Sunday, February 27, 2011

Intriguing horse race in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara

When my colleagues planning to do field visit to Sumbawa and Bima I couldn’t resist to ask if I could come along with them (well of course I’d be responsible for my own expenses). So while they were arranging their trip. I was hoping that I could get my leave approved :D. 

After a few discussion on how is best to travel, as we were not heading from the same city and as I never travel to Bima before so I book a return flight with different route wishing that I could see more from the air as the coming and going is in different route.  I took a flight to Sumbawa Besar from Mataram and spent 2 days in Sumbawa Besar. From Sumbawa we decided renting a car to go to Bima. It took 5 hour drive from Sumbawa to Bima.  It’s tiring as the some of the road were not in good condition, but it was compensated with a beautiful view along the way. We spent another 2 days in Bima and back to Mataram with transit in Denpasar, Bali for a few hours.

I am not going to write about Sumbawa yet, but I am going to share my experience in watching horse race in Bima.

We were considered our self lucky that we came at the time of horse race final event in commemorating West Nusa Tenggara Province anniversary. It was a big horse racing event in Bima and we agreed that we have to watch it.

We came a bit late in the afternoon, fortunately there race still going on. I knew that I am going to see a crowd but I am not expected the BIG crowd, perhaps its like watching soccer or football in other place, the arena were over crowded so some people watching the race from unlikely places such as from tree branches and from the roof and/or the wall on the building surounding the arena... When we bought the ticket we were warned that we might not get a seat, but curiosity is winning this time:D, we still determined to go inside to see the race, either seated or not.

The horse race or pacoa jara in local language are using local breed horse which are small horses kind of pony sized horses. But what amazed and concerned me most is the jockey. The jockeys in this race were children aged 6 to 8 years old! Amazed because in such a very young age they could handle horses in a race, and concerned that in the circumstances like horse racing the likely accident is high and those little jockeys faced with a dangerous situation.

a tired little jockey
According to one of the horse trainer, the jockey trained mostly from age 4 and start to participate in horse race at age 6.  During the race no saddles used and those little jockeys could seat easily on the horses which I don’t think I could do without a saddle. At 5 pm we agreed that we’ve seen enough and we went back to the town to find something to eat...grilled fish by the beach sounds tempting...

After the race my mind still wondering about the children – the little jockeys. I am interested to see more of the life and/or the training that those little jockeys do. Wish I could meet someone that could bring me to see it.

determined little jockeys
no saddles being used in this race

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