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Who is Anush Agarwalla, new star of Indian equestrian?

Published at :October 2, 2023 at 9:29 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : @toisports/@IndiaSportsHub/Twitter)

Sourav Goswami

Anush Agarwalla created history at Asian Games 2023 by winning two medals.

The Indian contingent has won six gold, eight silver and 11 bronze medals among 45 participating countries at the 19th edition of the Asian Games which began on 23rd September, 2023 in Hangzhou, Republic of China.

Anush Agarwalla created history at the Asian Games 2023 by winning two medals in equestrian. He is the first Indian to win an individual medal in Dressage, a discipline that involves performing a series of movements with a horse. He is also the first Indian to compete at the Dressage World Championships. He achieved all this at the age of 23, making him one of the most promising talents in the sport.

Dressage is often described as "ballet on horseback," as it requires a high level of precision and elegance between the rider and the horse. The rider has to guide the horse through a series of movements, such as trotting, cantering, pirouetting, and piaffing while following a set pattern and music. The judges evaluate the performance based on the quality of the movements, the rhythm, the balance, the suppleness and the obedience of the horse.

Early Life

Anush Agarwalla was born on 23 November 1999 in Kolkata, India. He started riding at the age of three at Tollygunge Club in Kolkata, where his parents took him for weekend joyrides. He soon developed a passion for horses and astonishingly, the boy had a natural knack for riding. He says that he was inspired by watching videos of German legend Isabell Werth, who is widely-regarded as the most successful dressage rider of all-time.

“During the weekends, I would fly to New Delhi for my training and return by Sunday evening, so that I could still attend school during the week," Agarwalla revealed about his passion for riding.


But, this youngster's journey was never easy. After having difficulties in finding a coach to train him, he moved to Germany at the age of 17 to pursue his dream of becoming a professional dressage rider. He trained with German Olympian Hubertus Schmidt, who is considered one of the best dressage trainers in the world. He also completed his schooling and graduation in Germany, while balancing his studies and riding.

According to Anush, ”We researched international riders and stables on the internet. The Schmidt family replied and so I traveled to Germany to get to know each other and prepare for the first time. After that, it was clear that I could start my training here. When I shifted to Germany in 2017, I was at E-level with no knowledge about true riding and almost no show experience.”


Anush competed at the 2022 World Equestrian Games in France and was the first Indian dressage rider, along with Shruti Vora, to participate at the Dressage World Championships. He finished 71st out of 77 riders with a score of 63.857%. He says that it was a great learning experience for him and that he was proud to represent India on such a big platform.

He made history at the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, China by winning two medals in dressage. He won a gold medal in the dressage team event along with Sudipti Hajela, Divyakritib and Hriday Vipul. This was India's first-ever medal in dressage and the first equestrian gold medal in 41 years. He also won a bronze medal in the individual dressage event with a score of 73.030%.

He performed to the music of 'Jai Ho,' a popular song from the movie Slumdog Millionaire. This was India's first-ever individual dressage medal at the Asiad. He said that he was overjoyed by his achievements and that he dedicated his medals to his country, his family, his coach and his horse.

Dressage is not a popular sport in India, where most people associate equestrianism with polo or show jumping. It is also an expensive sport, as it requires a lot of investment in training, equipment and travel. Moreover, it is a sport that demands a lot of dedication, patience and passion, as it takes years to master the skills and develop a bond with the horse.

He hopes that his success will inspire more people in India to take up dressage and equestrianism as a sport. He said that he wants to raise awareness about the sport and its benefits for both humans and animals. He says that dressage teaches discipline, focus, teamwork and empathy. He also says that horses are amazing creatures who can sense emotions and respond accordingly.

The youngster plans to continue his training in Germany and aim for higher goals in the future. He said that his ultimate dream is to compete at the Olympics and win a medal for India. He believes that anything is possible with hardwork and determination. He is an ambassador for Indian equestrianism and a role model for young riders. He is India's dressage star.