Channel NewsAsia

More taking up horse riding

Riding centres in Singapore see an increase in students; parents and young riders say boost in confidence among the tangible benefits of horse riding.

SINGAPORE: It's the Year of the Horse and, incidentally it seems, more in Singapore have been "horsing around" in recent years.

Some riding centres say they've seen an average increase of 10 to 30 per cent in students annually.

Many parents have been signing up their children for such classes throughout the island. In fact, more than half who attend the riding school at the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre are still in school.

The centre has also worked with more than 240 schools, offering horse riding as a co-curricular activity.

Besides improving discipline and concentration, some parents feel horse-riding has also boosted the confidence of their children.

"The sense of self-confidence comes from being able to control an object larger than oneself, such as a horse,” said Gregory Chen, a student at the aforesaid riding centre. “And also upon completing certain challenging tasks such as jumping and cantering.”

Over at the riding centre run by the Riding for the Disabled Association of Singapore (RDAS), volunteers attest at how horse riding has helped those with autism, cerebral palsy and other disabilities become more confident.

"The kind of friendship and bond they make with the horses and volunteers impacts their lives to such an extent that they become more confident,” said Eirene Ong, a volunteer at RDAS, on students at the centre. "And they tend to interact better with others (than before they took up riding) -- because they know that they can do certain things on the horse that even normal people can't do."


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