Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Horsing around

- By Aishwarya Pramod

Last week, I went for a 5-day camp at a riding school called Japalouppe, two hours from our house, on the Mumbai-Pune highway. It was amazing.
Right to left: Me in the blue T-shirt, Kim, Shamin and Prasamita.
We are standing outside the Japalouppe Office where we registered for the camp.

My friends were all first time riders but I had some experience with riding horses earlier. I stopped riding a few years back though, and I wanted to get back to it. Going to this camp was the best way to do that.

My first glimpse of horses at the camp

Japalouppe is a large and very beautiful farm. Apart from horses, they have dogs, cats, goats, and geese. Each day began at 6 am with the first batch of student riders (me included) having a one hour long riding session.

After our lesson we would have breakfast (sandwiches, sheera, pancakes, paratha and poha on different days). We learnt about the breeds of horses at Japalouppe, colours of horses, face markings of the horses, grooming, saddling and taking care of horses. We spent the afternoons lazing about in our dormitories or at the machan, and playing with the dogs.

Tyler, the basset hound

The evenings would see another round of riding lessons, followed by a cold water bath, dinner and finally, bed.

One morning, instead of riding we went on a trek through the path of a dried waterfall - it has water only in the monsoon - to the top of a hill. We were accompanied by some of the instructors and two of the camp dogs. At the top we had breakfast - chutney sandwiches.

Another day we went to a stud farm - a place where horses are bred. Every stall in this stable housed a mother and her foal. We saw a foal drinking its mo's milk, and another one following its mother around wherever the stablehand took her. We met a friendly stallion called Fact Finder - he seemed to love being petted and fussed over by all of us.

On the last day of the camp we had to demonstrate our riding skills to our parents who had come to take us back home. I was happy to see amma, appa and paati (my grandmom) at the show. Everyone showed off what they had learnt during these five days at camp. We got Japalouppe T-shirts to wear during the show.

I rode Little John, the same horse I'd been riding all through the camp. He is extremely calm and good-natured. Also tall and very goodlooking.

Me and Little John.

Isn't he amazing?

Riding demonstration.

All the students did walking and trotting, and some cantered. Two students with more experience did show-jumping.
It was an interesting yet peaceful week. Away from Mumbai, in a farm, I relaxed in the company of good friends and some very lovable animals.
I met a lot of great people at the camp and I'd love to keep in touch with them. I'm sure I'll meet some of them again at Amateur Riders Club in Mumbai, since they're also members there like me.
I also want to go back to Japalouppe as soon as possible! I can't go now in June, because I have to stay to see my college admissions through - but the very next chance I get, I'll be off!!


satish said...

cool, Aishu! You look like a pro already.

Shrivatsa Sinha said...

A well written blog Aishwariya, We'd love to get some articles from you for the new Japalouppe website: http://www.horseridingcamps.net


Ravi Ramakantan said...

Congrats Aishwarya on your great performance..in the 'ride of the other sort'! I am so happy you want to do the Arts and not the rat-race of Engineering or Medicine.
The whole world will be open for you!!
All the best and take it easy!!

Debanshu Mukherjee said...

quality blogging, must say!

Shrihari said...

Inspiring Blog! We want to go back to riding now after reading your blog! Hope you continue riding!
Shrihari and Vibha

Blogeswari said...

You have been tagged!


Shoba Narayan said...

Nice writing, Aishwarya

Anonymous said...

Time works wonders.