If it has always been your dream to learn horse riding and be able to gallop freely with your four-legged buddy across wide open fields, Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre (STCRC) would be the place to help you fulfil it. An exciting community project by Singapore Turf Club (STC) and Tote Board, STCRC aims to develop equestrian sport and groom the next generation of athletes and talents as well as foster a local horse-riding community by introducing and educating the public on horses and caring for them. Join us as we go on a leisure horse ride to get our first-hand experience of horse riding in Singapore.
The Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre
Located next to the Singapore Turf Club at Kranji, STCRC provides a range of equestrian services and programmes. Folks who are looking to take up equestrian sports professionally can approach STCRC’s team of professional riding instructors and coaches. For leisure riders, STCRC offers horse riding lessons, horse livery and equine experience for people with no prior experience to enjoy a hands-on experience with horses.
STCRC is definitely Asia’s Premier Equestrian Hub as it features 2 world-class riding arenas, a 50m x 100m open arena and a 50m x 80m sheltered arena, classrooms to learn all about stable management and the care of horses, 20 well-trained riding school ponies and horses, a café and a tack shop; 21 stables; paddocks; lockers; wash bays; A/C feed room, tack room and Singapore’s only fully equipped equine surgical facility.
The Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre – Requirements, Dress Code & Rules
Unfortunately. horse riding is not for everyone. The rider has to be at least 8 years old and between the weight of 30kg and 75kg for personal safety and welfare of the horses. Folks who are on the heavier side can still apply to ride but will be reviewed by STCRC riding instructors on a case-by-case basis.
On the day of the lesson, riders must be dressed in the following:
- Comfortable sleeved top (T-shirt, Polo shirt etc.);
- Comfortable full-length trousers (Track pants or Jodhpurs, NO shorts or 3/4 pants);
- Permitted footwear with socks (long/short riding boots or shoes with a smooth sole and small heel, NO sports shoes, trainers or sneakers).
- For your own safety, long hair must be tied back, with a helmet to be worn at all times during the riding lesson. NO dangling earrings and/or jewellery should be worn.
If you do not have the appropriate footwear, fret not. You can rent from them before the lesson. The size should be similar to that of your bowling shoes.
Once we are ready with our gears, we started our walk to the stables where I will meet my horse buddy for the day. My trainer Ruben shared the following rules to be strictly followed within the premise to ensure the safety of visitors and riders:
- No running or playing
- No loud noises
- No sudden movements near kickboard or railings when horses are in the arenas
- No throwing of objects in the arenas
- No photography or videography
- No food and drinks, umbrellas and balloons
- No disorderly or inappropriate behaviours
- All mobile phones are to be switched to silent or vibration mode
My horse buddy did get a little startled when we take photos and videos of the ride so it is critical that all riders obey the above rules. Before we know it, we reached the stables!
The Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre – Familiarisation & Grooming
Horses get to chill out and relax when they are off work in their personal space in the stable. Here’s Scooby peeking out of his unit 15 to check out who is walking by.
Here’s High Street, my horse buddy for the lesson! Ruben shared that he is a retired racehorse which got me both impressed and worried. I hope he does not bolt as I am an inexperienced rider. I was taught to pet and stroke him so we can get to know each another better. It is important that both rider and horse get comfortable with each another. It is also the time to sense if the horse is not feeling well or not keen for riding activities on a particular day. High Street gently and playfully nibbled at me as I stroked his face. Guess he is checking out the newbie too.
Before we bring High Street out, we have to groom him to get him ready. Ruben presented a set of tools to help us do the job.
First, we cleaned his hoofs, removing debris with the Hoof Pick for a smoother trot. Once everything is dug out, use the brush to sweep the hoofs clean.
Next, we put on the exercise boots for High Street. When grooming horses, it is important not to stand behind them at any point and always let them know exactly where you are to ensure safety.
Exercise boots help to protect the weakest part of the horse’s legs. An injury here can put a horse out of action for months.
Before we put the saddle on, we need to brush our horse’s body as well as its mane and tail to make sure it looks smart and presentable.
When putting on the saddle, it is important to check that it fits comfortably on the horseback yet at the same time, not compromising the safety of the rider. High Street tried to nip Ruben while he was fastening the girth but our instructor had everything under control.
The Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre – Mount and Set Off
Finally, we are ready to mount High Street. Experienced riders are able to lift themselves and mount without much help. For newbies like myself, a flight of wooden stairs were placed by the side of the horse to assist with the mount. It does take a leap of faith to climb onto a horse’s back. My advice – just bite the bullet and trust your instructor!
I heaved a sigh of relief when I was firmly seated on the saddle. To be very honest, height from the saddle to the ground can be very intimidating but you do get used to it after a while.
The Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre – Guided Training
Ruben led us to the Olympic-class covered arena where he commenced teaching me the correct way to hold the reins as well as body and leg position.
For the first lesson, my primary task was getting myself used to rising out of the saddle to accommodate the horse’s movement. If we do not rise accordingly to the horse’s rhythm, it may impair the horse’s movements and hurt its back. Ruben explained that learning to do this is like learning how to balance on and ride a bicycle. Once you get used to it, it will come naturally without much effort. It’s all about practice, practice, practice.
While it looked like a simple action, it takes core strength to lift yourself up without relying on pulling the reins, and it has to be done continuously without any stops. We called it a day after around 30 minutes to offer some rest for my back and calves. However, I am determined to get better and be more resilient at this!
The Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre – Post Riding
After the ride, we will need to give High Street a good bath before returning back to the stable. Compared to mounting, getting off was much easier by just sliding down from the horse but it still takes a leap of faith. When I was washing his head, High Street kept putting the hose into his mouth to drink from it. At first, I thought he was feeling thirsty after the lesson but Ruben jokingly said High Street probably did not sweat much from the walk as it is hardly an exercise for an ex-racehorse. As a young horse, he was just being mischievous.
Once done, High Street can get his well-deserved rest hopefully for the rest of the day. We really appreciate Ruben’s patience during our first horse riding session. It has been fun and we will definitely be back for more!
The Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre – Riding Lessons
STCRC provides a range of horse riding programmes for everyone to learn about horse riding and horse care. Whether you are new to horse riding or a seasoned rider, the Centre offers riders a safe and conducive environment to ride and bond with horses. Their team of qualified instructors will accompany you on your riding journey and up your horsemanship.
Click here to find out more about the horse riding programmes available.
The Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre – Getting There
Interested to come for lessons? Here’s how you can get here:
Coming by MRT, STCRC is just a 12-minute walk (800m) from Kranji MRT station. Folks taking SMRT 925, 925A, 925M, 960, 961, 961M can a light at the bus stop opposite Woodlands Industrial Park D Street 1, along Woodlands Avenue 3.If you are taking SBS 160, 178 or SMRT 925, 925M, 960, 961, 961M, you can alight at the bus stop after Woodlands Industrial Park D Street 1 along Woodlands Avenue and cross the road to get to STCRC. Do note that limited free parking is available on premise.