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Riding in the Middle East

From: Chris

Dear Jessica, you're always so helpful I just know you'll be able to help me with this question. My husband supports our family including my riding and our two children's riding. My son and daughter are both good riders, but my daughter is the more interested of the two. Riding is a huge passion with her just like it is with me!

We are going to move overseas for three years to a country in the Middle East. It's a Muslim country and I am worried about how we will handle the issue of my daughter riding. I know that in these countries boys are given freedom but girls are not supposed to participate in activities or sports, and I am worried that either my daughter won't be able to ride, or that she will be able to ride, but her riding will cause problems for my husband at his job, because he is supposed to do everything he can to fit in with the habits and traditions of the country. I don't want to offend anyone's traditions or certainly not their religion! But I really want my daughter to be able to go on riding as she enjoys it so much (and of course I want to ride also). Do you have any ideas or suggestions for us so that we can continue on enjoying horses for the next three years without offending the followers of Islam?

A confused Methodist,


Hi Chris! Without knowing what country is involved, I can't give you very specific advice, but I can tell you one thing: you shouldn't worry about anyone having religious objections to your daughter's riding, or to your own. I suggest you read the Koran before you go; it's always good to understand the religion and traditions of any country you're going to live in, and you may find some pleasant surprises. Besides, it's fascinating reading. ;-)

It's been quite some time since I read the Koran, and I'll ask any better-informed HORSE-SENSE members to correct me if I'm wrong, but if I remember correctly, parents are encouraged to teach all of their children (boys AND girls) riding and swimming. So I'd say that you have some built-in religious support for your daughter's chosen sport!

Good luck, and have a wonderful three years. There's nothing like living in another part of the world to give children a better perspective on their own country.


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