Heroes Ride 4 Recovery

At a GlanceItineraryDetail

In the Footsteps of the Shekhawati Brigade

12 days; 7 days riding.
4th October 2017  to  15th October 2017

We are inviting 6 injured military personnel and 6 able bodied riders to join this ride to recovery; we will ride as a group consisting of six buddy-pairs. The experience of this ride will contribute to both physical and mental recovery.  There will be people in India to offer assistance as required, reinforcing the buddy partnerships.

Canter along lakeshore

Canter along lakeshore

The Marwari Horse

The Marwari was originally bred as a war horse, a tough, brave and beautiful horse who has proven his ability to adapt and thrive in this arid environment. He is the marathon runner of the horse world; all sinew and lean muscle: remarkable stamina and they end the day as fresh and keen as they begin it.

The theme of this ride is to follow in the footsteps of the Shekhawati Brigade and explore a little bit of their 200 year heritage. At relevant points along the trail our guide will stop and reveal an action from the brigade’s heritage. Throughout the ride buddy pairs will encourage and assist one another so that all riders can rise to the challenge of the trail.

Day-by-day Itinerary

Wed 4th Oct 2017

Depart London on the overnight flight to Jaipur.

Thur 5th Oct

Arrive in India in the afternoon. Met upon arrival and driven to the hotel. The hotel is run by two brothers who have transformed a stately haveli (manor house) into a unique property. It’s meticulously renovated and perhaps the finest haveli in Jaipur. Dinner at the hotel followed by a ride briefing.

Fri 6th Oct

Setting off for the desert
After breakfast we’ll drive north to Sikar and visit the Sikar Fort which features in the actions of the Shekhawati Brigade.

Continue to Dundlod Fort where a ‘Royal Welcome’ awaits us. It was built in 1750 and is a blend of Rajputana and Moghul styles, typical to Rajasthan. It has been delightfully restored. Later visit the adjacent Marwari stables.
[Full board “FB” and overnight at the fort.]

Dundlod flag

The Rajasthan colours.

Sat 7th Oct

Meet the Marwaris
After breakfast we’ll walk over to the stables and introduce you to the breed and horse management regime in Rajasthan. Many aspects will be familiar but everso slightly different fro home! The tack will be familiar, but the detail is different! Stable management will be familiar, but the detail different. The Marwari requires a hands-off riding style and a gentle, sympathetic touch.

In mid-morning you’ll be introduced to your horse and have the opportunity to get to know one-another in the ménage. When everyone is settled we’ll ride out into the surrounding farmland and get to know the horses properly. After lunch which we take back at the fort, we’ll visit a few of the heritage sites that are found within the village. Dinner at the fort, later a briefing on the “Footsteps of the Shekhawati” ride that sets off tomorrow.
[FB and overnight at the fort.]

Distance ridden: 15 Km
Time in saddle: 2-3 hrs

Sun 8th Oct

Into the bush.
Today’s the day and we set off riding west. Each person is issued with twin saddlebags for camera, waterbottle, sun cream and such-like. All the other baggage is carried in the support vehicles. We ride through small villages, some of which are predominately “Khayamkhani” which is a clan of Rajputs who have converted from Hindu to Muslim and our guide will point out the subtelties.

Whilst on the trail, each night is spent in a tented camp but this is no ordinary camp: you’re provided with blankets, quilts, pillows, all laid out on a cot-bed. The canvas “rooms” are large enough to stand upright in and are carpeted! This is comfortable camping. Grooms ride with the team to feed and water the horses; we will be looked after by a full staff. [FB. Overnight in camp.]

Distance ridden: 30 Km
Time in saddle: 5 hrs

TENTED CAMP

Our most remote desert camp, which is a long way from any tarmac.

Mon 9th Oct

The trail to Khialee
We continue riding between small farms through this semi-desert area, dotted with Khejri trees and ladies wearing brightly coloured saris working the land. En route we stop for a picnic lunch and a long rest before riding on through land that gradually becomes sandier and softer; small villages cling to the sand dunes and eke out a tough existence. Many herds of Nilgai, the indigenous antelope, known as “blue bulls” and the Chinkara deer will be seen in this area. [FB. Overnight in camp.]

Distance ridden: 35 Km
Time in saddle: 6 hrs

Tue 10th Oct: Reaching Alsisar Fort

The objective for today is the magnificent Fort at Alsisar. This is close to Jhunjhunu where the rebellious chieftains were taken as “guests of his majesty”.  Overnight in Alsisar Fort, a majestic palace-fort that has been meticulously restored to its former glory.

Distance ridden: 35 Km
Time in saddle: 6 hrs

Group downhill canter

Making progress! Heading towards camp on day 6.

Wed 11th Oct

Exploring Jhunjhunu (or Joonjnoo)
Today we enter the town of Jhunjhunu where the Shekhawati Brigade was stationed. Visit Fostergunj, the actual location of the Shekhawati Brigade’s quarters and there will be ample time to explore. We can walk to the Rani Sati temple and Mertanji ki Baori, which is a classic step-well designed to retain as much of the scarce rainwater as possible.

Distance ridden 35 Km
Time in saddle: 6 hrs.

Badalgarh Fort which was the first to be built in Jhunjhunu, by the Muslim ruler Khayamkhani Nawab Faisal Khan in 16th century. Later it was taken over by Rao Shardul Singhji Shekhawat who was the ruler who gave his name to this area.

Overnight in camp at the Badalgarh Fort.
Distance ridden: 30 Km
Time in saddle: 5 hrs

Thur 12th Oct

Ride to Khettree (or Khetri)
The ride starts from just outside Jhunjhunu town and heads towards Khetri along a dry river bed where the going is sandy and flat which encourages a quicker pace. Later we pass through the villages of Kali Pahari and Sultana, both of which were strongholds of the dacoits. Lunch en route and ride to camp.

Overnight in camp
Distance ridden: 30 Km
Time in saddle: 5 hrs

Canter on dirt track

Typical terrain: a dry and challenging habitat for local wildlife and livestock graziers alike.

Fri 13th Oct

Explore Khettree Fort on horseback
Khetri has a magnificent Fort and many beautiful heritage buildings; there is a stepped well and water collection area which at present is dry, reflecting the decline of local rainfall.  The ride is slower today because we are approaching the Aravalli Mountains (1,750m) and the terrain is steeper. The Aravalli are one of the oldest ranges in the world pre-dating the more famous Himalaya, created when two tectonic plates collided. The Himalaya continue to grow each year, whereas the Aravalli are static, or declining slightly due to wind and rain erosion.

Camp is pitched inside Khettree Fort which has a commanding view over the surrounding country and is a suitable place to say goodbye to the horse. This is the end of the trail ride.

Overnight in camp
Distance ridden: 30 Km
Time in saddle: 5 hrs

Sat 14th Oct

Return to Jaipur
Drive from Khettree to Jaipur. Lunch at Jaipur and visit the City Palace museum and the Palace of Winds (Hawa Mahal ). We round off our time in Rajasthan with an evening visit to the famous Rajasthan Polo Club in Jaipur where we’ll dine.

And for those last minute pressies, there are some excellent shops to explore in Jaipur: Anokhi is famous for its high quality block-print textiles; Kripal Singh Shekhawa is the potter who breathed life back in to the famous blue pottery of Jaipur in the 1930’s; The Gem Palace is the place to find jewellery, particularly emeralds.

Dinner at the Polo Club overnight at the Heritage hotel.

TENT INTERIOR

The tents might appear a tad Spartan from the outside, but inside they are glorious.

Sun 15th Oct 2017

Fly home to London.
Transfer to airport for the early morning flight to London. Arrive London in the early evening.

 

 

Camp at night

Camp at night; a magical time.

Details

This is a full immersion riding experience and you know from day one that you’re not in England anymore! The horses, terrain, meals, language, customs, manners and everything else, are all different!

The horses are well-mannered but forward-going. They are very fit and love “making progress”. Some canters will be 8 to 10 mins long and a dozen horses cantering together is exhilarating for competent riders. The trails are dusty and temps can top 30°C and higher so you will get hot and grimy – in the nicest possible way! Having said all that, it is also the most authentic, exhilarating and all-absorbing ride you could wish for.

Rider fitness: you do need to be in shape; “riding fit”. Long days (up to 7 hrs in the saddle) and for multiple days in succession. You don’t need to be an athlete, but you will enjoy it much more if you ride regularly for a couple of weeks before this ride.

Payment Schedule

If you would like to join this ride a deposit of £250 per person is due; the Booking Form is available from Venture Co or Clare Dingwall. Email it back to Venture Co and the deposit can be paid by bank-to-bank transfer (free), cheque (free) or via payment card (Fee: 1.75% for credit cards).

Eight weeks before you set off the balance is due to be paid to Venture Co.

Not included

Visa for India (£135)
Personal travel insurance
Alcoholic drinks and soft drinks
Tips

The Field Manual

A detailed booklet will be mailed to each rider. This booklet is packed full of relevant, up-to-date information including clothing lists, vaccination advice, money matters, suggestions about the level of fitness and emergency procedures.

Dossier download form – In the Footsteps of the Shekhawati Brigade

Click to download

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