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Mumbai’s Amateur Rider’s Club Praying To Gallop Through Uncertainty Imposed By Covid Re-Lockdown

Equestrian sport, patronised by the Royals, Maharajahs and the blue-blooded, has suffered aplenty in the Mumbai megalopolis because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown. The three main sport for the warm-blooded animals — show jumping and dressage, both medal sport at the Summer Olympics and polo — and run by the nearly eight-decade old Amateur Rider’s Club (ARC) at the Mahalaxmi Race Course — has been missing at the separate riding arenas within the premises of the Royal Western India Turf Club. Moreover, imparting riding lessons to beginners upwards have also come to a standstill, leaving the large membership of the ARC most disappointed and left them forlorn. Founded in 1942, the ARC is one of the oldest and largest private civilian horse-riding clubs in India. As of now, the ARC houses 150 warm blooded animals under the care of 125 odd syces, grooms or stable boys. The ARC made it known on May 18, that because of the cyclone, the 150 horses experienced extreme anxiety due to heavy winds and rains. A spokesperson of the ARC said: “The owners of the thoroughbreds have been unable to see their horses and are worried about their pets. The ARC has ensured that the horses’ routine daily health and hygiene regime is not disturbed. Arrangements for veterinary services on call and a compounder on the premises to tend to the horses’ needs has been made available. Members are video calling their grooms just to see their beloved pets and get some relief seeing the majestic creatures.” The ARC hosted the Polo season in January 2021 with all SOPs in place but had to cancel the Regional and Mumbai Equestrian Leagues due to the COVID second wave.