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Lucia Okumura, NCAS L1 General Coach, from NSW The advanced students were extremely keen having answered the call to go to India. This is the story of her jumped 145cm and won a few junior competitions in Delhi Indian experience. on hired horses. Assessing these riders on day one, I can see the birthplace of modern polo and tent-pegging “Assam!! It is not safe, just google Dibrugarh, do breed brave and fearless riders with great natural insurgency”, cried my old Indian classmate from Tokyo balance, seat and feel! Unfortunately though, it seems who now resides in Texas, USA. But I must have been in this bravado has been a the detriment of the horses, an impulsive mood when I scrolled through an E-Bulletin with many being described as “used to jump, now from Equestrian Australia and saw a paragraph about an stops”, “have back problems”, etc. I also noticed that Indian equestrian body looking for a volunteer coach to much of the tack were ill fitted, especially the saddles, visit them and run a riding camp for children. With no compensated by all sorts of - yes resourceful - pads. idea as to where it was in India, I decided to put my hand up and a few months later, with my daughter, Ysolde In order to redirect them in their attitude to good (13 yrs.) in tow, we were on a plane to Dibrugah, in the equestrianism without killing their bravado and eastern end of Assam. enthusiasm, I worked the students over tricky little exercises using small jumps, which, of course they found Our host was Manoj Jalan, who accommodated us in very hard, and made that their focus to work towards his guest quarters situated in one of the large tea than the height. plantations his family has owned for three generations, and next to our cottage were the dozen or so horses On the last day of the 5-day clinic, the equestrian housed in airy stables each with ceiling fans. Manoj is manager also asked me again about the horse’s welfare, first generation “horse mad” in the family, and had built and presented to me a carton box full of prescription the stables with a small flat above them and lived there injectables given to them by the veterinary surgeon until his marriage. He is now very keen in promoting who gives all the horses a weekly physical check!! equestrian sports in Assam, a northeast appendage The injectables ranged from sedatives (in form of of India, beautiful but long neglected in gaining its antihistamine type drugs) to anti-inflammatories and share of India’s growing prosperity. However, the very saline drips. The Principal of the school had instructed “backwardness” of the State is what gives the area great that all horses have regular physical check ups to ensure charm, a well preserved and unique culture and despite they were healthy and therefore safe to ride... well the large presence of armed security police, the warm somebody is making a lot of money. I suggested that if friendliness of the people made sure we never, ever felt the horses do cause an accident and blood samples show in danger, even when Ysolde and I ventured into the city presence of all of these drugs, then the school could have catching passing tuktuks and crossing the chaotic roads. more problems than if the students were riding drug-free horses. Perhaps regular checkups could be just once My first clinic was to be held at Assam Valley School a every couple of months to coincide with worming and Boarding School in Tezpur, 5 hours drive northwest of teeth check. Save some money for new saddles. We also Dibrugarh, where 24 high school students participated discussed saddles and students becoming more involved with 9 school horses, mainly ex-gallopers and ex-calvary in the day to day care of the horses and oiling leather horses. The school itself boasted three enclosed riding tack, etc. arenas and a riding paddock - as well as swimming pool, squash courts, archery range, basketball courts, The horses’ feet were also in need of better care, and I golf course and so on. Despite the marvelous facilities, suggested barefoot trimming on this soft riding grounds there was no hint of opulence, just built with good old may be far better than bad shoeing and as the stables fashioned resourcefulness. were also a little small and narrow, perhaps just let them out in the paddocks in the evening - but never thought of leopards and the odd tigers. 88


Equestrian_NSW_Yearbook_2011
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