Equestrian Championships

I fell in love with the animal and the sport it represented when I was three years old. I first rode a horse at the Kolkata Race Course. I thank my parents for encouraging me to participate in this sport as a child, as, coming from a traditional Marwari family, pursuing a male-dominated sport was unthinkable. As I became more serious about the sport, my love and respect for the horse grew, and the horse itself has been my greatest inspiration. My passion for the sport stem primarily from my love of horses. The sport mirrors the challenges of gaining control over our bodies, as well as in facing the less developed aspects of our spiritual being. Dressage for me is meditation.  

‘Trusted companions’

Horses are the most dependable and practical animals for humans, along with dogs. I’ve always been a horse lover. It was during my training at the National Police Academy that I first had the opportunity to take to horse riding seriously. In fact, horseback riding was added to the IAS and IPS curriculum because it is believed that if one can control a horse, one can control an entire district. Riding a horse is undoubtedly difficult, but if one can conquer the fear of falling off, it greatly boosts one’s confidence to deal with the difficulties of life. In NPA, there was a black stallion by the name of Kalyani that I particularly liked. It was known for dumping probationers off its back. I formed a bond with it, had it under control, and was riding it fearlessly by the end of the training period.

The Hyderabad City Police Department has a 48-strong Horse Squad. When I was DCP (Central Zone) in 2002-3, there was a near-stampede during the fish medicine bandobust. These horses saved the day by raising their legs high in the sky, scaring away the crowd, and helped us restore order."

C.V. Anand, Commissioner of Police of Hyderabad

‘Therapeutic benefits’

I grew up with horses as an Army kid because there were riding stables near our house. The thrill of riding your horse into the wilderness is unparalleled. Horses are highly sensitive and intelligent animals that can sense your emotional, physical and mental health. Most people think of dogs and cats as companion animals.

The man and the beast he rides become one and unstoppable, ready to conquer anything which comes across their path. This is the power of horse riding. Horses can also be useful partners in some therapies. Equine-assisted therapies are programmes in which professionals guide clients through horse-related activities. There are various types of equine programmes, each with its own set of objectives for the participants. Some programmes are part of the mental health treatment process. In other cases, clients ride horses as part of their therapy.
Caring for horses requires concentration, selflessness and teamwork. Equine-assisted therapy programmes help people improve self-esteem, self-awareness, confidence and empathy.

DR SAMEER AZAD MAHENDRA, Implant Specialist/Implantologist/Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Exhilarating experience  

While I have a deep love for horses, horseback riding adds another layer of enchantment to the equation. Riding produces a profound sense of exhilaration and connection, revealing a world of emotions beneath the surface. The desire to ride horses stems from a combination of physical, emotional and mental factors. It's a passion that allows people to connect with nature, challenge themselves, form relationships, and experience a special kind of freedom and joy.

Syed Junaid Hussaini, director, Equestrian & Trainer, Equestrian Federation Of India

Inculcating independence

My passion for horses began when I was 5 or 6 years old, when my grandfather introduced me to horses at the AP Riding Club. And there was no turning back. I began riding horses when I was very young, and as a teenager, it became such a passion for me that I would get up at 5 a.m. every day to ride, change in a dingy toilet at the club, and go directly to school. Riding and spending time with horses gave me so much confidence and support that I feel I became more independent and developed a ‘never say die’ attitude. I’ve had many bad falls while riding that resulted in broken bones, but the horse (no matter which horse) has always acted to protect the rider (me). Riding was not about physical exercise for me at the time, but about improving communication and coordination between two friends who had to look out for each other’s safety. When you see a polo player score an impossible goal on the ground, it’s 80% horse and 20% rider. The beauty of horses is that they can make even the most unattractive rider appear attractive when mounted.

Chaitania Kumar, president, Hyderabad Polo and Riding Club

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