Villagers in an area in the southeastern province of Bingol, Turkey, are busy training their horses during the winter. They hope the horses are ready to compete and win in the horse race that will be held next summer.
Heavy snow and freezing temperatures are no obstacle for people in the Karlova district of Bingol Province. They brought their horses to practice running in those unfavorable weather conditions, every day, without any exceptions. Their goal, their horses are ready to compete in the annual horse race next summer.
Turgay Yılmaz, a resident of the village of Toklular, said horses are an important part of the lives of people in his village, and even in Bingol as a whole.
“This is a tradition of our village for centuries. We train our horses to prepare for their races in the summer. Every family, of which there are about 300 in our village, has a horse. It is the young people who usually ride the horses, but everyone loves horses.”
Toklular, which in Turkish means “snow plain”, is a farming village. Its residents make a living mainly by breeding animals, including horses.
Horses are not only important as a means of transportation, but also the pride of their owners. No wonder, if every summer, July to be exact, they competed the horses on the racetrack.
According to Yilmaz, training horses in areas of heavy snow, which sometimes reaches depths of more than one meter, is beneficial for horses. In addition to strength training, the horses had the opportunity to be in the open air.
Ayetullah Kıslakcı, also a resident of the village of Toklular, admits that he has enjoyed riding horses since the age of eight. He is one of the best jockeys in his village. He said that he loves horses very much and they train during the winter to maintain their physical and mental condition.
According to him, running in the snow is very good for the health of the horses and helps clean their legs.
“We train horses during winter for summer races. Even though our chances of winning are small, we train as often as possible. Our village even has a racetrack.” [ab/uh]