Kerala

How these two siblings from Kerala are galloping ahead with their love for horses

Aswathy Krishnan (left) and Archa Krishnan with one of their horses.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Hooves hitting the ground in a rhythmic trot and two young girls on horseback – this is a sight the residents of rural Kadamkulam at Kottarakara in Kollam have grown familiar with over the last few months.

When 14-year-old Archa Krishnan and 16-year-old Aswathy Krishnan got an equine companion during the first lockdown, they had no concrete plans. But today, the siblings have a team of five horses and together they run Khedar Horse Riding Academy that trains novices from all parts of the State.

"Our family is into farming and we grew up with all kinds of livestock. While visiting Tamil Nadu to buy a cow, our father came across a horse. When he shared the details, we were smitten and started researching. We knew horses are high-maintenance, but our father supported us, saying it's just an extra member to feed among our cows and goats," says Aswathy, a Plus Two student.

Sultan, a Kathiawari with amber-champagne coat and chestnut mane, was picked after contacting several farms and browsing through a series of videos. "We just wanted to own a horse and, initially, Sultan was considered only as an addition to our drove," says Aswathy.

Challenging task

Gradually, the girls were drawn to riding, but acquiring the skill was not easy. "Forget handling the horse, we hardly knew how to saddle it. We tried some online tips, but nothing worked,” she says.

Though the family started looking for a trainer, none was available in Kollam or nearby districts. "We couldn't afford the fee and other expenses in places that offered riding lessons, but finally a person from Karunagappally offered to train us," she adds.

The training continued for around 30 days and it took the sisters another couple of months to become confident riders. "You will learn the nuances only through experience and some minor injuries and bruises are part of it," says Archa, a Class X student.

It was a bumpy ride initially as the girls had to brave the disapproving looks of villagers. However, they themselves slowly started approaching the duo for riding lessons. Since Sultan was not really safe for beginners, they exchanged him for a calmer mare. Presently, Khedar Horse Riding Academy has five horses — Rani, Radio, Appu, Ria and Raja.

In the last few months, the sisters have trained over 25 persons, both children and adults. "Usually, we train them on morning hours and weekends. When our school reopens, we will change the schedule accordingly and add an evening session,” says Archa.

Popularising hobby

The course fee is minimal compared to most places and Archa says they want to make riding popular among all sections.

"Riding is considered a hobby of the affluent class and it can be an expensive affair. At the same time, there are many like us who are interested in riding but can't afford to learn the skill. We want to offer them an opportunity to learn," says Archa.


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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 3:46:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/galloping-ahead-with-their-love-for-horses/article37023012.ece

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