Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Dead Goat Horse Polo

All the hikers were notified today that a Kokpar tournament is happening this week on the Bishkek road out of Almaty. Kokpar, in case you are wondering, is horse polo where the riders play for possesssion of a beheaded goat carcass, rather than the traditional ball and mallet which us lily-livered westerners would normally associate with the game.

We don't see so many horses around Almaty (they would probably choke on the fumes from the Range Rovers and Landcruisers!) and I thought that Kokpar was one of these dying traditions: always on the tourist promotional videos but not actually part of the fabric of life here. But apparently not. Our hiking guide tells us that this is a matter of intense pride and competition, and that the sport is very much alive in Kazakhstan. I am sure it will be an unbelievable show of horsemanship.

I have never seen a game of polo involving horses, but I have twice been to the Kings Cup Elephant Polo tourmament which is held every year in Thailand and which is absolutely excellent fun to watch.

Since my mac has died, I will rely on friends to send me photos to post on the blog, but I am sure it will be an amazing day out. So tune in tomorrow night and hopefully I will be able to share an account of an extraordinary day.

1 comment:

  1. I've seen that on TV - should be a great day out being there for real.