I intended to challenge taboo around equestrian

There was a taboo around equestrian, where people who were involved with it were considered inept.

Though I could not play cricket due to a broken finger, I love cricket, writes the author.   -  AFP

My fascination for horses started with Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef from the movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I also watched the opening robbery scene on horses from Sholay when I was a kid. I studied at the Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Rai, in Haryana, which had equestrian sports. One day, my art teacher brought in real horses for a stage play and I stood watching in awe of them. There was a taboo around equestrian, where people who were involved with it were considered inept, and I intended to challenge it.

After school, there was a long gap where I didn’t get onto a horse; it was only in 2010 that I went to the Amateur Riders’ Club at Mahalaxmi, Mumbai. I started going there daily after rehearsals for my movie Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai – after my director Milan Luthria recommended me to the club. I got my first horse, which died in my arms. I was completely heartbroken.

Through one of my friends, I got ‘Dream Girl’ with whom I train currently. I have won the silver medal at the National Equestrian Championship this year and hope to do more in the sport in the future.

Though I could not play cricket due to a broken finger, I love cricket. I was very excited when I met Kapil Dev for the first time. I get along with Virender Sehwag very well. I remember in 2003, we got hammered by the Australians (in the World Cup final), but Sehwag played an amazing knock. I also enjoy boxing and MMA (mixed martial arts) quite a bit.

Randeep Hooda is an Indian actor.

As told to Samarnath Soory.