Horse racing and "snatching sheep"

Horse racing is a traditional entertainment sports activity that is deeply loved by the Hazak nationality. Generally, it is held on the wedding day and the day of jubilation as the last major program. Once the horse racing ends, the celebration is over.

The horse racing of the Hazak nationality is in two forms: fine horse racing and galloping horse racing. The fine horse racing is to compare the galloping speed, durability and galloping gesture, etc. The participating horses are generally adult horses that are elder than 5, and the riders are also adults. When racing, the riders have to have outstanding riding skills. Under the condition of not influencing speed, they should not only make the horses gallop steadily, and but also keep the graceful gesture of the galloping horses. The galloping horse racing is to compare the speed and durability of horses, generally in three items: adult horse, one-year-old horse and stud. The participating riders are generally the boys of about 12 to 13 years old.

The time and address of horse racing must be informed in advance. The horse participators should make preparations two to three years in advance, and be trained specially. The Hazak nationality attaches special importance to raising and training racing horses. They believe, besides the horse types, blood relationship, bodily form and posture, the key for the horse to take the championship lies in the skills in training horses. And they have professional people to choose and train horses.

The participating riders wear red and white clothes. The hair and tail of the racing horses must be woven or bound by all kinds of colored cloth strips. By doing this, the hair and tail of horses will not influence the galloping horses' view and speed, and the colored cloth can also be taken as mark. The racing distance is generally 20 to 30 kilometers, sometimes the track is in straight line, and sometimes it has turns, around the grassland.

The horse racing is not only the thing of the participators, but also a thing that has relationship with the honor of the whole clan and tribe. On horse racing party, each first rider reaching the terminal point will shout the slogans of his own clan and tribe. At this time, all the people of same tribe will echo together. To win the championship is not only the glory of the rider, but also that of his whole tribe.

Snatching sheep is also a fierce and stimulus game on horseback that integrates sports and entertainment together. It is also an activity that compares strength, braveness and riding skills, and generally it is held on the party of festivals and at the time of jubilation.

The competition is held on smooth grassland. The people that participate in snatching sheep are divided into two groups, and each group appoints a person to snatch together. The person that enters the arena first presses the goat between knees, grabs the hind legs of the sheep with both hands and presses it onto the saddle, and the other party grabs the sheep's two forelegs and pulls them by exerting himself. It requires the systematic cooperation of human strength and horse strength, and the person with stronger strength will snatch away the sheep and win the game. After several rounds of such snatching, at last, all the people snatch one sheep together. The two groups of riders rush up in a crowd, the person that takes the sheep whip the horse and gallop, other people run after him as quickly as possible. When they catch up with him, a fierce tussle will begin. When they are locked together, several hundred riders will surround together, push and squeeze from left to right. Once a person of the other group snatch away the sheep, the riders of the same group will screen for them. When the snatcher takes the sheep away from the rider group with the cooperation of the screeners, the riders of the same group will receive the sheep and whip the horse and gallop. The people of the other group will run after behind him and block him, and another tussle begins. After several rounds of snatching, the rider that win other powerful participators will take the sheep and run far away, if the other group cannot catch up with him, the rider's group will win the game. In some places, the game cannot come to an end until the sheep is thrown to the appointed felt house. On that very evening, the host of the felt house will happily entertain all the people. The Hazak people believe that the mutton of this sheep can help them to cure sickness and meet good luck.

There is another mode of snatching sheep, which is single riding. Firstly, the prepared sheep is left on the arena. Two riders that respectively represent their own group will begin to snatch the sheep from each other on the horseback. The person with stronger strength and appropriate skill will win the game. The snatchers cannot gallop, they can only snatch within the arena that is as large as the area of two to three basketball courts. This mode depends on the number of participators, and generally elimination system or circulation system is applied.

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