Buzkashi - a game once seen, will never be forgotten...

two competitors battle over the carcass of a goat as the referee watches in the background.

two competitors battle over the carcass of a goat as the referee watches in the background.

A game that is played nowhere else in the world but in Afghanistan has got to be a little different - and Buzkashi is more than a little different.

To start with the game is played between two teams of mounted horsemen with 10 players to a team in a stadium the size of a football field. Secondly, the central object is not a leather ball, but a headless calf that weighs about 150 pounds and has been soaked in water all night to make the hide tough.

During my recent trip to Mongolia, I had the chance to witness an event that pitted two riders against each other to see who was strongest... and the reason that they do this in Mongolia can only be answered in the origins of Buzkashi.

The origins of the game are perhaps lost in history, but many believe it was invented as a defense against the hordes of Genghis Khan who were very adept at sweeping down on an Afghan village on horseback and grabbing precious sheep and goats and other pillage at a full gallop as they rode through the villages they were pilfering...

And, after watching these young men battle for a goat carcass on horseback, there is definitely an art.

If you want to consider joining me next year in Mongolia. Check out this link for my trip in 2017 https://kevin-pepper-bcji.squarespace.com/2017-golden-eagle-festival-photo-tour

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Kevin A Pepper

Kevin is a photographer and educator based in Waterloo, Ontario. His first love is photographing nature, regardless of the season or weather condition; the Ontario landscape and its wildlife are his inspiration. But you will also see other styles of photography in his portfolio. From street photography to urban exploration of abandoned buildings and architecture, he loves to capture it all with his camera for his corporate clients and his growing personal portfolio. Kevin’s images have been featured in Canadian Nature Photographer, PHOTONews Canada, Photo Technique Magazine, The London Free Press, The Weather Network, and National Geographic Online. His diverse client list includes the City of Cambridge, Olympus, GORE Mutual, TVO, and African Lion Safari. Kevin also operates “Northof49 Photography”, a company launched in 2012 dedicated to teaching amateur photographers through International and Canadian-based workshops. In the coming year, Kevin will be leading workshops in Iceland, Mongolia, Tanzania, Venezuela, Provence, and numerous destinations across Canada. Website: www.kevinpepperphotography.com