Ponies prosper at ranch

Ponies prosper at ranch

090604_07.jpg
090604_07.jpg

Sary Pann takes working ponies and retrains them to carry tourists.

Photo by:
SHANNON DUNLAP 

Sary Pann, owner of the Happy Ranch.

THE Happy Ranch in Siem Reap, established in 1996, is dedicated to improving the lot of Cambodian ponies.

Owner Sary Pann first bought a Cambodian pony in 1997 because he felt sorry about how hard the ponies were worked, and he has since added more to his stable, hiring them out to riders as a tourist attraction.

But training the ponies has proved difficult and requires extra patience because they are used to only pulling carts, not being ridden, he said.

"It's at least six months before we can train them to ride," Sary Pann said.

Lucinda King, a New Zealand horse expert working at the ranch, said the cart ponies are "worked so hard, from early morning to late at night. They're so used to trotting that they don't even remember how to run".

Sary Pann said his ranch has not yet broken even financially, even though he has been providing trail rides and riding lessons to tourists for almost three years.

But catering to tourists also presents obstacles. Cambodian ponies are typically smaller then Western horses, and the physique of some Westerners can prove too taxing for them.

The ranch has to impose a 90-kilogram limit.

Sary Pann has purchased a few bigger horses from Thailand and near the Vietnamese border to breed with his Cambodian ponies to give them more heft.

Despite the problems, the Cambodian ponies are proving as resilient as their human counterparts and seem to be finding a new and respected place within the society.

The ponies have also been used to help resurrect some Khmer traditions, and they are loaned to pagodas for bous neak ceremonies, in which monks who are preparing to be ordained ride through their village.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom may hire Turkish power ship

    Cambodia is considering negotiating with Turkey to hire a 200MW-capacity power ship to meet electricity demands as the country faces an ongoing electrical shortage, according to the prime minister. Speaking to garment workers in Pursat province on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Electricite du

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • EDC tackles power shortfall

    Electrcite Du Cambodge (EDC) on Monday issued a statement updating the public on its efforts to tackle insufficient electricity supplies during the ongoing dry season. Reductions in electricity prices have resulted in a steady increase in consumers in the Kingdom, while local and international investors

  • Woman who scaled Cambodia’s three highest peaks eyes Everest

    One of the very few Cambodian women to have successfully reached the Kingdom’s three highest peaks is now eyeing Malaysia’s tallest mountain, Mount Kinabalu, and potentially even the world’s tallest straddling Nepal and China, Mount Everest. While in many Western countries it