What is Horse Safari
A safari on horseback makes for a unique way of seeing a country up close, especially those places where motorized transport would have little chance of reaching, where the terrain (or a lack of roads) makes many areas inaccessible. Just like it used to in olden times, when it was the most reliable (and the hardiest) means of getting from one point to another – for both commoner and king – the horse continues to play that role even in the modern world. But these days, this most handsome of animals is also perfect for some leisurely sightseeing. Horse safaris have become a popular way acquainting oneself with the local culture and traditions.
Horse Safari in India
Over the centuries in Rajasthan, the horse has been more than just about transport. It has been a way of life for the nobility and royalty (it was said that “One cannot separate a Rajput from his horse”, and, also, “If God did not create the horse, he would not have created the Rajput”). Maharajas would travel on a horse, and while away time on a horse. Horses were bred for battle, and in peacetime would be shown off by proud princes.
Today, you can immerse yourself in the traditions of the Rajputs by going on a horse safari, many run by those of royal lineage. The regal horses (there are three breeds in these parts – Marwari, Sindhi and Kathiawadi) were known for their gallantry, fidelity and stamina (qualities they retain to this day). Enjoy the architectural marvels of Rajasthan – the forts, monuments, havelis and palaces – and her abundant wildlife, on horseback. (Most of the horse safaris in Rajasthan traverse the foothills of the Aravallis.) Outside India’s desert state, horse safaris are also available in the Himalayas. Parts of the jungles and forests in the Himalayan foothills, on the fringes of Corbett National Park, are difficult to penetrate in motorcars; horses are ideal for exploring this beautiful, tranquil and wildlife-rich landscape.
Half-chaps/riding boots, riding gloves, riding breeches/jodhpurs/jeans, riding helmet/ hard hat/peak cap
Best season in India
Winters, in Rajasthan (October to March) and in the Himalayas (November to April)
Horse Safari sites in India
Rajasthan – Around Kumbhalgarh, Jodhpur, Pushkar, Shekhawati and Udaipur
Himalayas – Kumaon (Uttarakhand)
One has to be aware of basic horse-riding skills, including knowing when to trot and when to canter. More importantly, you should know when to gallop – a necessary skill whenever any sort of trouble is encountered. There should also be a professional guide (or guides) accompanying you. Riding a horse through the day can be tiring (especially for those who’re not too used to it), so do give yourself a good break every 3-4 hours. And keep your energy levels up by ingesting food and drinking water regularly (carry bottled water, along with a flashlight, sunscreen and insect repellent).
If you have a medical condition, do carry along the necessary prescribed medication (best to get an all-clear from your doctor first). Also, bring anti-malaria tablets and a first- aid kit.
Riding a horse is as non-polluting a means of transport as any on the planet! But wherever you may be riding through, do leave the place as clean as you found it – and don’t litter.