PEKAN: The zeal and agility of Cumbia and Mimosa on the polo field make the two Argentine horses the beloved animals of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
Amran Selamat, stable manager at the Royal Pahang Polo Club here, said the 15-year-old horses are still the favourites of Sultan Abdullah although His Majesty is no longer an active polo player for health reasons.
As Amran, 42, recalls, the last time His Majesty rode Cumbia and Mimosa was in a polo match in 2014. After that, he has been riding them for leisure.
“Although His Majesty now lives in the Istana Negara, he still takes the opportunity to see his beloved horses every time he comes to Pekan and there are times when he feeds the horses himself.
“The horses can only be ridden by His Majesty’s son or me and another club player authorised to do so at the polo training,” he told Bernama.
Amran said Sultan Abdullah had bought Cumbia and Mimosa when they were six. There are 60 horses at the club, all of the Argentine breed.
He said the horses are fed hay and horse pellets and given vitamins to ensure that they are in good health and are examined by a veterinary doctor every six months.
Pekan-born Amran said that about 20 years ago he relayed to Sultan Abdullah, who was then in the federal capital, the death of a beloved horse 20 years ago.
“His Majesty was at a loss for words. The horse became very ill at night and we summoned the doctor, but it died the following morning.
“His Majesty knew that we had done all that we could to save the horse and ordered that it be given a proper burial. Since then, we would inform His Majesty immediately if any horse falls ill,” he said.
Amran, who is also a member of His Majesty’s polo team, said that although Sultan Abdullah no longer plays polo, Cumbia and Mimosa are still active in the sport and also practise with the club each week.
Occasionally, Cumbia and Mimosa will also be taken out in the morning and evening each day under the supervision of another club employee, Rosli Omar, 49, who has served there since 1989.
“If His Majesty wants to ride a horse, he would send me a message to prepare the horse for him as soon as he arrives.
“Usually, after a polo match, Sultan Abdullah will jog around the field … he will do three rounds, making us who are watching him feel tired too,” he said.
Amran said the task of managing Cumbia and Mimosa has been given to groomer Mohd Ridwan Mahmud, 30.
Recalling playing polo with Sultan Abdullah, Amran said His Majesty has often told everyone, including the opposing teams, to play whole-heartedly as His Majesty does not want to be handed an easy victory simply because of his status.
“I have also witnessed His Majesty fall off a horse during a match, but the spirit of sportsmanship made him mount the horse again to finish the match,” he said. – Bernama