Kick Brother neighs a welcome. While he is more forthcoming, his owner, Abhi Nash, seems rather shy. A Plus Two student at a school at Vettukad, Abhi timidly answers the questions we pose on his rather unusual career. Abhi sells horse rides to customers on Shanghumugham beach.
Fond of animals, Abhi has nurtured dreams of owning a horse. When his mother, Metty Alphonse, turned down his plea for a motorbike, despite her promising him a gift if he did well in his class 10 examinations, he requested a horse instead.
And so, his father, Alphonse, and his mother went to Mysore and bought him a horse. “Kick Brother, that is the name on his registration card, is 10 years old. We got him last year and he is really sweet tempered and patient,” says Abhi, although Kick Brother gives a loud snort and stamps his hooves on the sand as if signalling to Abhi that he is impatiently waiting for a run.
Abhi complains that the rains are playing spoil sport to Kick Brother’s daily workout. “Only when they run daily do horses become healthy. When it pours, poor Kick Brother has to stay cooped in his shed.”
A family comes by and asks Abhi how much a ride around the beach costs. He says Rs. 50 and soon places a young boy on the saddle. Abhi too mounts the horse and soon Kick Brother, Abhi and the little boy are galloping along the seashore. “Some people are bold and adventurous; others however, prefer trots around the beach.”
But how did Abhi learn how to mount and ride a horse? “Trial and error. As I am fascinated with horses, I read up a lot on the subject. I did have a lot of bruises in the beginning though.” He also learnt to groom and raise the horse on his own. “His coat needs to be brushed daily.”
Abhi who lives in a small hut by the beach says, he usually brings Kick Brother to work during the evenings and on holidays. “That is when a crowd comes in. Seeing a horse and being able to ride one is a novelty for most people; I earn an income from it.”
The income earned is used to raise Kick Brother and a part, set aside for his studies. “My family is not well off; my mom runs an ice cream cart on the beach and my father’s a fisherman,” says the ambitious young man who plans to enrol in a college after high school and later, join the police force. “Maybe, I can join the Mounted Police,” he says signing off as he attends to another customer.
(A weekly column on men and women who make Thiruvananthapuram what it is)