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Alaman baiga.

 Photo tours horse competitions in Kazakhstan.


“By the hill there is a game of sais, 
And wrestling and shooting at a target,
And at a distance - Akynov Aitys.
Now the baygi is running out of time,
And the flashing of horse legs
Like the sparkle of flying arrows"

Ilyas Dzhansugurov. "Slaves."

Kazakh folk holidays and games.

Alaman baiga, one of the types popular among the Kazakhs and other Turkic peoples. The Kazakh national game "Alaman Baiga" is a test not only of riders and their ability to stay in the saddle, but mainly it is a test for horses. Alaman Baiga is an equestrian competition, long and ultra-long distance racing.
The historical roots of this game are based on the need of the Kazakhs to prepare horses for long journeys during migration to new places, as well as to select the most enduring and strong horses to improve the breed. So gradually Alaman baiga became an integral part of major holidays.
Sometimes during such competitions, some horses could not withstand the load and died before reaching the finish line or fell from fatigue, breaking their legs. It is known that before races, riders, in order to protect their horses from the evil eye, braided their tail and mane and wove owl feathers or amulets against the evil eye into it, and also tried not to show the horse to anyone, keeping it under a blanket.
Alaman bayge - a long and extra-long distance race over rough terrain (25, 50, 100 km) - is one of the ancient types of competitions. “Alaman-baiga” was certainly included in the programs of major folk festivals and especially annual commemorations (as).
Usually, races were held in the steppe in a straight line, replete with natural obstacles, without limiting the number of horses, as well as their breeds. Participants in the alaman baiga must be physically and mentally strong, have good riding technique, be able to correctly assess the situation, and calculate the strength of the horse.
The winners are awarded prizes. Alaman-baiga is one of the most difficult and grueling types of horse racing. At the same time, shorter distance races, in which anyone can participate, are held at almost every holiday.

Life and culture of Kazakh people. Kenzheahmetuly S. Almatykitap, 2006

Photos by:
Alexandr Petrov.