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Equestrian Equations

His ease with words and his humble smile are instant ice breakers. But Suresh Babu is also a serious man,one who believes in working towards any goal with single-minded devotion.

Trainer and horse rider Suresh Babu’s love for history has inspired him to take treks tothe forts in and around the city for the past 25 years

His ease with words and his humble smile are instant ice breakers. But Suresh Babu is also a serious man,one who believes in working towards any goal with single-minded devotion. Be it training people to ride horses or even undertaking impossible horseback expeditions to forts across the state,he takes only the path of diligence and hard work. And that has seen him achieve some unusual feats.

“I started riding horses way back in 1983,” he beams as he begins to talk about his equestrian journey. “From 1985 I started teaching people to ride. What had begun as a hobby soon turned into full-time work. Initially the teaching was extended only to my friends,but when more and more encouragement kept coming in from all quarters,I started including others too.”

Horse training however,is just one side of his multifaceted persona. Babu is a keen history lover,and recounts that it was a lecture by historian Babasaheb Purandare that inspired him to look at life with a historical bent of mind. This triggered the horse expeditions down to the forts in and around the city. “People might say it’s funny,but when one does 300 kms on a horseback to and fro a fort,one realises how daunting a task it must have been back in the days when this was the only means of transport,” he reveals.

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Logistics are extremely important while preparing for a fort journey,especially of the kinds that Babu undertakes. He spends at least two to three months understanding the topography of a fort. “You cannot afford to be careless while going on such journeys. Right from understanding the mentality of the horse you are riding on to the mud paths that need to be passed on the way,every detail must be planned well,” he says.

From completing his expeditions and teaching over 2,500 people so far,to balancing his interior designing business,this man does it all rather deftly. He feels that teaching a person to ride a horse is not easy,given that every person has to understand the animal he or she would ride. “I spend the first two days just teaching people about the animals and their behaviour,so that they can get to know each other better,” he says.

Having completed treks to forts like Shivneri,Raigad,Rajgad Purandar and Pratapgad,his plans for the future too are coloured with similar ambitions. He has trekked through Sinhagadh close to 82 times now,but he shows no signs of wanting to hang up the saddle yet. “It’s not just about learning history. It’s more about taking youngsters along and making them a part of it,” he says with a flourish.

First published on: 21-02-2011 at 00:33 IST
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