During the opening President Berdimuhamedov praised the Galkynysh equestrian group’s successes around the world. They won the grand prize at the 16th International Circus Festival in Italy as well as a gold medal at an international competition in Moscow in 2014. “The Galkynysh group of national equestrian games significantly contributes to promoting the world glory and prestige of Ahalteke horses that is our national glory and developing the art of horse breeding.”
The Galkynysh group performed in the traditional circle outside the conference center as an added attraction providing entertainment for the attendees between conferences. These specialized trick riders, or djigits, bring out the historical relationship of the Turkmen with their horses and illustrate the harmony between them in their performance. This highlights the combination of skill and artistic style that embodies their history and showcases their culture.
Galloping at top speeds around a small circle the riders perform numerous tricks and acrobatic feats on the horses. Some of the requirements of the national equestrian group, all done at a gallop, include being able stand upright on the horse as well as upside down, jumping to standing on saddle from the ground and back on each side, jumping from side to side and front to back of the saddle, to drag hands on the ground with one foot in the stirrup, to drag feet on the ground while holding onto the saddle, to move around the neck as well as under the horse and riding two horses at a time. Then to bring it back to traditional events, to do all that at a gallop while also showing skill at using various weapons, including a bow, sword, spear, axe, javelins, etc.
They also have a stallion who walks on his hind legs for an extended period of time who is always a crowd favourite. There was a traditional finale with a pyramid of people topped by the flag of Turkmenistan on the backs of two horses. The performance is always enhanced by acrobatics and a group of dancers as well. This is a performance worth catching!
You can watch the slideshow below and/or visit the gallery to see all the images from the Galkynysh exhibition at the trade show.