Written by Hermione Bigland Warman
As a child I loved riding and the idea of pony club, but the reality was often cold early mornings, soggy bottoms, and a sense I was never going to be a champion rider….
Well my children and others big and small, are so blessed due to the warm hearted nature of Ineke and her family of horse lovers. Children around Colombo are growing up learning to ride in a tropical dream land. Nestled amongst the paddy fields of Pannipitya, is a little haven of horse delight for young and old called the Ceylon Riding Club.
As the children lined up by the stables, hats being checked that they fitted properly, they were introduced to the ponies and horses and asked which one they would like to ride. Over the years I have gone there I have always admired how much they value and cherish each one of their ponies, they are by far the most important residents, exactly how it should be.
Once the ponies were selected the children were encouraged to lead them down to the arena with a stable hand to guide them, afterwards they were taught how to safely mount the ponies. Their teacher oozed professionalism and clearly has a desire for all who work at the riding club to have an equally high standard in their work; guiding them when needed.
Ineke and her team have built the school up with a fundamental desire to keep up with the British Horse Societies protocol and standards and this is noticeable from the teaching my children experienced. There were giggles when made to do “round the world” (an exercise for building up confidence on a horse) and joyous greetings to their fellow riders when they had to wave to their friends behind them, all skills to encourage safety and confidence on a horse. For me to see both children happy and engaged is always a plus and to feel they are been taught boundaries, respect and responsibility really makes that parent part of me able to tick off a box!
Having watched the children, I know I now have a new found desire to get back on a horse myself. They have a beautiful Sindy horse called Valentine who I think could make me a champion rider, I could even do the BHS standard examinations, at least there are no cold mornings although as monsoon comes, there could be soggy bottoms!