Horse Riding and Stud Farm by Jayarathne Stables
Reading Time – 05 Mins
As a child before everything take over by internet and social media, I was a kid playing in fields and bushes, talking to animals. My dream was and still is to own a horse. That’s right horse is that magical animal brings joy to my face as soon as I see one. Unfortunately owning one is still considered somewhat luxury here in Sri Lanka and also living in tightly packed Colombo make it even harder. But that didn’t stop me getting closer to them. That’s where Forestpark Dambulla comes in.
Even though I have ridden horses before, I couldn’t continue to do so mainly due to the high training cost. Yes it’s still expensive but circumstance have changed and our priorities also changed 🙂
My partner knows how much I love horses and somehow found out about this place and told me that we should visit this one. When we finally decided to do so, since this was in Dambulla and separate schedule had to be made. Forestpark is located 12 Km before Dambulla city (if you travel from Colombo). Surrounding area is very peaceful and basically it’s situated in a small village. As soon as entering the property I was amazed to see how much horses they had. There were many foals (baby horses) running around, the stable was huge and well organized. Being a horse nerd I saw there were many Thoroughbred horses. I was told that they allow to ride them and I was so excited (I’ll explain the different horse breeds below)
Before I explain about this I would like to emphasize you that I have gone through this training because I wanted to become an experienced horse rider and eventually do a horse trekking trip abroad. But if you love horses and like to experience them you do not have to go through this training process.
When it comes to the learning process very special thanks should go to Mr Hewapanna. An ex police mounting division officer who has 40 years of experience with horses. He was very patient with me while pushing me to get better with every riding lesson.
To explain about the progress most simplest way is to explain about horse riding gait. There are 4 main types. Walk, Trot, Canter, Gallop (More on Web)
To comfortably do canter it took around 20 riding lessons. Keep it in mind I was only able to do slow walk when I was starting. Also I choose to start with Thoroughbred horses recently retired from racing. This is mainly because my end goal was different. But anyone who is starting can go through a different training program and Forestpark is more than happy to guide you all the way.
Below is a small video of my progress recorded. From mounting on to a horse to comfortably riding. You can hear my trainer Mr. Hewapanna constantly guiding me throughout 🙂
Why I keep going back
Riding a horse gives you lot of benefits. It can relieved stress, improve mood, its a fantastic exercise to strengthens your muscles specially core and improve your posture. While all these are proven facts the main reason I keep going back to this place is the love I have for the horses and of course learning to ride is always a never ending process. You learn new things everyday and its all about bonding or building a relationship with your horse.
While I love all breeds of horses I specifically love Thoroughbreds. They are the breed that used for racing, mainly because of their speed and size. This is the only place I saw in Sri Lanka where you get the opportunity to leisure ride Thoroughbreds.
Main reason is because Jayarathne Stable is one of the main competitors taking part in Nuwaraeiliya horse racing. While horses can race professionally during age 2.5 years to 4 years where they show peak performance. At age 5 to 6 years they retire from racing and younger ones take over. Jayarathne stables bring their retired horses to Forestpark Dambulla where they help to breed new horses hopefully to replace their places in racing arena.
Horses are also just like humans. They need physical exercise and a proper diet to live healthily. Even though this Thoroughbred horses finish their racing careers they will still need proper exercise to keep in shape. That’s where the leisure riding program comes in. But don’t forget they do have other horse breeds as well. So your choice is not limited to an ex race horse. You can select more calm easy to ride Marwari Horses as well.
At the time of writing Forestpark have several riding packages.
- Beginner Riding Package – 30 Mins
- Advance Riding Package – 1 Hour
- Safari Package
- Monthly Package
- 1 Year VIP membership
- Special photoshoot package ( For weddings, events etc)
Forestpark have a dedicated staff to take care of their horses. Everyone from the security gate to stable welcome you with a smiling face and help you to have an wonderful experience.
They have all the high quality riding equipment along with necessary safety equipment. They provide you with Riding boots [Long boots], Safety Jacket, Helmet. I recommend you to go with long thick, but comfortable/stretchable pants and a comfortable top for a better and safe experience.
While my partner being my main motivator and the man behind the camera, and keeping a low key on social life. He loved being around horses and started his lessons recently. All thanks to Forestpark I would say, and of course little bit of influence from me as well. We are hoping to do a horse trekking trip abroad soon.
Speical Note – Forestpark is in the making of small hotel attached to the property, so visitor like us can book long stays. But this is still in the making so do check comments section. I’ll update when that is complete and ready.
I think rather telling you how much I love the place it’s easy for me to say keep follow me on Insta. Because you will see me continuously making trips to Dambulla only to visit Forestpark. Thats how much I love the place. But it’s my duty to tell you what I think about this place.
Love horses ?
Like to learn how to ride them ?
Then Forestpark Dambulla is a must visit place for you. Yes it’s bit far from Colombo but you will be rewarded with a massive running track along with ample space for you to train as well as be with horses.
ForestPark Horse Riding Centre
Attabendiwewa Rd, Dambulla
Google Map link – Directions