Horseback riding was once considered a knightly discipline and was the privilege of princes and nobility, but in recent times riding became a sport beloved both by children and adults. To mount a horse and set off into the countryside, to forget the responsibilities and stress, to free up the mind – is becoming a unique recipe to refresh the body and soul of the modern man of today.
By Dasha Gajić
In recent years the equestrian sport has become very popular in Bosnia and Herzegovina, thus also in the city on the Vrbas, and today in Banja Luka there are two equestrian clubs: EC Paddock and EC Čokorska Fields. Horseback riding has multiple beneficial effects on health, and it is said that one minute of riding has the equal effect of taking 90 individual steps. It improves motor functions, increases the level of joint mobility, strengthens the cardiovascular system, and the time spent outdoors enjoying the fresh air is considered invaluable for stress relief. Therefore, we should not delay going to one of the closest horse farms that are commonly found in the picturesque landscape, far from the noise and city bustle.
Equestrian Club „Čokorska Fields“
Equestrian club „Čokorska Fields“ has been in existence since 2009 and is located on the site of the same name, some 10 kilometers away from Banja Luka centre. Their services include a riding school, sports riding, trail riding, horse training, pony horse walks, as well as board for privately-owned horses. Their doors are open every day (except Monday) from 09 a.m. to 08 p.m.
In addition to recreational riding, therapeutic riding is gaining in popularity. Slavica Kecman, physiotherapist and head instructor of therapeutic riding, explained the essence and significance of therapeutic riding: ,,Therapeutic riding is the use of horses and activities oriented toward the horses in order to achieve different therapeutic goals: physical, emotional, cognitive etc. There are many advantages of this type of therapy, because it achieves the control of posture and balance, improves circulation, creates symmetry of movement and normalisation of muscle tone“. In our conversation Kecman also stressed: ,,SO ‘Energy of life’ is the only organisation in Republika Srpska which, in an organised fashion, with the involvement of the entire professional team, engages in therapeutic riding, activities with horses and surrounding horses. Due to the lack of our own infrastructure for therapeutic horseback riding activities, we rent the required infrastructure from Equestrian club “Čokorska Fields”, where we currently conduct our activities “.
Equestrian Club „Paddock“
Equestrian club „Paddock“ is located in a natural setting on private property the size of 6,000 m², in Barlovci, 13 kilometers from the centre of Banja Luka.
EC „Paddock“ offers a riding school, sports and trail riding, horse training, board for horses etc. In the past seven years, EC „Paddock“ has, in addition to the riding school, organised a number of competitions and their members have participated in national and international competitions where they achieved great results. This club is for members and owners of horses only. It is open for the general public only on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Founder of EC “Paddock” and licensed instructor, Katarina Jovanović, talks more about the activities of the club for our readers: ,,EC Paddock was founded in 2010 as a sports club with the aim of promoting and popularising the equestrian sports, but also to restore the tradition of equestrian sports in Banja Luka. Equestrian sports are Olympic sports in three disciplines, and we deal with one of them, dressage.
In our work, we also promote other disciplines of equestrian sports. We were the first in Republika Srpska to organise a competition in long-distance riding, and this year for the first time in Bosnia and Herzegovina we are organising a competition in the horse-drawn sport which will be international in character “.
If you love nature and animals, but still have not found the ideal recreation for you, our recommendation is to enroll in a riding school this summer, and thus improve your physical and mental health.