National Horse Games Festival

Event: “National Horse Games Festival”.

Date: 19 July, Saturday / 23 August, Saturday.

Place: Kyzyl Oi village (Suusamyr Valley).

Entrance Fee: 10 USD. It includes lunch and participation in all activities.

This festival takes place in Kyzyl Oi village and includes national games Kyz Kuumai, Tyiyn Engmei and Er Oodarysh. These games are horse games which have always been popular and played in every important event, or festivals. Also at this day you will listen to folklore show and taste Kyrgyz cuisine.

Kyz KuumaiKyz Kuumai is literally translated as “Chasing the Girl”. This is to show the talent of riding a horse for both man and woman (surprisingly though it might be but a Kyrgyz woman has always been a good horse rider). On a certain distance a man on a full gallop starts to chase after a woman and tries to reach and win a kiss from her. A woman tries her best to escape from him for she can reach the finish line and turn back and start chasing after a man in order to whip him all the way back. Even though the women could be good horse riders, men always have to be superior and not to be able to reach a woman was considered a big shame which has to be paid off with being whipped. It is said that in former times this game was played by the young couples being in love with each other, so a smart girl who was on the way to winning was supposed to slow down so that not to shame her beloved in front of the people. This show is very interesting to see.

Tyiyn EngmeiTyiyn Engmei is another horse game but played by men only for them to show their skills on horseback riding. Tyiyn Engmei means “Grab the Coin”. So there are few coins laid on the ground and a young man has to grab them while galloping on a horse in a full speed. This game was played a lot in former times in order to train their skills on horseback riding which was one of the most important skills used during the battles. This game taught the young how to be solid on a horse keeping good balance and develop flexibility.

Er-EnishFor the same reasons the other game was played which bears the name Er-Enish, or called otherwise Oodarsyh. Two tough and strong men on horses wrestle. They wear no shirts and cover their bodies with oil which makes it more difficult to pull down the opponent from horse. The rules do not allow them to punch on face, kick, bite, and whip. Technically they just have to use their bare hands for pulling each other down. The participants can show not only their strength but also skillful management of horses.