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Horse Riding in Nepal

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Benefits of horse-riding
  3. Basics of Horse Riding
  4. Current scenario
  5. Horseriding events
  6. Horseriding as a business


I found myself repeating a phrase I had heard throughout a childhood spent substantially on the back of a horse. “No hour of life is wasted that is spent on the saddle”, I wondered as I stretched my limbs mounting the four-legged soul, its ears twitching back and forth to the echoes of sound in the careless breeze.

The horse has been part of human history for over 6,000 years; whereas the evolution occurred 50 million years ago. These powerful creatures were the ones to have forever transformed the world once its speed and power were harnessed. For many people including me, horses have continued to instill the energy that never stumbles and a soul forever touched. Dawned back since the Malla period, horses have played a huge role in writing and rewriting golden pages of the history, abiding by men in battle. Horsemanship was believed to be a rewarding skill and means by which power was displayed.

Benefits of horse-riding

There are many health benefits to riding on improving core strength to muscle tone and flexibility. It has proved to be a great therapy for reducing mental stress and boosting confidence. An hour of hour-riding help burns somewhere between 200-650 calories. Horse-riding is a full body workout which helps in engaging core muscles along with the inner thigh and pelvic muscles. Close encounters with horses are also said to heal our psychic and social woes.

A study conducted by BHS concluded that horseback riding stimulated mainly positive psychological feelings. More than 80% of rider responded that horseback riding made them feel “quite a lot” or “extremely cheerful, relaxed, happy, or active.”

Basics of Horse Riding

Horse gaits (movements) can be classified as walk, trot, canter, amble, and pace, the transition is seamless from trot to gallop. Most horses are lunged before riding, a technique of commanding to move in imaginary circles. The riding tacks (accessories) are fastened: saddles, stirrups, bridles, halters, reins, and brits. It is advisable to mount a horse from the left side and rider are advised to stay from the back due to chances of being kicked. Neck reining is done to signal the horse to move, holding the rein loosely and below as well as abdominal signaling by the leg. A major component of horseriding is the tightening by the knees and keeping the heels down. This helps the rider to secure the body on the horse.

Current scenario

Horses have been close-knit in the Himalayan region over generations. It has been used to commute in sloppy terrains, carry weights, and riding by Mongolians have been developed as an adopted culture. Crossbreeding of horses to produce mules are commonly seen. The total equine population (horse, donkey, mules) in Nepal is around 25,000-28,000.

Horseriding treks are profound in many parts of Nepal like Upper Mustang, Jomsom, Rara, Ghorepani etc which has been a booming local business.

Horse Purebred (thoroughbred) are kept in the military(around 300), and police (around 25) for riding purposes. Horseriding as a leisure is common in private riding clubs (2 in the valley) and private resorts. Horseriding in Nepal used to be a sport which was limited to the military and the elite before few commercial existed.

Horseriding events

The only 2 horseriding events in Kathmandu are Ghode Jatra and annual National Equestrian Tournament. Ghode Jatra translates to “Horse parade” which is an annual ritual and considered as the only horse festival. Ghode Jatra was believed to be celebrated over the victory of a demon named Gurumapa, who used to devour little children. The body was buried in Tudikhel in the south-east corner under a tree. The clattering of hooves on the ground was said to keep Gurumapa at bay afraid that Gurumapa would come to haunt the city again.

Horseriding as a business

Establishing horseriding business has good prospects, but is a large investment both financially and technically. The basics include stables, race course, trainers, and daily horse maintenance. A good racing thoroughbred costs around 30lakhs and care is essential as it requires proper training, exercise, grooming, replacing horseshoe, trimming, feeding, washing and medication. However, establishing a horse business can be seen as a competitive advantage as only a few exist commercially. It is important firstly to aware and lures the target market into equestrianism.

Horseriding in other parts of the world has been deemed as a lucrative business. A horse named Green Monkey in 2006 had been auctioned for $16,000,000; an all-time record for the highest price ever paid. Equestrian tournaments such as the Rolex have been established as a prestigious sport; categories include showjumping, racing, dressage among others. Horse polo is another form of competitive sport, in popular culture is seen to be embedded in Ralph Lauren and USPA clothing lines. Horses in movies and television are frequent, catering excitement with action; thereby luring more audiences in equestrianism.

Winston Churchill once said, “The back of a horse is the best seat you will ever have in life”, proving that this majestic beauty always offers us a chance to heal our wounds better and elevate our souls higher. So what are you waiting for? Get on a horsey adventure to the mountains and the hills, the winds of heaven by your hair and the horse by your side.

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