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Kyrgyz national horse sport games

Continuing the topic of Kyrgyz national attributes, today I want to write about an essential part of Kyrgyz people – national horse sport games.

Since the ancient times, a horse served as a faithful companion and friend of the nomadic Kyrgyz. Skillful proficiency of the horse riding was considered as a very valuable skill. Sitting on a horse, they were pasturing cattle from one pasture to another, they went on the hunt and participated in military battles. And the more horses you have – the wealthier and more influential among the tribe you are.

Competitions on riding a horse are the most popular games in the Kyrgyz culture. They often become an essential part of the holiday or big celebrations.


The Kyz-Kuumay game (“Catch the girl”) was a required part of the wedding ritual in ancient times. It is a raised contest between young men and a woman where the guy has to try to catch up the girl. Trick is that the girl’s horse is much faster than guy’s, and it gets off the mark 5-10 seconds earlier. If the young man catches the girl, then he will get a kiss as a reward. Otherwise, the girl will hit him with a whip. But in any case she will not reject her future spouse.

photo from www.azattyk.org web-site


Horse race called At-Chabysh in Kyrgyz is one of the most popular sport games in Kyrgyzstan. The hardiest horses are chosen for this game because the horse races are held on the long distances within 4 to 50 km. As a reward the winner gets jewelry and cattle. Now to participate in this game, a horse need to be more than 3 years old and the horse rider cannot be younger than 13 years old.

photo from www.ky.wikipedia.org web-site


Oodarysh (“Turning over”) is a popular horse game that requires the strong sit in the saddle from the riders and a dexterity combined with the skillful control of the horse. The game is played on flat ground in a circle or on a straight track area of ​​40 sq m. Length of the game is 15 minutes. Winner of the game is the participant who was able to throw the opponent off the horse.

photo from www.facebook.com web-site


Kok-Boru or Ulak-tartysh (“Tearing the goat”) is a popular game not only of Kyrgyz nation, but also of Kazakh, Tajik and Uzbek people. Two teams consisting of 2-4 people are fighting for a carcass (or hide) of the goat. The winner is the person who most often throws the carcass into the opponent’s goal. The game is somehow similar to football, but there are fewer players in Kok-Boru and the participants compete on horseback.

photo from www.mir.kg web-site

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