New Delhi: Jaipur Polo Ground played host to some of the world’s leading horsemen from six countries including Australia, Ireland, Turkey, Estonia, Singapore and India who converged to participate in an International Dressage Classic Competition.
A parallel event saw seven of India’s finest teams contesting each other at the National Tent Pegging Championship where Delhi’s glitterati and equestrian patrons from various countries were present to support their favourites.
The event concluded with a fashion presentation aptly titled ‘vintage meets chic’ by designers Gauri and Nainika Karan. Their vibrant designs were brought to life on the ramp by leading models like Joey Matthew, Sapna Kumar and Poonam Nath, who made a dramatic entry on the runway in horse drawn carriages.
In the format of a competition, foreign and Indian riders rode horses randomly selected by a draw of lots. Dressage performances were action packed with a line up of top names including Sharon Carroll of Australia, Dina Ellermann of Estonia, Mark Lee from Singapore, Irelands Maria Byrne, India’s M.S. Rathore and Lt. Col Sunil Shiv Das who were judged by Maja Stukelj, a FEI (Federation Equestrian International) Judge from Slovenia with vast experience at the international level.
Equisport, pioneers in the promotion of lifestyle sport,introduced the International Equestrian Festival under the aegis of the Equestrian Federation of India. Kuoni Travel Group, India presented the festival.
Zubin Karkaria, CEO and Managing Director, India and South Asia, Kuoni Travel Group said, “Equestrian sport is an integral part of our heritage. By sponsoring this event we hope to demonstrate the diversity of our culture and promote India as a global travel destination. We also hope to help build an equestrian temper in India”.
Maj. Adhiraj Singh, Vice President, Equestrian Federation of India said, “Kuoni International Equestrian Festival marks a new era for the promotion of Equestrian as a lifestyle sport on the lines of Golf and Polo”.
Anand Sharma, Minister of State for External Affairs presented awards to the winners. The Estonia gold medal went to Marika Vunder; silver medal to Sirly Tillmann and Bronze Medal to M S Rathore. In the Tent Pegging Championship category, prizes were awarded by Anand Sharma and Zubin Karkaria,
The classical art of dressage is not new. What we see today as a highly technical and exacting discipline had its origins in the cavalries of ancient Greece and Rome. Dressage is a French word which roughly translates as ”training”.
Competitive dressage takes the form of a series of tests of ever increasing difficulty. Each test is a rigorous routine of a set gymnastic movements which are performed with absolute exactness in front of judges. Not only must the test be performed with accuracy, but also none of the inherent power and beauty of the horse’s movement must be lost; rather, it should be enhanced. The sequence of movements are designed to demonstrate the horse’s suppleness, obedience and strength.
Tent Pegging is a Cavalry Sport of ancient origin. Cavaliers have practiced the specific game of tent pegging since at least the 4th century BC, and Asian and later European empires spread the game around the world.
Present day competition entails mounted horseman riding at breakneck speed and using a lance to pierce, pick up and carry away small ground targets, namely pegs.