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"Buzkashi!" - great doc about this mounted extreme sport

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  • "Buzkashi!" - great doc about this mounted extreme sport

    We saw the documentary "Buzkashi!" the other night (not to be confused with the movie "Buzkashi Boys"), and it was so good, I thought COTH'ers might enjoy it too.

    Buzkashi is often likened to polo, in that it's a mounted sport, but to me it's more like, I dunno, extreme rugby in the ferocity, determination, fitness and skills required of the competitors (traditionally men only, although there are a couple of women in CA who play, apparently).

    It's a really popular sport throughout south Asia, played mostly in the winter, way up in the mountains, and is spectacular to witness (from a safe distance!). It's every horseman for himself, duking it out against another hundred or so horseman to grab the headless carcass of a dead goat (or calf) and then trying to force his way through the melee to score a goal. Many of the riders wear old Soviet tank helmets (disparaged as sissies for doing so by the Afghans).

    It's becoming a little popular in N America, now, having been brought back here by soldiers from Afghanistan: figures.

    Anyway, the documentary follows three very different competitors in Tajikistan. There are fascinating snippets of their private lives, and I found the horse stuff particularly interesting. All stallions, of course, and handsome healthy beasts on the whole, very well cared-for, and looked a bit like very tough fit Anglo-Arabs, probably around 15.2 hh.

    The heat of the moment looked pretty brutal, but in the Q&A afterwards the director mentioned that, much to his surprise (and relief, no doubt) in all the time he was there researching and filming, he saw only one horse injured - two riders were galloping flat out towards one another, looking the other way, and the two horses both swerved to avoid collision....the same way unfortunately. The riders, on the other hand, suffer lots more, with brutal twisted knees and shoulders, etc.

    The link to the website, with a trailer and lots of other info, is here:

  • #2
    I would say anyone in the USA playing that game is using other than a dead goat or calf?


    • #3
      I looked at the link, it looks brutal. I was unable to view the video right now, since I am at work, but did see the pictures. Did you rent it somehwere or go to a theater or see on tv?


      • #4
        Pato on steroids, except they used to use a duck. Now, a soccer ball with handles sewn on it.
        The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
        Winston Churchill


        • #5
          its not on netflix.

          That 'sport' looks brutal.


          • #6
            Looks like lessons we had when I was a kid. Especially when we played keep-away on horseback.


            • Original Poster

              We saw it at a movie theatre. If you're interested in seeing it, use the contact info on the website, as I imagine the director might be interested in touring it if there's enough interest, and/or having it shown by a specialised TV channel (we don't have TV, so can't help you on that one!).

              It may also come out on DVD at some point, as I see on the website that the director's other documentaries are available for purchase. Or via Netflix et al, presumably.


              • Original Poster

                Bluey - sorry, missed your question about what they'd use in N America: I have no idea, but I'm guessing you're right, it probably wouldn't be the carcass of a dead animal, as that could be perceived as offensive to Western sensibilities.

                "Pato," Frank B? I thought that it wasn't unlike polo-cross, in that the riders need to reach almost to the ground to catch the goat. But rougher!