The Controversial Tradition of Children’s Horse Racing in Mongolia

A tradition known as the Naadam Festival in Mongolia is controversial. The problem is, jockeys who ride on horses have many minors.

Naadam Festival is a Mongolian tradition that has been carried down for generations. In this festival, parents include their children in horse racing competitions.

This horse race has a route length of 24 km or about 15 miles. The jockeys will race over muddy fields with safety helmets and safety jackets.

Horse racing is an important event for nomadic Mongolians. This festival was just held last week.

Being a prestigious competition, there are 10,435 children who have participated in 394 horse racing competitions. Although considered important, this festivial is also controversial.

According to the data there have been 600 children who have been thrown from horses from previous races. The festival also claimed 2 lives which fell from horses and 169 were injured.

“Studies show that horse racing violates children’s right to survive, be educated and protected,” said Tsolmon Enkhbat, coordinator of the Save the Children program in Mongolia.

Because it has become part of the traditions of the people in Mongolia, this year the Naadam Festival committee through the Mongolian Authority for Family, Children, and Youth Development launches a new system. Competitors must register fingerprints to improve regulations and impose age restrictions.

Children who can participate in this competition are at least 7 years old. Previously there were no age restrictions, so even 5-year-old children were often included by the family.

“With increased public awareness on child safety issues, of course child protection is better,” said Enkhbaatar Altangerel, an official with authority.

The children’s watch group, Tsolmon of Save the Children, also suggested that horse racing activities should not be held in winter or spring, because extreme cold temperatures endanger children.

The Mongolian government continues to support this horse race but prohibits betting or gambling. Parents are also asked to supervise because they support the competition.


Horse Race Traditions in Bener Meriah, Aceh

Horse racing which has become a tradition in the Gayo Highlands (DTG), is one of the entertainment for people in the cold temperate regions.

This time the event was held in the framework of the 2020 GaMiFest activity which lasted for one week.

“This event, held for a week, starting from 27 to 2 January 2020,” said the Head of the Bener Meriah Tourism Office, Riswandika SSTP MAP to, Tuesday (7/1/2020).

He said, for participants we would write to the Regency / City Horse Sports Association (Pordasi) to send their contingents at the horse racing event this month.

The contingents we will write about, Riswandika said, include, Gayo Lues Regency, Central Aceh, and will increase from Southeast Aceh, and Aceh Besar District which we will also write to take part in this horse racing event.

“This horse racing, not in the context of the Bener Meriah Regency anniversary, but the opening of the GaMiFest in 2020,” said Riswandika.

Riswandika added, for this year, it is likely that there will be two horse racing events in Bener Meriah Regency which will take place in January and December 2020.

“God willing, if there are no obstacles and schedule changes, horse racing in Bener Meriah will be held twice this year,” said Riswandika.

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