Pony club in Bahrain

We speak to Carina Abdulrahman of the Dilmun Stables Discuss this article

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How long has the stables been running?
The Dilmun Club was established in 1974, the stables has been open almost as long as the club. I can remember doing one of my first shows here 21 years ago.

I understand you have Pony Club, what does this entail?
The emphasis in Pony Club is FUN! Although they do learn how to ride, we expect the kids to come and enjoy their lesson, it is not about giving them a dressage lesson. It is the basics of riding. Pony Club runs from Sunday to Thursday in the afternoons, with five classes, set at age- and ability-appropriate levels, with assessments at the end of the term, to make sure the kids are on track. We have a paddock dedicated to the Pony Club sessions, which range between three to five students per class. We only accept children aged five and above to the Pony Club.

You also run courses during school holidays, what do these entail?
In the school holidays we try to run Pony Camps, where the kids come down in the morning and are assigned their pony for the day. They are taught how to brush and tack them up and then have a lesson. They will also have a stable management lesson, which is theory-based, and is primarily on how to care for your horses. With lectures/practicals such as shoeing and the horse’s foot, feeding and the dos and dont’s, digestive system and how it works, the muscle system, the major organs and bones, bits and the different types, their uses and how they work. Usually at the end of the camp, we then hold a fun day with a gymkhana.

Is it possible for children to come along and ride or take lessons without joining in the groups?
At the moment Pony Club is running, so our ponies and some of our small horses are occupied Sunday to Thursday, so advanced booking is suggested. Friday we are closed, but pony rides are available all week long for the little ones. At the moment, we are not yet short of horses as we do not have large groups at once and try to keep lessons to a 30-minute slot, unless it is a shared or group lesson.

Where do your riders go, are there routes around the stables or is it all school based?
Only recently we have been permitted to hack outside the stables to a maximum of 500-metre radius. Bahrain has now been declared Glanders free and we are allowed to hack. Due to our location, we are sticking close to the stables, as we have to cross main roads to get to “desert” hacking areas.

Are there activities throughout the year or is it just in the winter?
The stables is open all year round. But Pony Club runs pretty much alongside the school calendar, so it is seasonal, and we try to follow the school holidays. As well as Pony Club, we have regular show jumping and dressage shows, fun days, gymkhanas and coaching clinics on and off horseback.

How does riding benefit children and do many of them carry on into adulthood?
Riding is a fantastic sport that not only teaches someone a new skill, but it is a sport that involves working/creating a partnership with your horse. It requires a degree of fitness, dependent on how often you ride.
The responsibility that comes with owning a horse at any age is not to be taken lightly. If a person has decided to own a horse, they have then accepted that responsibility.

By Time Out Bahrain staff
Time Out Bahrain,

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