The Saddle Club Ikeja, Lagos, recently celebrated its 51St anniversary with equestrian games for beginners and seasoned riders. Ayodeji Ake who attended the event reports that the winners of the tournament went home with gold, silver and bronze medals
For the uninitiated, the Saddle Club Ikeja, Oregun, Lagos, is the go-to place for horse lovers. They have been known to engage in many extracurricular activities often associated with horses. As they are often known to do, the club recently threw its doors open for equestrian enthusiasts. At the scheduled date, it was an eventful one for the Saddle Club members, family and friends as they assembled at the club premises to watch and celebrate equestrian gamers, as they showcased their talents on horseback.
Saddle Club Ikeja, which organises gymkhana for it members, was established in 1968 at Oregun, Ikeja, as a horse riding club. In 1968, the then Lagos State Governor, Brigadier General Mobolaji Johnson, allocated the club its current premises. It was his way of supporting equestrian sports and resting a preserved area of flora and fauna within the state.
Ever since, the Lagos State Governor has been the club’s patron, while His Majesty, Ooni of Ife has been the grand patron of the club.
Ikeja Saddle Club is the place for Horseback Riding in Lagos and Nigeria. Lessons in dressage, jumping and polo are available on weekends by competent instructors for all ages and riding levels. The club is a home to everyone who has passion and love for the noblest of all animals and enjoys having a good time together with others.
The club has been operating from its home in Lagos, Nigeria for over 50 years; situated within lusciously green grounds, near the Ogun -Lagos State border, along the Lagos – Ibadan expressway.
Speaking on the event, the President of the club, Vassily Oye Barberopoulos, said the club has been committed to a legacy of a well-run club that can survive age and time and offer to generations to come, a heritage of what to be enjoyed as a family club.
“The club continues to promote equestrian sport and recreational activities not only to its members but to the Nigerian community and youth at large. We also want to use this medium to invite members of the public to to come join the club. We have a lot of activities going on.
“Our club is the heritage for all children to enjoy and bond with one of nature’s kindest animals-the horse. This event featured children games, equestrian games, food and a raffle draw, where participants won fantastic prizes. While the children were busy with games, the parents took the opportunity to de-stress from everyday life to ride, take a nature walk, jogging or hit a Polo ball,” he said.
On Equestrian Games, according to the Club Horse Member, Riad Boulous, is the 3rd since inception, and will include jumping, agility exercises on horseback, horseback archery competition, and mini polo tournament, among others.
“Our focus is to create family-oriented fun that involves all member of the family. As such, we always have events that will allow all, from the youngest to the eldest, to join in the fun. We want to showcase horsemanship in all its forms, and to share that with all who attend. The equestrian games are club projects with all members of the club actively involved. Whether they are training as participants in the games or involved in the planning and preparation,” he said.
The Equestrian games were categories into three categories; A- for the kids and beginners, B- for the middle classes, and the C – for the senior classes. Participants who emerged winners for category A were; Michalis Losifidis (first position), Romeo Barberopoulous (second position), and Wash Washu (third position); category B, Watita Dankaro (first position), Faridah Mubarak (second position), and Opubor Omala (third position); category C, Wakundo (first position), Sarah Biotto (second position), and Luda(third position).
The celebration was concluded with a Polo match by Saddle Club which lasted about an hour with jubilation and group photographs.