Towards the winning post.
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Child Jockeys of Sumbawa, Indonesia

Story and photos by Maxby Chan

Horse racing is a tradition in Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia. However, the riders are no ordinary jockeys. They are children aged 5 to 13 years of age. They race on bare horse backs without saddles. The Indonesian word for this tradition is “Main Jaram”. Photosafari organised a photosafari trip to Sumbawa, Indonesia to witness this event.

We visited the home of one of the child jockeys. His name is Ayup bin Nursaid. He stays in a kampong house near the racing track. He has been a jockey for five years. He trains every afternoon after school hours.

Training is tough, child jockeys started their training as young as five years old and by thirteen they are considered too old for racing. Ayup is already twelve year’s old and he has another year of competitive racing. He has won a lot of championships quipped his father.

We were then led to the race course together with Ayup and a few horses on trucks.

A Child jockey, Ayup at his home

A child jockey, Ayup at his home

A hood and a helmet is all the protective gear that he is wearing

A hood and a helmet is all the protective gear that he is wearing

Inside Ayup's home in the village.

Inside Ayup’s home in the village.

Ayup's father who was very proud of his son's achievement.

Ayup’s father who was very proud of his son’s achievement.

The horses were transported to the race course or the practice session.

The horses were transported to the race course or the practice session.

A race course donated by BNI

A race course donated by BNI

It has a covered grandstand for spectators.

It has a covered grandstand for spectators.

Preparing the horses for the practice runs.

Preparing the horses for the practice runs.

A village Shaman gives blessings to the jockeys as part of the ceremony before the race.

A village Shaman gives blessings to the jockeys as part of the ceremony before the race.

He was a child jockey before but now he owns horses for the races.

He was a child jockey before but now he owns horses for the races.

The horses and jockeys were paraded around before the start of the race.

The horses and jockeys were paraded around before the start of the race.

The start of the horse race at the gates.

The start of the horse race at the gates.

The jockeys were equipped with sticks to encourage their horses to run faster.

The jockeys were equipped with whips to encourage their horses to run faster.

There were fierce competition among the jockeys even though this was just a practice session.

There was fierce competition among the jockeys even though this was just a practice session.

Ayup, was leading the race and turning into the home run.

Ayup, was leading the race and turning into the home run.

The other jockeys were in hot pursuit.

The other jockeys were in hot pursuit.

 

 

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