LAHORE -  An expert in tent pegging and horse gaiting; currently a part of the Pakistan national team for tent pegging Sahibzada Sultan Bahadar Aziz has urged the Ministry of Sports, media and sponsoring agencies to play a positive and effective role for the promotion of the sport of tent pegging and horse riding, at their part.

Tent pegging has maintained its traditional importance and respectable status in South Asia. In Pakistan, at local level exhibitions, special arrangements for horse riding, tent pegging and horse dancing are organised. Punjab is playing an important role for the promotion of tent pegging. Well reputed education institutes, like Atchison College Lahore, Sadiq Public School, Cadet Schools and Punjab Rangers Headquarters are providing training in tent pegging.

Sahibzada Sultan also represents the largest, privately owned, tent pegging team in Pakistan: Muhammadia Haideria Sultania Awan club.

“Horse riding and tent pegging is our family heritage, that is the reason I gained expertise in it from childhood. In this century our club has revived horse riding and breeding of top bred horses in Pakistan. We have also managed to preserve a four hundred year old breed.”

He is also an exemplary horse rider and he told a simple formula to be one. “To be a good horse rider, one also needs to be a good friend of the horse,” he said.

He was also part of the Pakistan national team of tent pegging team which participated in world championship held in Sudan in 2016. At national level, he has achieved a myriad of awards and medals representing his club.

He said participation of rural population in horse riding is more as compared to the urban population.

“Atchison College Lahore is providing formal education and training for tent pegging and horse riding and has honored Pakistan by grooming the best players in the field. Private institutions have also established for coaching and training. There is absolutely no shortage of talent of horse riding in Pakistan, however, there is still need for establishing more institutions and training in the field as sports like these also keep the youth occupied positively. That factor holds a huge importance to me as I belong to the family of the great Sufi Saint Hazrat Sultan Bahoo. Now me and my elder brother, who is also my mentor, Sahibzada Sultan Muhammad Ali, take responsibility of promoting sports and physical activity in the country in addition to preaching social, moral and spiritual education for the welfare of the society.”

He said to promote the sport of off road racing, Sahibzada Ali participated in Cholistan, Thal, Gwadar and Multan rallies and proved himself to be a top player by winning gold medals and trophies in all these competitions. He is also an exemplary horse rider as well and he is also the chairperson of the most prominent and largest tent pegging Muhammadiya, Hayderiya, Sultnaiya Awan Club of Pakistan, he added.

He regretted that despite having a federation at an international level, this sport has not gained the proper attention by the government at even a national level.

He said at the moment they have more than 400 horses of a very rare breed and the horses like “Nagina”, “Mastana” and other horses of the same status are the beauty of their club. “It was becoming evident that horse breeding was a dying tradition but due to our clubs passion and dedication, we took responsibility of the breeding of the rare horses. With these efforts we now have more than 200 rare breeds at our horse club.”

Sahibzada Sultan also said that either it be tent pegging or any other horse related sport; a special relationship needs to be established with the horse. “Synchronization between the horse and the rider must be present as in the field the horse and the rider have the status: of a player. To be a good rider one must also be a good friend with the horse. If during the early stages of horse training, one is engaged with a stubborn horse, he has more chances of becoming an expert rider.”

“The history of Muhammadiya, Hayderia, Sultaniya Awan club is abundant with the victories and awards. On behalf of this club, my cousin, Sahibzada Sultan Safdar Ali and I are proud players of the national team of Pakistan. I would like to appreciate all those national clubs who are contributing effortlessly for promoting this sport in the country.”

Sahibzada Sultan Sultan emphasized on the efforts of the relevant institutions. He said the ministry of sport, media and sponsoring agencies need to play a positive role for the advertisement and promotion of this sport.

“As far as we are concerned, on behalf of our club, we are always ready and welcome those who are passionate and want to learn and participate in tent pegging and horse riding sports.”