Published: March 25th 2010March 25th 2010
So work life is soon to be over, and I will go back to being a travel bum. I can't wait, how does everyone find the motivation to get up just to sit behind a desk all day.
Here there has just been the 3rd celebrated new year. If you recall there is Western, Russian Orthodox and now Noorus (Turkic), celebrated at the equinox.
And one thing I have been really excited to see here is the traditional game of Kok Boru. So for all those who either,
1) Interested in the origins of Polo
2) Like cultural sport
3) Hate goats
then read on.
Kok Boru begins with the teams riding out and touching their goal, and blessing themselves by running both their hands down their face simulataneously (also done after eating), which is actually Muslim rather than Kyrgyz.
Then the goat is brought to the field and beheaded. It's legs below the knee are also removed.
The goat is placed on the spot.
A team is comprised of 4 people (but this can vary) with the aim to get the goat in the opposition's goal - a mound with a hole
A Restart (hence why only 2 riders)
No, he didn't fall off. Yes he is holding on with one foot.
in it. The mound is about 2 metres wide and the hole 1 metre wide.
They do this by picking up the goat (probably about 50-70kg), tucking it under their leg, and charging down the field. This is all done at a gallop, when it isn't a brawl!
To make things a little more difficult of course all the opposition is desperately trying to do the same! Unlike polo, there is no concept of line. ie, a good block is to run your horse in the way of the attackers.
The equilvalent to riding off is charging into. It is sometimes useful to get your horse to rear so as to give the opposition player a little kick.
You are allowed to whip your and other horses. This can be done by your teammates to aide his escape from a medlay of horses if he has the goat.
If you leave the field of play with the goat them the game is restarted in one of the three restart rings(dependent on the region of the field that you go out of play), where two players fight it out to get the goat and go.
A Relatively relaxed tussle.
When a goal is scored, the goat is reset by one of the losing team taking it and drop the goat at a gallop approximately on the start spot, at which time the other players run perpendicularly to go for the goat.
Substitutions are rolling and as long as the leaving horse is not in the play the entering horse can enter the field, unlike most western sports.
So enjoy the pics and diagrams for those interested in the sport.
This sport looks fantastic, hopefully soon I will persuade someone to let me have a go!
There are more photos below