College of Veterinary Sciences at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) has been nurturing professional horse riders since the establishment of the NCC unit at the college in 1984 and over the time, the NCC cadets have developed a special penchant for the equestrian sports. Many of them are eyeing to participate in many national-level competitions and the Republic Day parade to be held the national capital next year.
At the unit, which has 13 horses, seven boys and four girls, who have enrolled themselves for the NCC, regularly practice to prepare themselves for the various horse-riding competitions.
These NCC cadets under the aegis of 1-Punjab Remount and Veterinary NCC Squadron of the university get free of cost training on horse riding.
Daud Masih, one of the riders who inherited the sport from his father, excitedly puts, “Your chemistry with the horse is crucial that makes this sport even more interesting. Controlling horse movements, understanding different patterns, co-ordination, grooming, capacity building, leg movements and balance are some of the attributes on which this royal sport thrives.”
Masih’s father, who took to horse riding at an early age of 14, has won many national and international-level competitions.
Masih, who will soon be trying his hand at tent pegging, says showcasing skills and talent of his horse, named Mastmaula, during the national parade on Republic Day in New Delhi this year was the most memorable moment for him.
Talking about the basic things to keep in mind during horse riding contests, Masih adds that a rider should have a perfect jumping capability while crossing hurdles and for that, one needs to give reliance to the horse.
These cadets if selected would also take part in the Republic Day parade next year, preparations for which will start in December in New Delhi.
During this month-long camp, candidates from all over the country will be judged on the basis of individual performance in various equestrian contests and selected ones would get a chance to be a part of the Republic Day parade.
Walking shoulder-to-shoulder with their male counterparts, who have already been associated with the royal sport from time immemorial, women riders are adding charm to the sport.
Harnoor Kaur, a first-year student at College of Veterinary Sciences, GADVASU, inherited it from her ancestors, puts, “Both my grandfather and father were the ace riders in the Indian Army. The speed events are divided in four different levels, where a horse is first trained to walk then trot (jogs), canter (runs) and finally gallop where horse runs with its full capacity.”
Kaur also par ticipated in Republic Day parade this year in which selected players from 13 different states of the country took part, which, she says was the most memorable moment for her. Anuneet Kaur Nagra, another rider and a student of the university, who had also taken part in the Republic Day parade, said, “The horse riding is a completely different sport from the other ones. I started practicing horse riding just nine months ago and am planning to make a career in it.”
One of the trainers at the unit said, “One should be fearless in his approach if you want to pursue a career in the horse riding. It’s a lengthy process and you need to have a deep understanding of the basic as well as advance-level things like trotting, jumping and tent pegging, for which, a professional training is required.” Talking about the different categories, he added that preliminary, novice, grade 3, grade 2, grade 1 were the levels that a rider needed to clear to become a professional horse rider.