Sunday, December 16, 2012
Rider of Dubai
Aarish Khan has horses in his blood. He comes from generations of India’s finest equestrians. His father was a jockey, and, like his father, Aarish dreamed of becoming a jockey; riding, loving and living with horses. At the age of ten, Aarish's father introduced him to the art of riding and the joys of horsemanship.
Very poor, no money for food, Aarish was seventeen when he decided to travel to Hyderabad from Delhi to obtain his jockey license. Aarish remembers, “The steward at the license bureau told me I was too young, but a very good rider. He said not to waste my time here, but to go to Dubai. I returned to Delhi and obtained my passport, then journeyed back to Hyderabad for my license. The steward gave me one VISA for Dubai. I was nineteen when I finally set foot in Dubai. I was hired to exercise and care for racehorses.”
Excited to arrive in a new country and begin his lifelong desire, Aarish is passionate about his new venture. “I LOVE my horses!” Aarish exclaims. “Everything is horses because horses give me a good job. Now everybody respects me and all my relatives want to meet me or with my family because now I am not like before, a poor man.” Aarish is more comfortable on the back of a horse than on his own two feet. He is surrounded by horses everyday, all the time.
The horse industry in Dubai has been generous to Aarish. However, like anything worthwhile, Aarish works hard for his salary. He is awake early for long, vigorous days of riding. Daily care of horses and helping to create a winning horse can be tiring. Waking and preparing for the day, Aarish dons his signature blue riding attire. From the groom’s quarters to the stables is a short jaunt. The horses are lounging in piles of hay, in impeccable stalls. “I enjoy caring for my horses and keeping them happy and healthy. When they look good, I look good.”
As a racehorse exerciser, Aarish meets the most outstanding horses. His horses are intelligent, strong and eager to please. Aarish must know the business of obtaining top speed from his horse while considering the horse’s temperament and disposition. He must know the logistics of gaits and the importance of perseverance. Whether riding through fog, rain or dust, his horse must meet stringent goals.
Aarish is preparing for the racing season that begins the first of November. He has been assigned three horses: Konsal, Mojave Moon and Janood. Konsal is his favorite horse. Aarish explains, “Before Konsal came to our stable, he could barely trot. He was a problem horse, but he is much better now and in good condition. The daily routine is the same for each horse, ten minute walk, twenty minute trot, ten minute walk, then going to center.”
Having a deep respect, interest and love for horses, Aarish has had the opportunity to meet many horse breeds. “Thoroughbreds are my favorite for riding,” Aarish says. “But I like Kathiyawari breed. They are a fast horse at 600 meters. I like Arabian horses, too, because they’re beautiful and spirited.”
Aarish has been living among horses in Dubai for four years now. He is happy, content and connected to the horses. Aarish says, “My horse, my dream, my hope; everything is riding. My starting salary was small, but now it is good. Finally I can help my family with necessities and living expenses. I’ve purchased my own home and live comfortably. Horses are my life. Riding is my passion.” You can find Aarish in Dubai, circled by sand and blue seas, living happily among horses, living his dream.
Aarish Kahn lives and works in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
© Gina McKnight, Author, Poet & Freelancer USA http://www.gmcknight.com
No duplication without permission. Original Publication Going Gaited Zine August 13, 2012