Horse Riding in Uganda Gains Traction

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Now it may be a little hard to sell that sitting on an 800kilogram animal, going at a fair speed can provide a healthy work out or any form of relaxation, but even a 20 minute horse ride will leave its effects on your arms, thighs and mind.

The spacious grounds at Flametree stables are just the place to ride whether you are a beginner or a skilled rider. Many equestrians and riding instructors laud the feeling of freedom one gets when on a horse.  Flametree stables are located in Gayaza, far from the main road. As if to prepare you for the relaxation to come, there is no traffic jam. You see very few cars, barely any taxis on the way there. After the winding tarmac road, you branch off onto a dirt road that leads to the stables. It is easy to find because everyone from Gayaza town knows where to find embalansi-horses. Also, there are a number of signposts along the way.

I may not be very objective here, but we arrived the scene that looked like something out of a watercolour painting. The first thing we saw was a foal, a few weeks old, running around. The grass was bright green, the trees were swaying in the wind and the sun was bright. The horses, although fenced in, did not appear to be confined because the fences are short and made of trees and wood.

Flametree Stables has been in operation for 3 years now and has 25 horses. Horses are not native to Uganda so these were imported from Kenya. However, they are starting a breeding program and already have one foal with a very protective mother. The breeding program will provide horse for sale. You can make arrangements with the stable to have them house your horse for you, if you do not own a stable.

It is an ideal home for horses with a 20 acre spread of green and a stall for each horse. It was interesting to see that each horse has its own gear: it’s own bridle, bit and saddles. Like most animals, they are fed morning and evening and they graze in between. By all appearances, the horses are well taken care of. Robin, the stable manager, has 15years of experience when it comes to horses, does most of the handling, all the people working at the stables have a working knowledge of how to deal with the animals.

There is a misconception that horse riding is expensive but at Flametree, the more you are the cheaper. A class costs UGX 75,000 for 45minutes for one, UGX 40,000 for two and UGX 35,000 for three. This is done in part to encourage more people to embrace horse riding. Robin says that you learn faster as a group because you watch each other.  These prices are for classes within the week. The stables are open from Tuesday afternoon to Sunday evening.

There is also a 20minutes walk (on horseback) around the development which costs UGX 25,000 and tour rides that are done outside the stables for one hour.

Once you have made up your mind to ride, a horse shall be chosen for you depending on your riding experience. There is a horse suited to the rider who has never sat on a horse and also one who has been riding for years. For the beginner, the instructor will be with you every step of the way. A few tips that I picked up: Horses bite, do not put your hands in their mouths. Do not stand behind a horse…it could get startled and kick you.

Horses can be daunting because of their size but like dogs or puppies, they appreciate being talked to, petted and they do bond with their riders.

For advanced sporting, it is key for the rider to be in tune with their horse to be able to execute jumps and tricks.

If you are still on the fence about learning to ride, consider the fact that even 5year olds can handle their own ponies. Now that the children are home from the holidays, this is an activity to consider for them. Flametree Stables Riding School is located in Kijabiijo Village, Gayaza Road, Kampala. Call Mobile: +256 776 700696 / +256 776 700697.

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