Aaleen recently completed her Dressage lessons Level 1 from the Emirates Equestrian Centre in Dubai and will be continuing her training there.
“It is my dream to represent Pakistan in the Grand Prix and bring home a gold medal for my country IA. I have taken the first step towards my dream to make it come true & IA make it into a reality in the near future. Please keep me in your prayers & support me with your well wishes”
Aaleen you have the honour of being the only upcoming female dressage rider in the history of Pakistan; tell us a bit about yourself
Hi,my name is Syeda Aaleen Bokhari and I’ve been riding since the age of 5. I’m a horse enthusiast or you can say a horse fanatic. I have learn’t my basic riding from Pakistan Rangers.
My father whose my very first coach/trainer is himself a very keen horseback rider and a Tent Pegger from his school days at Aitchison College. It was he who engraved Dressage into my head and my heart as a child. Telling me stories of Royal School of Vienna which is one of the best Dressage schools out of the four pillars.
So here i am today turning my dreams into a reality Alhamdulillah with the support of my parents and both my phupho’s.
What is the concept of dressage?
The word “Dressage” means training in French. The main concept of Dressage is to make the horse move in precise movements from barely showing signals from it’s rider. It’s a next level form of trust and bond between the two.
The rider is responsible for building it’s muscles to it’s fullest potential. A Dressage rider is supposed to train his/ her horse to be calm yet confident. To be submissive yet attentive and to have a unique bond with it’s rider.
Like the famous term goes “Dressage is like a ballet on a horse back.”
What is the difference between a horse rider and a dressage rider?
The difference between a normal rider and a Dressage rider is vast i.e a dressage rider like i explained before has to build the horse from scratch and take it to it’s full potential. Dressage is the highest expression of horse training.
Where as the normal rider is supposed to have a seat ( how to sit on a horse) to learn how to hold reins and how to balance himself/ herself on a horse. From basics you go into professionalism.
Why horses? And What was your riding “career” like as a kid?
Horses, horse riding and horse breeding all run in my blood. The passion for horses was something I inherited from both my paternal and maternal side. I find horses to be such unique,elegant and beautiful beings that they captivated my heart since i was a child and still do. I was just a basic rider like everyone else as a kid and that’s how it all started.
What was your FIRST favorite horse breed – the one you loved most now and as a kid?
My most favourite breed is a Fresian. The one i love now is Mr Medici a “Thoroughbred “who is a Hong Kong derby champion and belongs to one of maternal grandmother’s.
A horse named Toofan (Half bred) at Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) was my horse whom i rode as a kid.
If you could ride with any trainer in the world, ASIDE from your current trainer, who would it be?
Ofcourse It will be Charlotte Dujardin and Patrick kittle .
Tell us about the training challenges you have to face and how do you overcome them?
Getting trained for dressage is not easy at all. I have to remember all the meters and the alphabets. It’s like doing algebra all over again mentally without a paper and pen. Everytime i feel or felt that I’m doing something wrong i would come home and draw it on a paper to memorise it. If i make one wrong move i would have to do it all over again because i have to be perfect with the alphabets and the meters. There is absolutely no room for mistakes.
Tell us about your favourite horse and your relationship with it
Mr Medici (medo) i can go on and on about him. He is my love at first sight. I even have a tattoo of him on my arm haha. He is my rottweiler in a horse’s body as he is so possessive and protective about me. He is my Break through after the bad fall i had as a child and i completely stopped riding. He trusted me before i trusted him. He made me realise that i shouldn’t let my fears get into my way. I treat him as my child. Every year i specially travel to Murree just to meet him in the summers. I can do just about anything and everything for him like grooming him from head to toe or cleaning up his pellets without even remotely feeling gross about it. He is my son and i love him to all the galaxies and back. It is a never ending love story.
What is one item on your horse-related bucket list?
“Maybach saddles” they are just pure love.
How was your experience at Dubai Emirates Equestrian Centre?
My experience in Dubai Emirates Equestrian Centre was absolutely amazing. I got to meet people from all over the world with different stories and experiences. My Spanish coach “Mr Alonso” who mostly trains for competitions gave me a very tough time in the arena as he is ex military. Once i fainted also. As at time’s i have back to back “45mins each” classes and that particular day i didn’t even get a 5 minute break to catch my breath. So yes my coach has definitely made me stronger and more confident with myself and my riding.
What do you do when you are not training or spending time with the horses?
As I am not training presently, i will be training others at Lahore Polo Club as a trainer to teach basic and advanced riding. I want to train my students properly as I’m very particular about horses and riding. So basically there is not a day when I’m without a horse lol.
What is Aaleen’s day like?!
As ironic as this might sound but it’s the truth …I’m a sloth at home lol. I love being in bed scrolling through insta and listening to music as everyone else. My daily step count is max 48 steps lol.
Where do you see yourself as a dressage rider in the upcoming five years?
First and foremostly i see myself completing all of my dressage levels INSHALLAH by the will of Allah swt and the prayers of my loved ones especially (My Fato pho) without whom i would not be where i am today. If not this year then definitely next year i will be competing in an international competition INSHALLAH. It is my dream and wish to win a gold medal in the Grand Prix for Pakistan INSHALLAH and hold the Pakistani flag really high.
Any advice for all the female aspiring dressage riders?
For all the girls out there. Never give up on your dreams or your passion. Ignore all the superstitious talks that exist about horse back riding and do it without even thinking. There will be bad days but never give up. Even if you fall get back on the horse. Never let your fear take away your dreams.