Kyrgyz people through their nomadic way of life have carried the equestrian games from generation to generation. One national Kyrgyz games that is considered as part of our ancestral heritage is ulak tartysh. Ulak tartysh is a combination of polo and rugby. Every kyrgyz man shows his agility and strength through equestrian games.


To convey that there are people possess these qualities we went to have a conversation with Kenjebaev Zhanybek a resident of the Kok-Tash village, Sumbula district,  Leilek county.

Zhanybek has been playing ulak tartysh for15 years. He is a member of the district and province kok-bory or premiere teams. Zhanybek has won competitions in Chuy, Talas, Ysyk-kol provinces. He has achieved success in equestrian games in neighboring countries such as Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. He has a race horse named Karager.

-Where did your interest to ulak tartysh come from?

– I am interested in ulak tartysh because it is one of Kyrgyzstan’s most exiting games. I have competed in Ozgon, Bishkek, Osh, Talas and Ysyk-Kol.  According to the rules there two finish lines in the game, one of the lines in the beginning and one of the lines at the end. The sheep placed at the beginning and caw placed at the end. The special rules that we have is we don’t wear the horses out and we don’t ride them very hard. Leylek federation is well-known by showing the respect to horses.

– Were your parents into horse racing or did you find it interesting on your own?

– There were some my ancestors who used to horse race. This might be one of the reasons.

– Are you training the horses in on your own or you just rent the trained ones?

-I am do it by myself and I am renting when is needed. Let’s look the way horses trained. Our  horses rest for 3 month in summer, when it is gets cold we begin our preparation. We walk with them 4 hours in the morning as well as in the evening. We are training our horses right now. Then the ulak tartysh competition will start in one month.


We usually fed them at 6 am. They need to rest for one hour after feeding. Then we take them to the hippodrome to walk for one lap, trot for second lap and we race them for third lap. We raced the horses from 1 kilometer to 5. If we won’t train them they won’t be ready for the games.

Ulak tartysh games plays without specific rules in Leilek. This game is also held during the circumcision celebration. Additionally, to avoid the disappearance of the game on the district level and to develop the horse games with Leylek administrative institution and other organizations, we organize ulak games with neighbor countries every year on the 9th may.In these events the amount of the participants is more than 500.

By Djuraev Abdiraim



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