Enjoy spring with horse racing in Bac Ha
The horse is the friend of the people of Bac Ha as it helps them with transportation and farming duties and the horse racing which existed in the mind of Bac Ha people as a myth, became a unique traditional culture of the ‘white plateau’.
Ba Ha now owns thousands of horses and during Sunday markets hundreds of horses are bought and sold. Horses which excel in racing are required to be strong, tall, solid, with white teeth, smooth fur and good health, while horses which will be used for food only need to be fat and meaty.
In the old days, when immense forests were adorned with white plum and apricot flowers, local people flocked to the Hoang A Tuong edifice to witness the horse racing.
During the competition, which usually takes place at the foot of Ba Me Con Mount, the horsemen in well-fitting dresses are ready to gallop when a shot signals the start of the race.
When approaching the finish line, they jump down off their horses, fire five shots in succession, take the red ball, hop back onto their horses and return to the start line.
The traditional form of riding without a saddle makes the race more interesting with spectacular performances. The man who has the fastest horse and obtains the most goals is the winner.
During wartime, racing was absent for many years as horsemen went to the battlefields.
Now, it has been restored as part of cultural activities in response to the annual tourism development cooperation programs between eight northwestern provinces.
The restoration of the festival aims to meet cultural and spiritual demands of local ethnic groups, helping preserve their special cultural values. As a race designed for “barefoot cavaliers”, who have been friends of horses since they were born, the festival has become an attraction for both domestic and international tourists.
Visitors to the festival will have a chance to join the exciting and animated atmosphere with a host of activities such as traditional dances, cuisine festival, farm produce market and Eco-tourism programs.