Revival of Equestrian in the Philippines

What is common among the following great Filipino golfers Ben Arda, Celestino Tugot, Frankie Minoza, Cassius Casas, Jay Bayron, Tony Lascuna, Robert Pactolerin, Danny Zarate, Juvic Pagunsan, Marvin Dumandan, Mars Pucay, Danny de los Santos, and Mario Manubay?
Answer: They were former caddies.
As we all know, golf is a game for the rich just like the horse sports equestrian.
“In shipping five horses alone we will be spending $50,000 (roughly P2.5 million) for the December Southeast Asian Championships in Thailand,” said Buhay Party-List Representative Carrisa Coscolluela, the new president of Equestrian Association of the Philippines.
The P2.5 million does not yet include the expenses for training of athletes and maintenance of the horses, which could reach up to millions also.
But for Coscolluela, equestrian could produce the likes of legendary Arda and Minoza who came from the grass roots.
“We will go around the country and find young horse riders, from the Mountain Province to Mindanao,” said Coscolluela, herself a former equestrian who competed in various international events.
She said horseback riding is popular in various key cities like Baguio, Tagaytay, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and even Masbate.
“It might surprise us to learn that there are kids of these horse attendants who are good riders,” she said.
Coscolluela hopes to discover good riders from the provinces who could withstand the grueling cross country event of equestrian.
“The youth of our country is our greatest strength. We hope to find the best young riders from the countryside,” she said.
To entice new riders, Coscolluela said the association is planning to stage novice competitions in the provinces.
Despite her demanding job as legislator, Coscolluela is busy overseeing all aspects of promoting equestrian in the country.
Five foreign coaches and trainers are arriving in the country to train the present crop of athletes who will see action in SEA Championships.
Equestrian is a sport where the Philippines was once way ahead, but in recent years, neighboring countries like Malaysia and Thailand have started to dominate the region. -30-

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