Sehr Saeed: For The Love of Horses
Sehr Saeed completed her education at the Karachi American School, where her peers had diverse interests, but her passion for horse riding remained undeterred.
She spent most of her spare time at the stables, where the sound of neighing horses was music to her ears. Sehr started with riding and later took up show jumping, gaining knowledge about horses and stables.
In 1981, she travelled to England for a four-week course of show jumping under the German Olympic team trainer. However, she suffered serious injuries from a fall during training, which led her to be cautious when riding her pony after returning home.
Sehr Saeed was selected to represent Pakistan at the Asian Games in New Delhi the following year. However, her inclusion was withdrawn due to the restriction on girls participating in spectator sports.
Disappointed with this decision, Sehr Saeed stopped riding for a year and lived a regular teenage life with her friends. But she resumed riding in 1983, with her focus shifting to polo instead of show jumping.
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Polo is Not Just a Gentlemen’s Sport
As a girl, Sehr faced opposition from various quarters due to the preference given to boys in the sport. However, she continued with her training and played for various teams, including the Police, PIA, Army, and her riding school “Shahsawar.”
Sehr Saeed was the only Pakistani girl playing polo until last year, and she faced considerable challenges due to the shortage of horses, playing facilities, mismanagement, and internal politics.
The shortage of horses was particularly acute, with only two government breeding farms in Mona and Sargodha producing broad-boned polo ponies. Professional players were deprived of the best horses as the best ones were reserved for dignitaries and senior military personnel.
In addition, the number of playing grounds was inadequate, with Lahore having three grounds and Karachi only one. The other ground was converted into a recreational area, and the existing one gave the impression of a battlefield.
Despite these challenges, Sehr continued to play polo and participated in the Governor of Sindh Tournament in 1984, where she was awarded a special prize for being the only female player.
Sehr Saeed played polo in England for two summers, but her playing activities were restricted in the United States, where females were not allowed to play the sport. Sehr’s love for horses and polo remained undiminished despite the challenges she faced, and her dedication to the sport was an inspiration to many.
Saeed is an inspiration for girls who love playing polo and other male-dominated sports, as she has shown that is you are passionate enough and ready to fight for it, the dream is within reach.
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