Horses are truly incredible animals. They possess astonishing physical qualities such as immense power, elegance, long lasting endurance and speed, they are also known to show loyalty, trust and affection for their human master. This majestic being has been around for a very long time and today, both wild and domestic horses can be found all over the planet. They communicate by signalling with all parts of their bodies such as their tails, mouths and ears and live in ‘herds’ i.e. groups of horses.
Horses have been considered to be one of the most useful animals throughout time, especially in spreading the true word of Islam as they were used to carry the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and the first believers into battle where all the believers courageously fought.
The Holy prophet (p.b.u.h) also admired horses for their talent and devotion as there are many Ahadith wherein he talks about them. For example, Anas bin Malik (r.a) reported that the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) said that, “There is blessing in the forelocks of horses.” (Bukhari)
Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad (r.a.) was an excellent rider and had a passion for horses too. So much so that he created the riding school named Khailun-Lir-Rahman (i.e. Horses in the service of Allah) in Rabwah, Pakistan in the early 1970s. Chaudary Muhammad Ali Sahib reports that Hazur (r.a) said to him, “The reason as to why I love horses so much is that the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) loved them too”. Due to this love and the risk of losing all means of transportation in atomic wars, Hazur (r.a) showed the Ahmadiyya Muslim community how to raise horses. When raising awareness about this, Hazur (r.a) said that “It is my intention that in Rabwah as well as other communities abroad, to start a club wherein raising, training and riding horses is taught”.
Hazur (r.a.) owned many horses himself and some of their names were “Lubna”, “Naseem Bakht” and “Ward”. His horses loved him unconditionally and would always run towards him just to greet him. All in all, this was a prosperous school and educated many people in the art of horse riding in addition to caring for them correctly.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (a.t.b.a) also shares this passion and instructed for a riding school to be made in Islamabad, UK and so, Khailun-Lir-Rahman riding school was inaugurated on the 17th July 2011. Today, this school aims to educate enthusiastic students in horse care and English riding too, and is open to people of all ages- Nasirat, Lajna, Atfal, Khuddam plus Ansar as well.
Currently in Khailun-Lir-Rahman riding school Islamabad, we have 3 hard-working horses and 2 adorable ponies that are all ridden in our arena by novices and experts alike. Alhamdulillah, we have a professional yet modern riding arena which is big enough to allow students to improve and ride at faster speeds (or gaits as it’s know in horse riding) and has large wooden fences for added security. Furthermore, inside the arena we use a special kind of bedding which has numerous advantages. The bedding is made up of a compact layer of sand and a lot of rubber shavings on top. This allows us to ride all year round as even the heaviest of rain is absorbed by the thick layer of sand underneath. In addition, in case of a fall, the rubber shavings and sand help to absorb the impact and therefore will cause fewer injuries to the rider. Moreover, this shock absorbing technique means that there is less strain on the horse’s legs whilst being ridden. Also, we have a circular and smaller arena beside the main one which is generally used for training and exercising purposes.
The tack (i.e. the equipment we use for example saddles, grooming kits etc) is conveniently kept in a small store just outside the arena. However the majority of their stuff is kept inside a much larger storeroom outside the horses’ stables such as their feed, medicines and medical records etc.
Throughout the day, both horses and ponies spend time grazing in the paddocks. This not only allows them to eat grass but helps them to bond socially as well which is an important aspect for horses. We are lucky enough to have many fields in Islamabad which have been converted into paddocks using wooden and metal fencing. We often rotate the horses and ponies to different paddocks to enable the plants and grass to grow healthily again, plus this also lets the horses eat newly grown fresh grass in another paddock which they thoroughly enjoy and it’s packed nutrients too! Our paddocks also have large water basins which give them clean water to drink throughout the day.
During the night-time, our horses stay inside the stables which provide them with extra shelter. The 2 ponies are just as happy to stay outside in the paddocks during the night but nonetheless, a shelter will Inshallah be built soon for added protection. The stables are divided into four sections, commonly named as a “box” or a “stall”. This gives the horse its individual space during the night to sleep and relax without the risk of getting injured by another horse. There are many different types of boxes available but ours however allow the horses enough freedom to move around as much as they wish. This is also equipped with lighting as well as drinking bowls inside each horse box so that the horse can drink during the night if need be.