KAMPALA- Local horse riding enthusiasts will now fall under the Uganda Equestrian Association (UEA) that was launched yesterday at Flametree Stables in Kijabijo Village, Gayaza.
With only four clubs, 200 horses and just seven riders, the sport is largely alien in the Pearl of Africa and has a long way to reach the levels of neighbouring Kenya, where Ugandan riders have participated in competitions for the past decade, with over 3000 horses.
“Compared to them (Kenya), we are just a drop in the ocean but though we make up just 8-12% of their entries, we usually win 50% of their silverware,” UEA vice-president Bowser Miranda, who introduced horses in Uganda in 1997 with the help of business mogul Sudhir Ruparelia, said.
UEA is now tasked with developing and promoting this expensive sport whose intricacies can take a lifetime to master. The three riders, who made a demonstration of the three horse -riding disciplines of dressage, eventing (cross-country) and show jumping, have been involved with horses for more than 10 years, yet they continue to learn new tricks.
There is a wider dream to participate in future Olympics which Miranda believes will take Uganda a minimum of 10-12years to achieve. For now Ugandan riders can only participate, on invitation, in continental events.
“To be true to you, it’s an expensive sport and people have got to spend to be involved. But if anyone is interested and can be employed at the stables, we can let them ride for free,” Miranda said on plans to develop athletes and spread the game all over the country.