The Unique Horse- Racing Competitions in Vietnam

The pack- horses which are tied with the everyday life of the people all year round suddenly become brave and fierce in the excitement of horse racing festival.

1. Equestrian Festival in Thi Thung mound, Phu Yen

For years, the traditional horse racing competition in the mound of Thi Thung has attracted thousands of local residents and visitors from near and far to attend. Riders participating in the race are the honest farmers who live in communes in the region. To prepare for this horse racing competition, before the festival, the boys in the village have tried to spruce up the workhorse to become majestic steeds.
Horse Racing in Phu Yen - Vietnam
Then racecourse in Thi Thung mound is a wide and flat plot of land. The pack horses daily carrying products and going to the fields are now covered with a colorful cloth and numbered so that the race becomes more formal. The riders wear the shirt of different colors to distinguish from each other.

Starting signal is the horn of the organizing committee. After a horn sound rings, the racers force the horse's speed along the road to reach the finish in boisterous drums and cheers of the audience along the roadsides. After the race, all of them (racers) have a feast that people attending bring and contribute in advance, for example, a few kilos of glutinous rice, chickens, ducks... This party enables people to have a happy time together without costing too much. They raise their grass of wine and wish each other a happy new year full of good things in life.

2. Horse racing festival in Bac Ha, Lao Cai

Many years ago, in the area of Bac Ha, Lao Cai, the spring when the peach blossom, apricot blossom, plum blossom bloom was also the time when people flocked to the courtyard in the mansion of Hoang A Tuong to watch horse racing, shooting.

Horse Racing festival in Bac Ha - Lao Cai
On the track, the boys adjusted their clothes securely, stately hold a gun in their arms. When racers heard the gunfire order, they laid flat on the horseback, galloped at full speed as flying. Being close to the finishing point, the horsemen on barefoot quickly jumped to the ground, took the aim and fired instant 5 shots, took the red ball then hopped on the horseback to return to the starting point. The boy racing faster and had the most shooting on target was the winner.

The racecourse today is a huge stadium with concrete fence and competitors raced in groups of 5. The man reaching to finish in the shortest time wins and can continue to the next round. The final round is held to select the champion, runner- up, third and consolation prizes. The annual horse racing has become a unique festival of Northwest residents and met the needs of cultural enjoyment, the spirit of indigenous people.

An important and interesting point in the race is that the steed horses are ones which daily carry goods to the fields. Horsemen are also honest gentle guys who all year around work in the fields, mountains and forests and now becomes majestic on horseback with a protected plastic cap, bravely hops on the horseback without the saddle or the pedal. They show the courage, bravery, and talent in the relentless cheers of the audience.

3. Ha Giang Horse fighting Festival

Horse fighting was a game in the leisure time after the havest of the inhabitants in Bang Hanh commune, Bac Quang district, Ha Giang in the past ancient times, and was held in Lunar New Year and the full moon day of lunar July. However, in recent years, this traditional custom of Tay ethnic was absent and newly restored in 2013.

Ha Giang Horse Fighting Festival
As a rule, the horse tournament is held twice a year, on the full moon days in lunarJanuary and July in Thuy Lam Vien ecological resort to serve people and tourists from everywhere.

Even before the days of competition, the strongest horses are selected and cared carefully. They are training, practiced and have a special diet and rest. Once a day, except the day when it's cold, the owners wash their horses. Every day, the horse must be taken to the high hills to eat grass and breathe fresh air. Each horse is individually kept in a cage to avoid fighting.

The horses take part in knockout rounds to find out the winners of each pair to compete in the final round. Before fighting, two of the excellent horses are forced to smell a mare as a bait. When the mare is led away, the two male horses rush in each other and start their fighting. They kick, scratch, slap ... to win.

Tags: Things to do in Vietnam, Things to do in Cambodia

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