By Marissa Polascak,
Hey readers, check this out! Long ago, before you and I were ever even an inkling of a thought, the people of Kazakhstan were creating history. Imagine this—5,500 years ago a Kazakh taming a wild horse, eventually using it for its milk, for transportation, and maybe for its meat.
For years now there has been solid evidence that the Kazakh people (specifically the people of Botai) were possibly the first to domesticate horses. Through much research and analysis of pottery and other artifacts dug up from the Kazakh soil, the world of history and science have decided that the Kazakh people from long ago were using horses to aid them with their day-to-day lives.
So you may ask, “what does this have to do current times?” and I may answer that the history of the horse in Kazakhstan is seminal to the culture of the country. While the people of Kazakhstan were riding horses thousands of years ago, horse riding remains an extremely popular sport in Kazakhstan today.
There are plenty of different horse riding expeditions in Kazakhstan to suit the needs of all kinds of visitors. Horse riding journeys are offered in different packages; some may be just for a few hours in a park, others may last days or even more than a week. The price of these expeditions and tours may vary as well. While tourist-filled places may charge higher prices per hour for a horse, smaller scale places such as villages may charge significantly less, or may let visitors ride a horse for no cost.
The region of the country will affect the quality of horse-riding as well. As Kazakhstan is a vastly large country, it is expected that terrain and climates will be different throughout. It is suggested that the friendliest environments for horse riding are in the north, south, and east of Kazakhstan, as opposed to the west and center, which is known for steppes and desert conditions. While horse riding may still take place in center and western regions of Kazakhstan, it is considered intense and recommended for experience riders.
And for some fun trivia, here is a list of some traditional Kazakh horse games:
Kokpar- This game consists of two teams of horse riders. The objective is for the team to gather a goat carcass and bring it to their part of the playing field, past a designated line. Each time tries to do this as many times as possible to gain points.
Kyz Kuu- In this game, a horseman tries to catch a girl on a horse galloping at full speed. He has to do this before she reaches the finish line. If he catches her, he may kiss her. But, if he loses, the girl must catch him and whip him.
Audyryspak- The objective of this game is quite simple: two horsemen must wrestle and attempt to push each other off of his saddle.
Kumys-alu- This game is quite easy to grasp, too. A horseman must gallop on his horse and attempt to pick up coins scattered on the ground. The rider gets to keep the coins he gathers as a prize.
So, there you have it readers! I bet next time you see a horse, you will think of the lovely country of Kazakhstan and the impact the Kazakh people 5,000 years ago made on our lives with horses today.