Sunday, October 8

Bushkashi 36

Kyrgistan's history is nomadic, and the horse is very important in the culture. Young men want them like an American 16 year-old wants a driver's license.

Bushkashi is the national game here - "very dangers", Jyghal says. The rules: Two teams of five horse-riders each side line up on opposite edges of a circle (maybe 300m in diameter). A smaller circle is in the middle and holds the prize: a sheep or calf, throat slit, feet cut off. The objective: snatch the body and bring it back to your side. At first, one horse each side, races to the middle to snatch the objective - once in hand, all horses race in to support, or stop, the running back. 

The sport is filled with ritual and celebration. At the national matches many thousands will watch. Manas Neazaov is the best, and most famous, player of the sport.