First equestrian school opens in Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar: In a welcome development for those interested in equestrian sports in Jammu and Kashmir, a first-of-its-kind horse riding school has been opened in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

The “Fazlullah Farms” aims to train the youth of the valley to become professional horse riders who can represent Kashmir and India at the national and international levels. The farm has been started by a young man named Ali Abbas who is himself a rider. He said that a lot of people used to ask him to teach horse riding, which gave him the idea.

“The idea was already in my mind a few years before but it came to fruition a few months back because I wanted people to ride horses. There are people who wanted to learn but didn’t have enough money to buy a horse or keep one. So in order to teach them, I started this school. The response has been surprising. We get 5-6 admissions every day. We have 12 horses, eight for riding and two trainers and two helpers,” said Abbas.

Kashmir is a mountainous region and horse riding is not new. But no one before took this sport professionally. The valley hasn’t produced a good horse rider who could represent the region or the country in competitions held across the world. But with the opening of this school, there are many who want to pursue this professionally.

“We have just started this two weeks ago. We trained the horses and now we have started training people. We have 36 people at the moment who are learning with us. The youngest is a 7-year-old boy while the oldest is 52. We are able to have four classes a day and now schools are approaching us to teach students too. We are hopeful that riders that come out of this school will be world-class riders,” said Irfan Ahmad, trainer.

This school has various breeds of horses like Marwari from Rajasthan and Sindhis as well which are quite rare.

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