Since the inception of mankind, horses have had an ardent attachment to humans.
They are not just animals, but mediators between humans and wild souls. They are a sign of power, indicated in the term “horse power”, commonly used to measure automotive strength.
Even in this digital age, the royal-ness of a horse is insurmountable.
In ancient times, Neza Bazi or tent pegging was a military exercise to maximise perfection in target hitting. Later it emerged as an exciting sport which is now being played in 32 countries and also has a world cup.
Being the lead rider of the Muhammadia Haidaria Sultania Awan Horse Tent Pegging Club (MH Sultania Awan Club), I am honoured to represent Pakistan in international tent pegging competitions.
Our stables have some of the best horses. One of Pakistan’s largest stables is home to more than 150 horses. It is frequented by horse lovers from across the globe. We have managed to preserve a 400-year-old breed.
MH Sultania Awan Club head Sahibzada Sultan Muhammad Ali is a world-renowned personality in the field of horse sports. His selfless devotion, deep knowledge and vision to promote a soft image of the country earned six world records for Pakistan in 2019.
“To be a good horse rider, one needs to be a good friend to a horse,” he says.
Horses are not just used for recreation, hunting, sports, military or transportation. They shape our culture – we see horse dances and tent pegging at festivals and grooms using it on weddings.
They boost the economy too. The industry contributes more than $19 billion annually to the Canadian economy. The Canadian horse industry supports 154,000 jobs and around 6.8 million hectares of land is used to breed horses across Europe. Only in Britain, 6 million people attended race meetings in 2017.
Pakistan’s fertile land, natural fields, meadows and agrarian environment demand discovery of our hidden potential in the horse industry. Nations are earning from this industry despite having certain socio-geographic constraints. Pakistan is has some of the finest breeds of horses and a friendly environment. National and international business tycoons should not overlook the potential of this industry.
What we need
Pakistan needs to set up new horse institutions, training programmes and field study to promote this industry.
On behalf of the club, we are always ready to cooperate and welcome horse lovers who want to learn and participate in tent pegging and horse-riding sports. Cultural attaches of foreign missions in Islamabad may also explore prospects to enhance cultural cooperation in this field.
Memorandum of Understandings with international horse federations should be signed under the patronage of the government to enhance collaboration. Livestock may initiate research study on breeds, especially the number of horses in Pakistan. Pakistan is a land of horse lovers. Horses are part of our culture and demands ownership at every stage.
The writer is a famous rider and racer of Pakistan.