There are some advantages of being a mother in search of a decent summer camp. You keep your eyes and ears open and in the process discover things for yourself. For instance, had I not stared hard at the huge hoarding on Bannerghatta Road advertising horse riding lessons with that magic word ‘Summer Camp’ attached, I wouldn’t have discovered there was a stable right behind my house!
Well almost behind, on Puttenahalli Main Road, JP Nagar 7th Phase to be precise. Having always wanted to ride with the wind in my hair and suchlike (yes, old age makes you confess everything) this seemed like an opportunity knocking right on a neighbourly door and I went exploring.
First things first, remove any rosy visions of cantering through a green countryside from your mind. This one, called simply Horse Riding Stables is located in crowded territory. You leave behind the Brigade Millennium main gate on your right and proceed a few metres on the Puttenahalli Road to reach the stable. It is located next to a huge ground between Brigade Millennium and Elita Apartments.
The approach near the main road isn’t picturesque, with enough plastic bags and litter strewn about but you are required to leave that behind and walk in till you spot a blue fence. Classes are held here early in the morning (6 am onwards) and evening (4.30 am onwards) and are open to adults and kids alike. The kids need to be above five.
You could walk in any time of day to check out the place for yourself as the attendants and jockeys are around. So are the three horses. Safety helmets and cowboy hats are in place and the learners are accompanied by the trainers constantly. While the prospect of learning to gallop surrounded by buildings instead of misty fields did dampen my spirits a bit, the enthusiastic friend I’d tagged along has signed on and starts her class this weekend.
Trials are also offered before you decide to join to see if you and the horse take to each other. Manjunath T V, who runs the centre says there are several adults who have signed on and they have people as old as 50 learning how to ride a horse. It’s supposed to be good exercise, apart from being a fun hobby to learn.
In children, horse riding is expected to improve confidence, focus and concentration. They plan to have camps in April and May, open to kids and adults, Manjunath says if you are really enthusiastic, it would take anything from six to eight months to start riding decently.
Regular classes are also available with charges around Rs 1500 a month. As far as horse riding goes, it isn’t new to the city, with the Army run classes held in the ASC Campus and the reputed Princess Academy of Equitation in Palace Grounds. Then there’s the ranch like Embassy Riding School with its ponies, horses, ducks, trampoline and Italian lunch (including the proverbial wind in the hair rides) near Devanahalli, where you could take the kids for a lazy day out.
However, the riding stable in Puttenahalli seems like a first in South Bangalore and within easy reach for the residents of this area. If you wish to have a try at galloping, perhaps you can ask for a trial class and see if it’s worth a go. ⊕