Horse is one animal that fascinates me the most and this fascination is shared by some of my friends who got together on a Saturday morning and landed at the Delhi Turf Club.
It was a cold morning on the second day of 2016 when we boarded the Delhi Metro from Huda Metro Station for the Delhi Turf Club or the Delhi Race Club.
Delhi Turf Club or the Delhi Race Club is about 75 years old, being first established in 1940 and has a very prestigious location. It lends its name to the road outside on which Prime Minister of India resides. There is another very important landmark of the city on this road, the Delhi Gymkhana Club, which can only be approached from Safdarjung Road due to security reasons.
In India, Horse racing started about 200 years ago during the British Raj and the country’s first Turf Club was established in Madras (now Chennai) in 1777. Apart from this, the other Turf Clubs are in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkatta and Mumbai, Pune and Hyderbad but undoubtedly Delhi Turf Club is the best in the country.
Racing in India is restricted to Indian-bred racehorses as a result India has a well established breeding industry with stallions imported from all over the world.
Training horses is a consistent and complex process as trainers have to ensure that the horses are at their competitive best when performing. They are well-rested so that they can gives their best on the day of the race.
While preparing a horse for racing it is ensured that they are neither over trained as it causes them to tire nor under-trained as it can cause cramps, strains and injuries. To the un-initiated in races, it may seem that horses are pampered when being massaged and exercised but this extra care is worth the investment. The trainer and groomers achieve this together. Nutrition is also very important part of race preparation. Specially formulated feed are used for competitions.
The way a horse walks is called a Gait and there are of two types, one, the “natural” gait that most un-trained horses use and the “ambling” gaits that the horse performs on a rider’s command. Quadrupeds or four legged animals use walking & ambling gaits, running or trotting gaits, and leaping gaits.
We saw horses being trained for both ambling and trotting. Funnily enough while we were clicking pictures we were told that officially photography is not allowed in the Turf Club but when we told them that we are amateurs, we were told that if we click quietly the club officials will ignore us. But being good citizens we left the club to avoided any confrontation later.
It was a truly a morning well spent with friends.