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30/12/10 - Riding Purebred Jumper Horse

posted 19 Jan 2012, 05:51 by Ambasciata Uzbekistan

People of various countries visit Uzbekistan to admire the horses of popular local races, to watch the national equestrian competitions and to experience the joy from riding on the pure-blooded horse... Taking interested in the equestrian tour in Uzbekistan, tourists from England John Easen and Barbara Bell have addressed the Uzbekistan Today editorial on the information about opportunities of this type of tourism.
People residing on the territory of modern Uzbekistan have been engaged in horse breeding from the extreme past, the horse to them is the invariable companion in their trips and good helper in household. Most experts consider that argamaks, the saddle-horses, were for the first time bred in Central Asia, and the majority of existing breeds of pure-blooded horses inherited the best qualities of argamak. It is known from written Chinese sources that in 138 year B.C. the emperor Wu Ti from Han dynasty has sent the skilled diplomat and military leader Chang Jiang for “Heavenly Mountains”, the ancient name of Tien Shan Mountains. He had a special mission: to bring from the country of Davan that is located in Farg’ona Valley those “heavenly horses sweating with blood.” Images of those horses, amazingly reminding modern ahaltekin horses, archeologists found out on rocks in the southeast part of Farg’ona Valley.
There were horses in China before the travel of Chang Jiang – small, shaggy Mongolian horses. However, argamaks from Central Asia remained the most valuable for long centuries. The herds of this breed were carefully guarded and considered the most expensive merchandise during the epoch of Tan dynasty on the route of the Great Silk Roads from Khorazm and Samarqand to the capital of the Celestial Empire.
The Turkic people always esteemed a horse and named it “murod” – “the reached purpose, satisfaction of desires.” According to the legend, the Founder satisfies forty desires of a horse every day, and in thirty nine cases the horse asks for his owner and only once for itself. Therefore, in Uzbekistan there is a popular belief that good luck and well-being will always rule in the house with a horse.
The main rich of Uzbekistan’s breeds of horse is the well-known karabair. Horses of this breed have broad chest and small ears. They differ in strength and endurance.
Horse competitions with participation of karabairs are always organized within almost all national festivities in Uzbekistan. One of the most ancient national equestrian games of the Uzbek people is considered “uloq” – competition of equestrians to hold the ram hulk. In past time people organized “uloq” in days of victories over the enemy, in the holiday Navruz, on the occasion of a birth in of successor, on the eve of spring seeding, or in honor of a big crop.  
Karabairs are irreplaceable for the game “chovgon” – horse polo and for the powerful fight while being on the horseback, this type of the game are extended in the mountain areas of Uzbekistan. Another equestrian game “qiz quvdi” (catching up a girl) is no less popular with Uzbeks. There is a belief that in old days the cattle breeding tribes had a custom in accordance of which young men of marriage age arranged a pursuit of the girl who skips on the fastest horse. The young man who managed to catch up the girl, marry her.
The Uzbek athletes have demonstrated time and again the achievements of the eastern school of equestrian skills. On horses of local breeds they won medals in classical kinds of equestrian sport on the Olympic Games and many international competitions.
A person who even once experienced unforgettable feeling of flight on a back of pure-blooded horse, felt a tender touch of the soft horse lips taking a slice of bread from a palm, heard a salutatory neighing, will fall in love with this beautiful and clever animal for sure and will aspire to be in the saddle.
The romantic of the equestrian tourism involves people of the most various age and temper. As a rule, equestrian tours are organized in summer, yet unique climate conditions of Uzbekistan allow to be engaged in riding all year round.
One of the most popular and fascinating equestrian tours are organized in the Ugam-Chotqol State National Reserve whose rich flora and fauna attract tourists all across the globe. It is located within eighty kilometers from the capital of Uzbekistan, at spurs of the Western Tien-Shan. Here at the junction of three rough mountain rivers, at the foot of Big and Small Chimgan the resort complex is located meant for fans of the equestrian tourism. Horses of local breeds – kurama and karabair are kept in stables of Chimgan, though there are ahaltekin horses and hardy half-bloods as well.
It is the zero point for the equestrian tours around the reserved places of the National Park. One of the most interesting routes is offered from Chimgan along the mountain river Pskem.
If riding is available to everything the equestrian tours are preferred by more skilled equestrians. Usually the tour consists of five-ten tourists. They are accompanied by the skilled guide, groom and cook.
For equestrian tours tourists are provided with the special equipments and tents. Tourists should avoid wearing bright coloring and rustling clothes in order not to frighten horses. Cavalry saddle with sweat cloth is the most convenient for traveling. It is considered the pack saddle to which it is easy to load saddlebags - hourjouns.
As a rule, duration of the equestrian tours is five-seven days. The way lies on the northern slopes of the Ugam ridge cool and dry climate.
The slopes of mountains here are covered with relic archa woods, while valleys of numerous small rivers are rich with birch and nut groves. One could hear birds’ song in bushes of sea-buckthorn and hawthorn. Nightingales, goldfinches and orioles live these bushes. Alpine meadows are spread on uplands with tulips, poppies, herbs, barberry and blackberry bushes.
There are lots of small lakes between rocks, small rivers and falls make noise. Mysterious caves hide in the heart of mountain rocks, while the ledges of volcanic rocks store the hardened traces of dinosaurs. Cliffs keep petroglyphs, the ancient rock drawings of animals and hunters with bows and arrows cut by prehistoric people who occupied these fertile lands far in the Stone Age.
Along mountain tracks horses walk, while on plains they trot. In thickets of fruit-trees and bushes tourists can meet badgers, sometimes the red marmot or stone marten will look out of their earthen mink. A unique for this area animal, the Siberian roe could be seen in the valley of the river Pskem and on the coast of its inflow Maydontol. Argalis, the wild sheep, fearlessly jump along rocky ledges. The Alpine grasses hide wild turkeys – ulars, and mountain partridges – kakliks.
Impressions of travel on mountains, fresh, pure air sated with the most subtle fragrance of grasses and flowers, scratch of a saddle, measured clatter of hooves and romantic evening meal next to a fire under the sky of stars will imprinted in your memory for a long time.