Ahead of Dasara, Mayor’s maiden ride on horse back
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Ahead of Dasara, Mayor’s maiden ride on horse back

September 12, 2022

Training for tent pegging by Mounted Police also underway at Horse Park

Mysore/Mysuru: To lead the Jumboo Savari, the new Mayor of Mysuru Shivakumar is getting a crash course in horse riding and today was the first day of the training where the basics were explained to him.

Dressed in a T-shirt and pants and wearing a helmet and shoes, the Mayor reached the Mounted Police Horse Training Centre at Horse Park at 6 am today and groomed the horse before riding on it for a few rounds. He was taken around the place, accompanied by two more horses on either side and one trainer holding the reins of the Mayor’s horse so that he does not lose balance on his maiden ride.  

Shivakumar is getting an opportunity to ride the horse with pride and dignity wearing the ceremonial gown and the Mysore Peta (headgear) in all its grandeur and he will lead the Dasara procession on Oct. 5. Mayor’s horse riding feat was given a go-by during the 2020 and 2021 Dasara as they were low-key celebrations and the Vijayadashami procession was restricted to the Mysore Palace.

The Mayor is expected to lead a procession of 14 elephants, over 35 horses, 20 tableaux, over 30 folk dance groups and traditional drummers from the historic Mysore Palace to Bannimantap Torchlight Parade Grounds. Travelling a distance of five kilometres, the Mayor will be watched keenly by lakhs of spectators inside the Palace premises and along the Raja Marga.

Shivakumar has 23 days to master the art of horse riding and his trainers are Srinivas, Lokesh and Anand Singh who have trained many Mayors in the past to ride the horse. Speaking to Star of Mysore after a short ride on the horse, Shivakumar said that he was fortunate to be an integral part of Dasara soon after his election as the Mayor.

“I have over 23 days to learn the horse riding and I was nervous as I approached and touched the horse and patted its face. Though the trainers are with me always, it was an anxious moment. I am sure that my confidence will grow in the next couple of days,”  Shivakumar said.

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In the following days, the Mayor will be taught to hold the reins and control the horse through the straps and use his legs. He will be religiously training up to three to four hours every day.

Tent Pegging

Along with the horse riding training to the Mayor, the Mounted Police under the leadership of Commandant Nagaraja began the other exercises with horses that are usually held as part of Dasara at the Mysore Palace and the Bannimantap Torchlight Parade Grounds.

Training also began for Tent Pegging that is held on the last day of the festivities. Tent Pegging or ‘Neza Bazi’ is held as part of the Torchlight Parade and it is a cavalry sport of ancient origin.

The training for the exercises with horses began at the Horse Park where personnel and horses are being trained for the march-past, the role of the Commandant and Parade Commander, taking orders from the VIPs and parade formations.

This year, the responsibility of the Mounted Police is manifold as it will be a grand celebration in front of VIPs and guests at the Palace and the Parade Grounds. The exercise is held annually and gives an idea to the officers and staff who have joined or deputed to the Mounted Police wing as part of their service.

After several rounds of practice, the rehearsals will be held at the Palace and the Torchlight Parade Grounds for three days before the grand finale.

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