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Horsemanship skills taken to Sri Lanka
A SALISBURY woman has helped the Sri Lankan Army to start its first ever horse riding club.
Ineke Pitts spent two months training 18 army officers in horsemanship at her stables in Sri Lanka as part of a project to build an equestrian culture in the army there.
Ms Pitts, who was born and brought up in Downton and is a former South Wilts schoolgirl, has been living in Sri Lanka for the past 16 years and, along with former army officer Major Nalaka Buddhadasa, had a dream of trying to introduce proper equestrianism in the country.
Horses were used a lot by the military in ancient Sri Lanka but the cavalry culture faded and the current army never used horses in their military activities, until now.
Ms Pitts said: “There’s no culture of horses there. The only horses are race horses but there’s no veterinary support and they don’t know how to treat them.”
The pair talked to the army and their dream became possible when the Pakistan Army made a gift of six horses to the Sri Lankan Army. The horses were quarantined to Ms Pitts at Hokandara stables and she asked her friend Gina Porter, an instructor from the British Horse Society (BHS), to fly over and help teach the men how to handle the horses according to BHS protocols.
The horses have now gone to the army’s military academy at Diyatalawa, where they will be used for officer training and parades.
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