If he fails, the bride will hit her fiance with a whip. Was incredible to watch. It’s pretty tough on the player to lift a 40kg carcass with one arm off the ground whilst remaining seated on a moving horse that is being pushed around by other players and horses. Read more on periodic reports. Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. On this amazing day, we spectators experienced three different horse games, with spectacular Kyrgyzstan mountain scenery as the backdrop. What an interesting story! The players often finish the match stained in blood and mud, with thorn clothes and an occasional limp. I know what you’re thinking, what a strange thing to call a game that involves throwing a dead goat carcass into a goal, but hang with me. Also known as Buzkashi (Afghanistan, Tajikistan), Kokpar (Kazakhstan) and Ulak Tartysh (Kyrgyzstan), Kok Boru is an ancient honored tradition among the nomadic tribes and one of the most popular sports in Central Asia. We stood at the railing for quite a while trying to wrap our heads around all that was unfolding in front of us. and will be the ultimate prize at the conclusion of the game. It reminds me that it is so important to understand the cultural and historical background before judging so thanks for taking the time to explain it. Think of a game on horseback similar to polo, played more like the rules in soccer and then add a dead goat as the ball. Kok Boru is more than just a game, it’s a legacy to the Kyrgyz people. Tired and slightly out of it we made our way through the entrance and into the gaming complex. Kok boru, a traditional horse game, is a synthesis of traditional practices, performances and the game itself. As you can imagine, this part of the game is intense and the whole crowd seems to hold their breath for the result of the play. This is fascinating! Read our. I secretly like this ritual…. Divergent Travelers is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This trip was made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In doing so, the team earns a point. Yes, it’s a pretty rough sport. The community of bearers includes players united in higher league, semi-professional and amateur teams, as well as the general public. Our cameras hanging from us, we were ushered in by the gate security agent and directed towards the field. Sometimes, the whistle is blown and they swap out players if the referee thinks it is a draw. If I wanted to stop, I should pull back on the reins and make a “purring” sound. Kok Boru – Traditional Kyrgyz Horseback Competition. The man who could throw the dead wolf into the elder’s yurt upon arrival, would be the winner and gain the respect of his peers. Sure!” I exclaimed. They are organized in a very informal way and don’t get advertised. It was explained to us that we would see a series of games that were typical to the Kyrgyz culture. With the race on to the Kazan, it’s all about blocking, diverting and making a clear path for a point. Satisfied I understood, he sent me on my way. I am no stranger to this. Having never traveled to Kyrgyzstan before, you can imagine our surprise when we entered the stadium to see two teams on horseback, running up and down a field…. Required fields are marked *. However, it was so unique to witness! The nomads practically lived on their saddles while roaming the endless steppes and their children learned how to ride horses before they could barely walk. Niko and I watched Kok Boru with a mixture of feelings. The groom explained to me that these horses are highly trained, very sensitive and responded to not only traditional aids but voice commands as well. One story says that the sport was invented in the mountains by locals who saw a pack of grey wolves kill a goat and toss it around for fun. Still drowning in jet lag after a 42-hour cross globe transit, we looked around at the very modern parking lot we had just arrived too and took in the towering buildings that stood before us. (273), Traditional craftsmanship You can’t make this kind of thing up, trust me. Let me know in the comments below! We all know that the Rambo series is often exaggerated but the game sequence that they show in the movie really matches reality! When the Kyrgyz take their lives, they honor the animal by not wasting it in any way. ABOUT  /  PRESS  /  WORK WITH US  /  CONTACT. Much of the game revolves around a face-off scenario where a player from one team defends the goat and the player from the other team attempts to grab it off the ground. It's not a very popular tourist destination yet but everyone... 12 years of traveling has taught me many things. At the start of each game, a spiritual ritual is held that involves praying, promises of fair play and ultimately ends with the killing and beheading of the goat that will be used for the upcoming game. They were the first people in the world to learn the skill of horseback riding. Even though we had never heard about this sport before, we were pretty stoked to watch an authentic competition. Travel with us to magical places around the world! We’ve visited nearly 100 countries on all 7 continents. The history of the sport is quite interesting. This part of the game is intense and the players are bathing in sweat while battling to score a point. How to become a House Sitter – The Complete Guide to House Sitting, Travel from Home – The 11 Best Travel Books, Travel Series and Travel Movies, Morocco in Pictures – The 17 Best Places to visit in Morocco, http://zplecakiem.pl/world-nomad-games-2018-amerykanskim-stylu/, 11 Tips to learn Russian Quickly and Effectively. As soon as the referee throws the carcass in the center, the players of both teams– who are each waiting on their designated side of the field– race in full gallop towards the carcass. This makes sense considering that their Kok Boru riders spend most of their time hanging out of the saddle trying to pick up a goat carcass. A time-honored sport, a tradition through the ages that is played in every school and celebrated from the grassroots, all the way to the professional level. America has baseball and Kyrgyzstan has Kok Boru. Your email address will not be published. This happened to us while we were hitchhiking from Bishkek to Osh. Little did we know we were about to see a rough rugby game on horses with a headless goat used as a ball…, We weren’t the only spectators to attend the Kok Boru competition. He was a tried and true sport horse, treated like a real athlete. Once a player picks up the goat, the excitement escalates quickly with horses racing, turning and stopping all along the field. It’s an incredible sport to spectate! However, as a lifetime horsewoman that has spent many years working for Olympic riders and caring for sport horses, I can spot a well cared for a horse from a mile away. Instead of using a dead wolf, the game is played with a goat carcass. We use Skyscanner to compare prices and book flights. Everything you need to know about traveling independently in Kyrgyzstan (visa, how to get to and around Kyrgyzstan, where to stay,…): Hiking, skiing and horseback riding in Kyrgyzstan. It would also be wrong to assume that only men know how to ride horses.

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