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Horse festival in Tibet brings high jinks and high notes to the high plateaux

Horse festival in Tibet brings high jinks and high notes to the high plateaux
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The Damxung Horse Festival is in full swing in Tibet, with singing and equestrian contests taking place, and one of its highlights, the Yak race, has had its usual problems at the start line.

No thoroughbreds, these, and not exactly disciplined, so the off is a bit on and off, as it were, but the race does eventually get under way, even if not all the competitors go in the same direction. The problem with this sort of sport is it is not so much staying the course as staying on that gets the prizes, as yaks have eccentric movements all of their own, and while not bucking broncos, can be extremely stubborn.

The eventual winner had no such problems, as rider 120’s beast was willing and able, and dashed for the line from the off to leave the rest of the field in its wake, while his nearest rival adopted an involuntary sidesaddle style and just managed to stay on to cross the line in second. Other animals appeared barely in the race at all, and ambled along amiably or had to be persuaded to put one foot in front of the other at a snail’s pace. No-one seemed to mind, least of all the crowd which roared its laughter.

An excellent day’s racing was capped by song and dance from Tibetan ladies competing for the very prestigious singing prizes.