Man­dalay to get back in the sad­dle more o en

The Myanmar Times - - Sport - HLAING KYAW SOE hlaingkyaw­soe@mm­

LET’S get ready to ride! Weekly eques­trian events will be held for the first time at Na­ture Life Eques­trian and Coun­try Club in Pathe­ingyi town­ship from De­cem­ber 3 to the end of March 2017.

The pro­gram was or­gan­ised by the Man­dalay Re­gion min­istries of sport and ed­u­ca­tion, the Myan­mar Eques­trian Fed­er­a­tion, the Myan­mar Am­a­teur Eques­trian As­so­ci­a­tion and Na­ture Life, ac­cord­ing to Sun Tun Oo, chair of the Or­ga­niz­ing Com­mit­tee for Eques­trian Events.

“For a long time, there were no eques­trian events avail­able, ei­ther for rid­ers or the pub­lic. This is the first time we’ll be hold­ing reg­u­lar eques­trian events again, and in Man­dalay. There will be eight con­tests per day ev­ery Satur­day and Sun­day. We are also ex­cited to be plan­ning more events in the fu­ture,” said Sun Tun Oo.

The com­mit­tee is plan­ning four types of races, open to any­one who rides skill­fully. The events will be di­vided by horse age and size, and by rid­ing speed: there will be se­nior (over48-month-old, over-four up­per teeth) can­ter races, ju­nior (un­der-48-month, un­der-4-up­per teeth) can­ter, as well as se­nior and ju­nior gal­lop com­pe­ti­tions, which will be split by height at 4 feet, 9 inches. Horse breed­ers of­ten use teeth num­ber and size to es­ti­mate a horse’s age. Each horse can only en­ter one race, Sun Tun Oo added.

First prize will net lucky win­ners K500,00, while sec­ond place fin­ishes will re­ceive K300,000, and third place K200,000. Tick­ets will cost spec­ta­tors K20,000.

Rac­ing horses are clas­si­fied ac­cord­ing to their heights: Cart horses are shorter, rid­ing horses taller. But eques­trian isn’t ex­actly a cheap hobby: a cart horse can cost from K500,000 to K15 mil­lion. For­eign-bred horses may cost up to K20 mil­lion, Dr Sun Tun Oo said.

The goal be­hind the drive to sched­ule reg­u­lar events is to train and breed higher-qual­ity horses and to cul­ti­vate more lo­cal in­ter­est, in or­der to pro­duce rid­ers com­pet­i­tive at the in­ter­na­tional level.

“Horse­back rid­ing is good for reg­u­lat­ing the heart­beat and blood cir­cu­la­tion,” Sun Tun Oo said. “More­over, both the rid­ers and horses will be in­ter­na­tion­ally reg­is­tered for the up­com­ing events, and in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion stan­dards will be fol­lowed, in or­der to get our rid­ers ac­cus­tomed to the reg­u­la­tions. In the fu­ture, we’re also plan­ning to open horse­back rid­ing cour­ses,” he said.

But the Fed­er­a­tion is also look­ing to at­tract more horse-own­ing pa­trons. The Myan­mar Eques­trian Fed­er­a­tion an­nounced in Septem­ber that it would not seek to com­pete at the 29th South­east Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur next Au­gust, be­cause it could not cover the expenses of trans­port­ing and sta­bling com­pe­ti­tion horses.

– Trans­la­tion by Zaw Nyunt

Photo: Hlaing Kyaw Soe

A trainee prac­tices rid­ing at Na­ture Life Eques­trian Club on Novem­ber 25th.

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