I have always been fascinated with horses, as they are creatures with strength and grace. My very first encounter with these magnificent beings was a pony ride at the Singapore Zoological Garden when I was about six years old. When I moved to London, I decided to take proper riding lessons, since I was living a stone's throw away from Hyde Park. However, a misadventure in the South of France when I got thrown off a horse with one foot stuck in the stirrup (and dragged for a few seconds) put me off equestrian for a couple of years.
It took me five years after the traumatic accident to overcome my fear. I finally decided to try again when I was in Australia in 2006. It was a leisure stroll with no stress, just lots of flies during a hot summer!
Lately, with a new outlook in life, I have devoted my free time to doing activities that I have always wanted to do. Horseback riding has always something I want to get back to doing. After doing some research, I finally found Horse City, a place in Singapore that do not require me to pay a hefty membership fee to join. The best part about this place is that it even offer a one-time trial lesson, so you can try out before committing to a course of 5 or 10 lessons.
Located at Bukit Timah on Turf Club Road (where Picotin restaurant is located), it is situated on the former grounds of the Turf Club. The horses here are all ex-racehorses. There are also ponies for young riders. I signed up for the private one-on-one lessons so I could learn faster. My instructor is an ex-jockey who has lots to teach me about handling horses and riding skills. My last lesson was a breakthrough as I managed to get the horse that I am riding for the very first time to do a series of basic obstacle course. It was a boost to my confidence and gave me an immense joy (one that exceeds the acquisition of any material good).
The best thing about horseback riding is you have to be focused when you are doing it, kinda like when one is doing yoga. There is no competition, you just need to build the rapport with the horse, and let it know you are in control. Animals can sense fear, so staying calm is a virtue.
Should you wish to have a retreat of a different kind, you can check in to Rider's Lodge instead of a hotel in town or Sentosa. The rooms are basic and not fancy, but you get to be in nature and walk over for your riding lessons. There's a dog hotel next door, so it won't be a good idea if you want to sleep in. The lodge is perfect for those who want to ride horses and play golf down the road. There are also other facilities at Horse City... a spa, yoga studio, child care centre, golf school for kids, and many more.
Official Site: www.horsecity.com.sg