Not so long ago, an Ashgabat equestrian club announced the recruitment of 12-15-years-old boys in a group of initial training in the “show-jumping” specialty. Lessons are held at the “Bedev” hippodrome, in an indoor or outdoor arena, depending on weather conditions. Anna Sapegina, an experienced mentor, candidate for master of sports in dressage, trains teenagers.
At the initial stage, each applicant for the rider’s place is personally interviewed. According to the coach, it is important for her to know that the child first of all shows interest in this sport and wants to get results from classes. After all, trainings are the serious matter, and they are held in two shifts for several hours.
“At the moment, there are more girls in my group, so I purposefully recruit boys, – says Anna. – It is desirable boys to be healthy, with good physical training, as training requires a lot of energy. I have been engaging in konkur since childhood and have a lot of experience in this sport. For those who are seriously training, in the future there are great prospects not only in show-jumping, but also in personal growth.”
It is proved that communication with horses distresses and has a positive effect on the emotional state of children and youngsters. Coming to the racetrack, the child is in direct contact with their pet. Young riders take care of the horses, clean the stables, feed and clean the animals, and equip them for training. Tactile interaction with the animal brings physical warmth, which is reflected on the psychological level of children.
“In medicine, there is a method of treatment – hippo-therapy. And sometimes children who have some health problems are brought to our classes. We hold our trainings with them, ride them. Physical motor skills of a horse step contribute to the positive dynamics of development of children with disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Movements of the back of a walking horse warm up and massage the muscles of the rider’s legs, increasing blood flow – and this is very useful.”
Children are training with joy and interest in the arena, and at the initial stage they break in the quietest stallions. And in order to feel confident in the saddle in any situation, young athletes periodically learn dressage on horses with a steeper temper.
“In no circumstances, you should not get used to one horse, all horses have different mores and habits. That’s why I teach children to be able to bridle any, even the most capricious animal – continues the coach. – At the racetrack, we also take care of safety, classes are held only in head guards, which I give out, and some athletes buy a personal headgear for themselves. Professional equipment is quite expensive, so I recommend wearing stretch jeans, tight high socks and high-quality comfortable soft shoes.”
Success in riding forms a child’s personality and expands their communication capabilities. Trust in people comes through trust in a horse. Many of Anna Sapegina’s pupils take part in competitions and even think about entering the country’s sports universities in the future.
Equestrian sport remains one of the most popular in Turkmenistan, the Akhal-Teke breed of horses is a real pride of the nation. The country continues to develop equestrian sports, and in the near future there is a plan to create an Academy of Akhal-Teke Horse-breeding.