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Horse Riding a Sport of the Royals

Sudha madhuri dash is a published author of many novels. Along with photography she loves horse riding and practices odissi dance.

As a child the fascination about horses drew me to wherever I would find them standing, grazing, sleeping or eating. I grew up with my imagination of this majestic creature beating steel hooves of determination into my heart, so that one day...someday i would ride. i grew up in a very normal Indian family. my father a police officer of strict principles and my mother so very quaint due to her upbringing in a very English affected family of barristers. when the circus would come into the small town one would find me among the spectators sitting awe struck. watching the majesties performing tricks. i was spell bound by the way the would move the liquid strength of their muscled body leaving me panting...i wanted to ride one, that was the only desperate thought that I had. the Russian circus came to town, my father smiled and said, I have a surprise for you."

Indeed he did, the next ten days were pleasure driven rides. The horses were Andalusian and their majesties towered over my diminutive height. their flowing white manes and rippling thick black tipped tails showered me with a blast of white lilies. i sat on Roxanna that was her name. She had the kindest eyes, black with brown pupils. her mane soft, she moved like liquid gold. i had the best coach in the world, Khrushchev the ace rider....i learnt how to rise, trot and canter. in the short span of ten days I learnt the world of these magical creatures.

i grew up feisty thanks to some of my teachers who drew out the best in me. i learnt taekwondo, dance, dribbled the basket ball but none gave me that Adrenalin kick that horse riding had given me. I told my father that i would only marry a man who has horses. A man of few words he said nothing. we were in Hyderabad and again i got the opportunity to ride. The police academy horses were nothing like the fairy creatures that i had ridden but they would do...even a donkey would have done.

I learnt the actual nuances of riding when I married an infantry man. he strode into my life and I rode into his. why horse riding? he was shocked. the ustaads are not easy with the lads. I listened to my own heart and followed my head. a week into learning the bridle i understood why army officers are men among men and what real riding was. what i had done until now was just a walk in the Hyde Park. the was not a part of my body that did not ache....there was not a part of my body that was not bruised. my delicate end bore testimony of the saddle. i screamed out for my life when the spray of antiseptic hit my cuts and bruises. my knees were rubbed raw but....I continued. i impressed the ustaads by staying on. Indian army loves fighters and the ustaads loved my spirit when i took insults and ran ten laps of the ground. the horse refused to budge and another ten laps would be added.

I grew strong knuckles and my delicate artist hands changed into self determined bridle wrists. I no longer painted my nails...they were short and torn anyway. I walked almost dragged myself into the formal parties. my legs would ache to sit down. it was a year into my riding when we went to wellington and I rode with hounds the journey was so very complete. the gold owl for excellence in riding sits proudly in my heart and my drawing room.

now i am the mother of two girls and i so blessed my love for riding and the horses have been inherited by them. now i ride with my girls. we three have the best time of our life. the eldest Rishika raje Dash won many a competitions while the younger one is just about starting her journey. the fine nuances of horsemanship instills in you the courage to face adverse situations in life. it helps build your character. it teaches you to respect and honour life and all forms of creatures

I have no regrets in life if given a chance i would start again and live it the same way....would you?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 sudha madhuri dash

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