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Phnom Penh from behind the reins

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A stable boy presents Post Plus one of CCC’s proudest mares. Vireak Mai

Phnom Penh from behind the reins

Whether you’re new to horse riding or want to freshen up your skills, the Cambodian Country Club offers lessons for every kind of rider.

The club has its own stable of 30 horses, ranging from ponies for child-sized or amateur riders to full-sized horses that can handle jumps and competitions. Students learn the English riding style, with the chance to learn more complicated techniques including dressage and jumping.

The methodical approach of teacher Soparith Hoy, however, ensures that riders only get to advance to the next level once they learn how to ride safely, and gain skills like properly slowing down and stopping their horses even at high speeds.

Learning how to ride properly also opens up horse riding as a recreational skill, so riders can safely ride out in the open on the beach in Sihanoukville or Siem Reap.

Phnom Penh resident Clothilde Breillout said she appreciated the chance to brush up on her skills with teacher Soparith Hoy at the CCC’s riding school.

“I started riding when I was 4 years old, a few times a year during intensive courses, and rode regularly for 4 years in the US. I quit when I moved back to France due to [my] school schedule and riding clubs being far away,” she said.

“Arriving here, I heard there was a riding club and I started taking lessons again, [and I] must say I did not realise that after 14 years I’d be so happy to start lessons again.”

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The CCC horses are waiting to be ridden in the spacious horse arena. Vireak Mai

The club’s arena is large enough for competitions, which are regularly hosted there by the Cambodian Equestrian Federation. Advanced students are invited to participate in competitions, including the Norodom Sihanouk du Cambodge show-jumping competition.

Young riders can enroll in the Pony Club during the summer months, which teaches horse-riding as well as grooming and other equestrian knowledge. The Cambodian Country Club is also the first equestrian centre in Southeast Asia to offer lessons in vaulting – gymnastics on a horse – for children over the age of three.

It also has a special ring filled with sand, where kids’ safety is ensured in case they happen to take a tumble off their horse or pony.

At $34 to $39 an hour for private lessons ($20 for club members), the CCC’s riding school is a steal compared to learning abroad where similar lessons can cost five to six times as much. Unlike other schools in Asia, it offers lessons immediately – there is no ten-year waiting list like in Hong Kong.

CCC also takes animal welfare seriously; it is certified by the Cambodian Equestrian Federation as well as the Cambodia Pony Welfare Association. Horses live in well-maintained stables where several fulltime employees take care of their needs, including retired horses that no longer take on riders.

For more information, visit http://cambodian-country-club.com. Email: [email protected]. Tel: 023 885 591/2 or 023 883 861/2

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Areyksat offers equestrian trail rides that let you discover Phnom Penh from a different view. Photo supplied

Areyksat Equestrian Trail Rides

If you’re looking for an escape from Phnom Penh or a weekend trip, Areyksat Equestrian Trail Rides takes you out of the arena and into the Cambodian countryside.

Ranked highly on things to do in Phnom Penh, Trip Advisor is filled with glowing reviews of the company’s trail rides, allowing visitors and residents to see a different side of the city and surroundings.

Horse enthusiasts can also take two- or three-day trips to Silk Island, where they have the chance to visit the beach and buy local handicrafts. Longer trips run at $120 for an 8-hour ride, and $250 to $350 for two- and three- day outings.

Advanced riders can also contact Areyksat for the chance to participate in a 20-kilometre endurance race in January 2016. The stable also offers training for interested riders, with different session options with an instructor.

More information can be found at http://www.areyksatequestriantrail.sitew.org or email [email protected].

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