Weekend Horse-Riding at Lo Wu Saddle Club
GETTING BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN
When I was 10-years-old, my mother enrolled me in the “Berklee’s School of Etiquette” so I could learn how to be a lady. While I may not have retained the knowledge of what fork to use on what occasion or when and where the proper time to wear gloves is, the saving grace of this class was that every week, for those that signed up, students would learn how to ride horses because apparently learning equestrian is on the checklist of lady skills. In any case, I won’t run a smear campaign because as much as I hated etiquette school, that’s as much as I loved horse riding. And while the day of riding “side-saddle” was pointless, pretty much everything else I retained to be able to still ride to this day.
EQUESTRIAN RULES IN HONG KONG DIFFER FROM THE WEST
This weekend I decided to head over to Lo Wu Saddle Club in Hong Kong and get “back on the saddle” literally though. I went with a friend of mine who has similar riding experience and while we literally trekked a total of 1.5 hours (there and back) to ride for a total of 45 minutes, it was defnitely worth it!
For those of you who have never ridden a horse before or for those of you that have extensive riding experience, Hong Kong has many stables and opportunities. With a handful of public riding stables under the Jockey Club and a few private riding stables offering private, semi-private and group lessons, Hong Kong is a great place to learn or hone in on your skills.
I noticed that Hong Kong is much different than the United States and France when it comes to riding and horse upkeep. In general a riding lesson in the USA and France involves not just being on the actual horse, but also learning how to properly take care and keep the animal. That includes cleaning the stalls, washing and brushing the horse, cleaning their hooves, tacking (attaching saddle and bridle) and de-tacking when the lesson is over. A horse is a very sensitive and valuable animal and I was always taught that learning how to take care of a horse was essential when learning how to ride.
In Hong Kong, these skills are not really taught or enforced. When you sign up for a riding lesson, you are assigned a horse and the workers in the stables do everything for you minus riding the animal. This is considered normal and just described as “the way we do it in Hong Kong.” Interesting, but for me always found that riding a horse wasn’t just about learning what to do on top of the animal. It was important to know how to upkeep them and time and energy that went into an animal of this size and importance. But, the horses all seemed very happy and well-kept, so its very obvious that the stable workers are doing a very good job and quite possibly don’t want to risk the horses’ health with novices.
LO WU SADDLE CLUB IMPRESSES WITH ITS INSTRUCTORS
What I do have to say about Lo Wu Saddle Club is, unlike some of the stables here (cough cough Jockey Club), they have some of the nicest instructors available. Every instructor I’ve had at LWSC has been nice, attentive, and genuinely happy to be around horses and teaching lessons to students. This is a great quality, because you would be surprised how many riding clubs in Hong Kong employ people who seem to hate your very existence and won’t get off the chair on the sidelines to interact with you during the lesson.
Overall the Lo Wu Saddle Club is a great place to “get back on the saddle again” if you used to do equestrian, otherwise it’s a great place to bring the family or start riding for the frst time.
Private and semi-private lessons are booked in a frst come frst served basis until you can establish a regular time-slot. An easier way to get into regular time slot would be to join a pre-existing group. Each group is separated by skill level and age so before joining a group, a proper assessment would have to be made.