23rd Aug : Kyzl-Oi

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August 23rd 2014
Published: August 29th 2014
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Kyzl-Oi village is nestled alongside the Karamoron river, and in a valley between two massive mountain ranges.

At about 11am, we wandered down to the village 'square' where the Horse Festival was about to start. The first hour and a half were local singers, and dancers followed by traditional village games such as Tug-a-War , arm wrestling, and 'hit the dirty bucket with a spear whilst blindfolded' !! This was very much an authentic local village affair but there were about 100 tourists present in addition to the local kids.

After a sweaty lunch with about 30 other tourists squeezed into each yurt, we headed up to a nearby sports ground (a.k.a paddock) where the actual horse games were to be held. The games consisted of well known favourites such as wrestling whilst on horseback, wrestling on the ground, picking up a coin on the ground whilst hanging on to a racing horse, chasing the 'bride to be' on horseback, and getting a whipping if you failed, and finally the crowd favourite of catching the headless goat and galloping to the other end of the field to chuck the goat into a raised stone circle whilst the opposition team did their best to knock you to the ground and steal the goat off you !!! Oh what fun we had. ?! The playing field was just a huge great unfenced paddock, and the spectators (ie tourists) lined up along what they thought was the edge of the field. In the middle of one heated exchange on the field between the riders and horses, a breakaway group of about 6 horses suddenly charged left and careered straight into a bunch of spectators. There was a great screaming and cursing as the horses plummeted thru the crowd scattering people and cameras and hats flying into the air !! Luckily no one was hurt, and I captured the whole affair on video (OK so I was just a few yards away from the crash point filming as well !!)

The day finished with a campfire, and dancing - we expected traditional Kygyz melodies and dancing, but instead it turned out to be the local disco guy and a boom box !! Funny how Gangman style is universal across all cultures !

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