Horses on the beach — Vizag’s first equestrian festival

Headstart

Race tracks are so yesterday. Canter instead to the coast of Andhra Pradesh where India’s first horse races happen on a sand track at Visakhapatnam.. Highlights include two grand races, Mewari horses dancing, parades, and many flourishes and stunts from experienced trick riders. Held over two days, this event is sure to be a spectacle worth catching from starting gun to finish line.

Heart Of It

Horse racing in India is an old, old sport. Accounts indicate that races were held as far back as 1777, when the first race course was built in Chennai. Since then, race tracks have sprung up around the country and horses draw huge crowds. Now, taking the races to the sea shore for the first time, as well as showcasing various lesser-known aspects of the cavalry sports, the Vizag Stud Millions event promises thrills galore for spectators young and old.

The main draw is, of course, the racing. Fillies and mares will compete for the titles in two races — one for horses from within the state of Andhra Pradesh, and one for horses from across the country. Expect to see prominent and celebrated horses as well as riders competing here. But the side shows are not just post-scripts. Indeed, they’re all unique and are guaranteed to really mesmerize onlookers.

UniQ-Quotient

If nothing else, your heart is bound to gladden with the sight of horses that dance. The Mewari horse, a special breed that originates in Rajasthan, does beautiful prances and poses to the accompaniment of music.

Children, young and old, will also find the tent-pegging exercises enthralling. Tent pegging first began in the northwest frontier provinces of India as far back as the 4th century BCE, and involves riders collecting or grabbing a series of objects off the ground while their horse runs down a course. These objects can be as small as a lemon or as large as a mannequin.

If you’ve only ever seen the Olympic sport of dressage on the television, this is your chance to catch it live as India’s best proponents — horses and riders completely attuned to one and other — perform a series of simple-looking choreographed movements that are in reality very difficult to harmonize.

Another crowd favourite is trick riding where jockeys hang from horses, jump off their rides while in gallop, and do other death-defying stunts.

And then there are the parades. Sharply kitted horses in beautiful gear march in step, looking every bit as regal as only these mighty beasts can. So, what are you waiting for? Hold on to your hats and head for the races.

Zoom In

 The marquees are set up every morning after the tide recedes and the coast is clear for the races! Various activities are scheduled for the afternoon. Plan to drive up early and get a good seat for the best views of the proceedings.

Refreshments will be available at a pop-up bar and restaurant.

When: 4pm – 8pm on March 3 and 4, 2018

Where: R. K. Beach, Visakhapatnam

Website: http://www.vizagstudmillion.com/itinerary/

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