Frequented by Bollywood celebrities like Jacqueline Fernandez, Amateur Riders’ Club (ARC) has carved a niche for itself in the realms of equestrian sports. Nestled in the bustling interiors of Mahalaxmi, Mumbai, the club was established way back in 1942 and is one of the oldest and largest private civilian riding clubs in India. Pioneers of horse riding and beginners flock to the serene racecourse set between gorgeously lit metropolitan buildings to play and train. Shyam Mehta, President of ARC, and Riyhad Kundanmal, Honorary Secretary and Polo Chairman of ARC let us in on the experiences facilitated by Amateur Riders’ Club, polo matches, show jumping and more.
ELLE: Tell us a little more about ARC. What kind of experience does the club provide to horse-riding enthusiasts?
Shyam Mehta: At ARC, one can watch top-class equestrian sports like polo, show jumping, dressage and riding, enabling one to unwind in the company of horses. With the stables placed right across the quaint restaurant, one can wine and dine in open air under the warm gaze of the horses. The atmosphere is charged with positive energy, and the ambience is soothing and refreshing. One should visit the club to experience this for themselves.
ELLE: What is the atmosphere of a polo match on a regular day? What kind of audience do the matches attract?
Riyhad Kundanmal: Polo is unlike any other sport and unique in many ways. Horses run at almost 50 kilometres an hour, crash into each other only to gain the line of the ball. The athletic abilities of both man and animal, both of whom have been through months of training, makes polo the king of sports and also the sport for kings.
Where else does one get to see these magnificent animals so close and in full action other than the Mahalaxmi Race Course? It is all about the electrifying energy demonstrated between all the players fighting for a trophy and the spectators who gather to watch their favourite player or horse. Sometimes some guests who have never seen a game of polo get so entrenched in the game that polo, despite being a technically complicated game, becomes a favourite within the social circles.
The Club House at ARC
Here’s what Chandan Tak, Special Events Chairman of Amateur Riders’ Club had to say about the glorious arena: “The grandeur of the polo and show jumping tournaments come to an end with our after parties where many known faces are spotted. The club house has a lovely English bar theme and adds to the royalty of the place. Apart from these social events, ARC is host to key international equestrian tournaments like The FEI and some top-level national tournaments like The Mumbai Equestrian league, The Regional Equestrian league among others. Coming year, we are planning to host the Mumbai Open Polo Tournament with players coming from all over the world. This high goal grand open will be conducted in Mumbai for the first time ever. The Club also boasts of Olympic level arenas and international trainers. Home to many top-level athletes. We at ARC always believe in maintaining the quality of our events.”
Photographs: Courtesy of Amateur Riders’ Club