Some horses with sad eyes are looking around
while others are actively pawing at the ground
while the horsemen carefully move them into place
and treat them with tender care.
Combs slide through thick tails and manes in a
kind of horse cosmetology. One horseman weaves
his horse's mane into unique braids so that his
horse stands out from the others.
The heavy and distinct smell of horse spreads
form stables that are awaiting reconstruction
but much remains mysterious about what is to take
After a few minutes, horsemen in dress white
uniforms and shin-length boots start moving their
mounts to the sound of Spanish guitars and the
first Equestrian Tournament of Armenia is underway.
About 200 spectators gathered at Charbakh Race
Track for the event last Sunday and Monday, many
not knowing what to expect, including children
wide-eyed at the big animals and their pageantry.
"Such a tournament is organized in Armenia
for the first time," says executive secretary
of the Equestrian Sports Federation and executive
director Norair Stepanyan. "Such a competition
first of all will give an impulse to development
of equestrian sports and then it will give possibility
to organize more crowded events in the future
and enter international competition."
young horseman knows the easiest way to
overcome a barrier.
In all, some 20 horses and horsemen took part
representing, according to Stepanyan, almost all
equestrian clubs functioning in Armenia as well
as private owners.
Onto a course of jumps decorated by red and white
flags and potted flowers, the first horseman rode,
removed his black cap in respect to his audience,
then took his horse through its show-jumping tasks.
Like their owners, horses differ from each other.
Some of them calmly ride, one horse furiously
jumps from one side to another and with foam dripping
from its mouth is ready to splinter everything.
Other horses throw their riders at the end of
the performance and one horse bolted from the
arena, depriving its rider from the right of taking
part at the competition.
Perhaps some refinement is in order before Armenia's
second attempt at equestrian sport.
20 horses and horsemen took part in a tournament
organized in Armenia for the first time.
The tournament was open to any participant and
spectators. No admission was charged, as organizers
hope the first event would stir interests in the
sport. Many government and business dignitaries
were invited though only a couple attended.
"I knew about the competition by chance,"
says 60 year old Seriozha Hakobyan. "I brought
my grandchildren with me so that they could see
horses up close. It is very interesting for them
and for us too."
But the interests appeared short-lived as soon
the audience was applauding children who were
running around on all fours mimicking the horses
during the interval between competitions.
Organizers, however, remained optimistic that
the first event will have successors. And winners
of Armenia's first competition will be eligible
to represent Armenia in the Caucasian Cup tournament
in Tbilisi this weekend.
"Starting next year the federation is going
to launch qualification tournaments thanks to
which equestrian sports will be dynamically developed,"