Randeep Hooda: “Horse riding is a very macho sport”

Recently, Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda gave an interview to our reporter and spoke about their love for horses..

When asked to talk about their horses..
Randeep said, “I have five horses — Ranji (he has one eye and is therefore named after Maharaja Ranjit Singh), Johnny Walker (when he came to me he was not strong enough, and when I rode on him, he would walk as if he was drunk), Simply Supreme (one of the best race horses in the country that originally belonged to Cyrus Poonawala; he is now a great show jumper and is 14 years old), Rommel (named after General in Hitler’s army, is my desert fox and is a sweet horse, and I keep him mostly for my friends’ kids if they come, as he is safer and does not misbehave too much) and Atilla (like Atilla the Hun, right now he is Atilla the puppy). I can recognise them and so can they.”

When asked about the things which horse gives him emotionally..
He said, “I feel very meditative when I ride. A horse does not know whether my movie is a hit or a flop or what is happening in my relationship. They are very neutral and if I am not respectful to them, they will have me on my ass in no time.”

When asked if at all he ever got angry on his horses..
The young actor said, “You can’t get angry with a horse. They will get angry and frisky with you. They can really sense your mood, so when I am coming here I need to calm myself. I am not an angry guy. It’s just the roles I do that impact my personality. I usually ride under the lights when nobody is there. There is nothing outside the arena and there is just me, my horse and my dog Candy.”

When asked why Candy?
The actor replied, “As she gets open spaces to play around and she is very good with the horses. I can give her the reins of a horse in her mouth and she will graze the horse.”

When asked if there is any macho element attached to horse riding..
The actor with a lit up face replied, “It is a very macho sport and it is not for the faint-hearted. In India, the martial races of our community like Sardars, Jats or Rajputs ride horses more than others. Keeping a horse is both, expensive and time-consuming. A horse will do what you want him to do. It teaches you leadership with empathy. Because it is a herd animal, you have to make him feel that you are the stallion, that you are the boss. You can’t be too harsh with it as it will lose heart. He has to be supple and has to do all you want him to without you having to force him. You can’t force the horse into anything. All kids should ride horses. Firstly, it brings them out of their air-conditioners and brings them in touch with air and sun. Also, it will build their immunity system. It is compulsory for all diplomats, NDA and in the National Military Academy to ride. If you cannot control a horse with enough love and leadership, how can you control a constituency or a regiment. Horses are in our DNA. We used them way before cars for commuting.”

You are not as powerful as the horse, so how do you control it?
He said, “By carrot and stick method and being light with it. I ride with light hands, even though I know the bit is in his mouth. The horse’s body does not have hard joints and has flexible joints, so the more you make your body fluid, the better it is. In riding, your knees ankles, hips, waist, shoulders, wrists, elbows, fingers, head everything has to be independent of each other. I could be putting pressure from my heels and only my right hand fingers could be tight, whereas the rest of the body could be relaxed. So that’s the weight pattern of the horse.”

When we asked him if at all he ever got injured badly while riding a horse..
The actor with an obvious look said, “Yes, of course. I have a rod in my right leg and was in bed for eight months. I was playing polo and being over ambitious and being a show off, which you should never be on a horse, and was trying to go for a ball that was too far away from me. I leaned too much and my horse slipped and it fell over me. To tell you the truth, it knocked the wind out of me for a few seconds, but I was soon trying to find out how I could get back on to the horse. I could not walk and used to limp, but still won a silver in a competition at the NDA in Pune. I tied the stirrup with the shoelaces to my boot, so that it seemed I was on it. This was the time just before I did Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, when I was in bed thinking my career was over and did not know what else to do till I met Milan Luthria, coincidentally, at the same place where we are talking today.”

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