Horse riding

t's the year of the horse soon. So why not go the whole hog and ride one?

At the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre, anyone can sign up for horse-riding lessons.

Even if you have zero experience (like me), you can still go for a trial ride.

Julia Roberts makes riding a horse look so easy in the movie Runaway Bride. But it isn't.

Be warned. Mounting the animal is challenging. When doing so, you must lift your leg to reach the stirrup, which holds the rider's foot.

Tip: If you're a beginner, stand on a mounting block or stool when getting on. Doing so from the ground will take forever.

Once in the saddle, keep your balance. Fight your instinctive urge to lean forward. Keep calm and sit upright.

It's all about communication. You need to signal when you want the horse to move, turn and stop. If your actions are not clear - or the wrong ones - you will confuse the horse and get it all balled up.

Full disclosure: You cannot make a horse gallop after just one lesson. Well, not safely, anyway.

But you can get it to walk and trot. My horse - a 12-year-old Australian standardbred - was particularly bouncy.

The solution: Bounce along, keeping your bum in the saddle as much as possible.

The activity has attracted regulars like Ms Serena Chan, 27.

Says the civil servant, who has been riding for 13 years: "Riding has helped my posture. I've had a curved spine since childhood, but riding has helped control my condition.

"It looks like you are just sitting there, but balancing on a moving horse is actually a lot of work.

"Sometimes, a riding session is as good a workout as a session of hot yoga."

WHEN: 9am to 8pm daily

WHERE: Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre, 1 Equestrian Walk (off Woodlands Avenue 3)

HOW MUCH: Trial rides are $50 for a 30-minute session, comprising a 20-minute riding lesson and 10 minutes of gearing and a safety briefing. Group classes are available

CALL: 68793600


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