The people of the Central Asian steppe were excellent riders and horse breeders. Many celebrations were accompanied by horse races and a local variety of polo. Baiga was one of the many names given to this regional event at the time of Prokudin-Gorskii’s trips to Central Asia. A British traveler who observed the game in the Khanate of Bukhara in 1896 wrote, “ ‘Baiga’ gives great enjoyment to the people and to the horsemen who take part in it. The objective of the riders is to secure the body of a decapitated goat which is thrown in their midst; they stoop down to the ground, but never dismount.” This game is still popular among Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Afghani, Karakalpaks and Tadjiks.

During competitions, horsemen traditionally wear a chapan (a wide robe of thick fabric), a fur hat and wide trousers made of coarse cotton fabric.


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