Mandalay to get back in the saddle more o en
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
A trainee practices riding at Nature Life Equestrian Club on November 25th.