The traditional Turkish sport called jereed or cirit is played by teams who hurl (blunted) javelins at members of the opposing team. This video has a nice collage of still photos, and the one after it shows some footage of game in action:
This Canadian website, Argamak Stud, has a page featuring some spectacular photos of Akhal Teke horses. They are such a unique and exotic breed! Their website (a bloggy sort of website) has lots of articles, photos and information about this rare breed. Worth a visit!
Reader Sonny Amin commented on a previous post that Buzkashi (the "Ox Game") has been played in the USA for several years. Indeed it has! Mr. Amin is the founder of Ox Horse USA, which promotes the game here. Thanks for the tip, Mr. Amin!
Check out this great video:
This fantastic blog chronicles in detail the experiences of a French adventurer living in Afghanistan, as he learns to play the famous game of Buzkashi (see my previous posts here and here). It is well illustrated with many fantastic photos, and with great detail about the game, the horses, the training, and Afghan breeds. The blog is in English.
Held each year in Qinghai province, the Yushu Horse Festival features some amazing trick riding, mounted games and horse racing.
Check out the nice shots by Dan Fohrman on flickr. These really capture the energy and skill of the horses and riders, as well as the beautiful, colorful costumes and tack. jon.a on flickr offers this nice close-up of a horse, too, where you can really see the woven bridle.
This video has a very brief but cool segment showing the scarf race - where riders hang sideways off their galloping horses to grab scarves off the ground - and the mounted shooting competition. Unfortunately the video is 10 minutes long and the horse part starts around minute 9, so I didn't embed it here.
This event is not without controversy, due to the ongoing tensions between ethnic Tibetans who make up the large part of the population and the Chinese government. The area is being heavily promoted as a tour destination, and the remote mountain town is growing rapidly.
IG Karabagh is a German group which promotes, imports and breeds a variety of horses from the former Soviet Union. The Akhal Teke, Karabakh, Tersk and well represented by members, and information on lesser known breeds is provided on their informative and well-illustrated website. The site is in German, but there are plenty of pictures and links to browse. For a quick orientation, "Zuchter" is a list of breeders, with links to their sites. "Deckhengste" is stallions at stud. "Verkaufspferde" is horses for sale. And "Pferderassen" is a directory of old Soviet breeds, with further links and photos.
Besides the Akhal Teke, few if any of these breeds are found in the US.
Another interesting source for information on the Central Asian breeds is The Turanian Horse Website, which has many pages of interesting articles and photos featuring the Turkoman, Akhal-Teke, Iomud and other lesser-known types of horse. This site is in English.
The Moscow Kremlin Museum has an amazing collection of ornate horse gear from Tsarist Russia, Turkey, Persia and Western Europe. Most impressive are the ceremonial pieces made of gold and precious stones, like these Turkish stirrups. Check out the museum website for more info and some great photos. This site (caution - I had some weird political popups & hijacking after visiting this site, but can't be sure it was because of them) also has some additional photos from the same collection, taken from a traveling exhibition in the United Arab Emirates.
I posted about the sport of buzkashi the other day... then I found these beautiful pictures. Draekane on flickr has some of the best action shots of the game, but what really caught my eye were his portraits of some of the horses. They have beautiful, intelligent faces - something you don't get to see in action shots. Plus you can really see the details of the bridles and saddles, which are not overwrought, but just have small gestures of decoration, such as tassles and brass studs. The saddle has multiple woven wool pads, each with its own beautiful pattern. I love the wave-pattern on this particular pad.
This is a neat find: footage of the Akhal Teke stallion Absent, from the 1960s. He was famous in dressage, and one of the most widely recognized Akhal Teke horses. Note in this video the sheet of newspaper that blows into his legs at the end, and he pays no attention at all.