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Maiden Chandigarh Horse Show Begins

Chandigarh Horse Show
The first-ever Chandigarh Horse Show begins on October 29, 2021.

Winston Churchill had once said, “No hour of life spent in the saddle is ever wasted.” These majestic animals have been admired by commoners who have had the luxury of befriending them as farm animals as well as warriors who have annexed lands with them.

Former Miss India and model-turned-actor Alankrita Sahai and her team are organising a one-of-its-kind event – the Chandigarh Horse Show to celebrate the love for horses and equestrian sport. “I believe that befriending a horse is making a friend for life. Our event is called a ‘Carnival for Champions’. Punjab has a rich heritage and horse riding has been part of our culture, many wars have been won on the back of a horse too. I want our people to come together to understand the beauty and the friendship of a horse. But that is not the only reason why the Chandigarh Horse Show was conceptualised,” says Alankrita.

The line-up of events and activities of the show goes on to prove just that. The show that opens on Friday, October 29, will be spread over three days and will have a range of activities and competitions.

More than 100 horses are set to take part in the Chandigarh Horse Show, which will be held at The Ranch of Equestrian Club in New Chandigarh, from October 29 to 31. The event will record participation from different parts of the country. The show will be inaugurated by Chandigarh SSP Kuldeep Chahal and the showjumping and tent pegging event will be held as per the guidelines of the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI). On the last day of the show, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and DGP Punjab Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota will honour the winners. As many 21 events, including tent pegging, show jumping, and six-bars, will be organised. A total of 150 riders from across the nation have confirmed their entries so far. In addition, the event is being organised under the aegis of the EFI and the winners will carry forward the rankings obtained here to future tournaments. The winner of each event will be awarded Rs10,000, while the runners-up will get Rs6,000 and the second runners-up will purse Rs4,000.

There are several attractions as well during the Championship which is taking place on the other side of the arena. There will be a pre-Diwali mini shopping carnival for exhibitors, food stalls, massages, free horseback riding, music, and many other fun-filled things planned for guests. The entry to the event is via a free registration link available on www.chandigarhhorseshow.com

Tracing The Equestrian History of Punjab

Speaking about the history of equestrian sport in Punjab, Alankrita Sahai says, “Horses have been a part of folklore in Punjab! Most of its wars have been won on horseback.”

Alankrita Sahai and her team are organising an event which is one-of-a-kind in Chandigarh called the Chandigarh Horse Show at The Ranch

She’s right. There are numerous mentions of horses in the Guru Granth Sahib. The importance of horses and horse-riding in Punjab and also Sikhism is best highlighted by the description of the 10th Guru, Gobind Singh Ji—as ‘neelay ghoday wala’ or the one with a blue horse.

When sovereign states—called misls— emerged in Punjab after the establishment of Khalsa Panth by Guru Gobind  Singh, Banda Bahadur created small groups of armies, including the units mounted on horses, to fight invaders.

Equestrian history also found its way into legends, a lot of them as grand as they are true. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who got all the sovereign states and misls together was a great lover of horses and patron of equestrian sports. His favourite steed amongst his well-appointed stable was Laili—the grey horse from Burkhazi which took 12 years to procure—that when it arrived, the streets of Lahore were washed with milk.

Even now, horses are a huge part of Punjab’s culture and heritage. Two events are especially significant to the past, present and future of equestrian sport in Punjab. The Hola Mohalla and Kila Raipur annual sports festivals provide a platform for Nihang horsemen to showcase their skills annually. But beyond that, the city dwellers were not in touch with modern equestrian sport—until now.

Chandigarh Horse Show: Bridging the Gap

Alankrita Sahai, a TedX speaker, and social worker is dedicated to helping the underprivileged and has always been a sports enthusiast from starting the Football Association for Women in Mumbai to now reliving her childhood love for horses. The beauty with brains is ready to gallop into organising a weekend of equestrian extravaganza in Chandigarh, and as she says, “hopefully take it across India”.

Alankrita Sahai is a former Miss India and a social worker.

“An increasingly digital, modern lifestyle is creating a hunger for authentic and relatable interactions that connect us to others like us. The Chandigarh Horse Show, besides being a fun-filled, enthralling, and entertaining event that will charm all age groups is also, in its own unique way will help bring together the animal-loving community to appreciate the equestrian sport and the history of horses in Punjab. We’re social animals and the burgeoning e-commerce has connected us to the entire world transactionally, but not socially, which has left an unfulfilled need. CHS in its most unique way is stepping in to provide an immediate, authentic and thrilling platform to fulfilling that primal need & enable the most beautiful city of India, Chandigarh and its beautiful people,” says Alankrita Sahai, explaining the idea behind the maiden Chandigarh Horse Show.

Teams from Indian Navy, Chandigarh Police, Haryana Police, Gurgaon Horse Club, PAP Punjab, Budda Dal School Patiala, and Vardhinand Horse Academy, among many others, are expected to participate in the show offering a carnival experience, with food stalls, games for children, horse riding, etc.

 “The main objective of the show is to promote equestrian sport among people. Horse riding enjoys immense popularity in the West and in Rajasthan in India, but it still needs to be promoted in other states that have horses as an integral part of their history and culture,” said Alankrita.

Entry to the Chandigarh Horse Show is free. Further details are available at https://chandigarhhorseshow.com/

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