Every morning, at sharp 8, an eight-year-old along with his father visited the Amateur Riders Club, previously at Poonam Chambers and now at Mahalakshmi Racecourse, Mumbai. Seeing his father ride a horse like a veteran, young Javed decided that one day he too would be an equestrian like him. “My father was very fond of horses. Every morning, we would head to the racecourse, do some running and then he would ride his horse,” says Tapia, founder and MD, Clover Infotech.
For about three years, he practised on the same horse as his father. When he turned 11, as a birthday gift, his father gifted him a horse of his own. “My father’s gift boosted my confidence and I started competing in equestrian events,” he says. He recalls his first ever competition at the club, when he did not own a horse and contested with the horse provided by the club. “I lost my first competition,” he says, adding that he did win the later ones occasionally. After he got his father’s gift, winning became all the more special. “Everytime I won, it was not just me who won, but it was ‘us’,” he says. To Tapia, his horse of many years is his family.
Even into his teenage, Tapia looked forward to waking up at the crack of dawn and go riding every morning and then again in the evening. His love for a meditative trot and a heart-thumping gallop grew by the day. But when he started working, career demanded more hours from him and horse riding was reduced to a recreation.
Whatever demands life or work made of him, Tapia ensured that he never took a complete break from riding. “In all these years, I have learnt that your horse is more like your partner. And the key to winning is how well you connect with the horse. For me, what defines horse riding is the ability of a rider and his equine to understand each other, and get the best out of the partnership,” says Tapia.
Lately, he bought a German horse for his daughter. To anyone looking to buy horses, he says, they should ensure that the animal is young, below eight years of age and is mild-tempered. These days, he visits the Mahalakshmi Racecourse often with his daughter, at least once a week. Apart from these weekend trips, Tapia also does horse riding abroad. He recalls his adventurous cross-country rides, and how they are more fun since there are no boundaries there.
“We are a very pet-friendly family, and one of the things I have learned by being around horses is that one becomes more understanding. Here you are trying to communicate with horses without language. It makes you kinder as a person,” Tapia says.