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Xizang Equestrian Team

Traditional Horse Racing Enthralls Spectators in Lhasa as Xizang Equestrian Team Shines on New Year

Lhasa, February 12, 2024, The Europe Today: On the third day of the Tibetan New Year festivities, the equestrian team of southwest China’s Xizang Autonomous Region mesmerized the capital city of Lhasa with a captivating display of traditional horse racing. The event took place in the northern suburbs of Lhasa, where riders, adorned in vibrant Tibetan attire, gracefully galloped around the racecourse.

Yongya Yeshe, a 27-year-old member of the region’s esteemed equestrian team, shared his dedication to the sport, stating that he has trained with his horse for over 13 years. He expressed the tradition of performing the traditional horse race every Tibetan New Year, emphasizing the cultural significance and longstanding heritage associated with the event.

Established in 1986, the Xizang equestrian team has garnered numerous gold medals in national competitions, solidifying its reputation as a powerhouse in equestrian sports. Beyond competitions, the team plays a pivotal role in promoting and guiding local equestrian activities, regularly organizing performances in rural areas of the region. Over the years, they have delivered hundreds of free performances for farmers and herdsmen, contributing to the cultural enrichment of the local communities.

The event drew a large and enthusiastic crowd of spectators, among them Sonam, a citizen from the city of Qamdo, attending with his family. “This is our first time watching a horse race in person, and the riders and their horses perform together so well,” expressed Sonam, reflecting the excitement and appreciation among the audience.

Tashi Dargye, a coach for the Xizang equestrian team, guided the riders in executing the “horse lying down” maneuver. Explaining the intricacies of the maneuver, Tashi Dargye highlighted the deep bond and trust required between the horse and the rider. This maneuver, along with other traditional elements, showcased the rich cultural tapestry and unique sporting heritage of the Tibetan people.

Horses participating in the event hailed from the surrounding counties of Lhasa and the city of Nagqu. The overarching goal of the event, as outlined by the sports bureau of the region, is to promote and popularize traditional sports among the locals, preserve horse racing culture and traditions, and enhance the sports and cultural life of the Tibetan people. The equestrian team of Xizang continues to be a beacon of tradition and excellence, captivating audiences with their skillful and culturally significant performances.