No less than fifty horses and riders rode on the snow-filled field high in the mountains.  Outfitted with colorful saddle blankets, boots, whips, Russian tank helmets and other adornments, riders and horses alike were prepared for battle.  Their object: fight over a disemboweled goat carcass and see who could throw it into a tire in the middle of the field.

Buzkashi is a sport that no narrative, nor photo could do justice.  Riders and audience both are part of the game.  You take your own life in your hands standing as a spectator watching each match as riders come galloping toward you at full speed hanging half-off their horse fighting over a goat carcass with another rider.  It’s the shouts from the crowd, the whoops from the riders, the sound of the whip crashing across a horse’s (or rider’s) body, and the screams of joy filled feared as audience members run for fear of getting trampled that constitute the game.

Below are photos from a couple Buskashi matches I attended while working up in the Garm and Tavildara districts.

Janice - one of my coworkers, as the only woman to have ridden in a match - much less win.


June Duck said...

I would surely be interested to learn more about this interesting sport. Why are they fighting over the goat carcass? How long does this go on for?


Clay said...

The goat carcass is the means of scoring. By getting the carcass in the tire in the middle of the field, you win that match.

The match goes on from about 10am-4pm depending on the whim of the judges. There are many matches played within that period of time.

It's super exciting, but super cold as well.