Recently, there was a horse racing tournament in Astana. The fourth “Altyn Tulpar” tournament is all about Alaman baige, which is one of the several national horse racing sports. Participants should ride for long distances and who comes first wins the competition. The goal of this tournament is to develop Kazakh thoroughbred horses. I am quite happy to see such kind of events as it helps to popularize national sports.
However, I realized that once popular tournament began to lose its interest among ordinary people. Why? First, 37 horses participated in the fourth tournament. This is less than in the previous year. The loss of sympathy by riders should be worrying. Some say the main reason is overpriced of the participatory fee. For those who live in remote regions, 95,000 tenges participatory fee is quite expensive. Their ambition was beaten. What should they do if they do not have that money? Nevertheless, there are far more problems than that.
The length of “Altyn Tulpar” is 51 kilometers. Who won from extending the length? Undoubtedly, riding a horse for such range is burdensome for both horses and spectators. Did organizers take into consideration current demand?
Although it is hard to swallow, we have to admit that “Altyn Tulpar” lost its popularity. During the victory ceremony, only three prizes out of nine went to equestrians who were the only ones who could ride the whole length. Others failed to cross the finish line. What a shame. For all of us.
The main purpose of horse racing is to entertain people. After that, other desires such as winning demand would follow. How might “Altyn Tulpar” amuse people when it gains negative reputation? We saw exhausted equestrians and horses after riding long distance. Probably, only stone heart people did not feel sorry for them. I saw quite a lot praying people for the third rider not to fall before crossing the finish line.
Of course, the fans of this sport will not give up supporting it. However, the last tournament illustrated that there is a need for changes. Maybe distance should be shorter. Maybe we should accept the successful experiences of England and Russia in horse racing and adopt new tournament?
It is widely known, sometimes we need to refuse some elements of the tradition and improve others. For instance, riding for 51 kilometers is a tough task for young equestrians as well as horses. There are plenty of organizations, whose aims are to protect children rights and animal rights. One day they probably focus on Kazakhstan’s horse racing and warn about non-protection of the rights. Therefore, the future of horse racing needs deep analysis and bold actions.