PHOTO: Horsemenship festival in Morocco

Thu, 21.09.2017 16:20

Thousands gathered recently in Mansouria, a small town south of the capital Rabat, to attend one of the oldest festivals in Morocco. Nineteen horse troupes came from different parts of the kingdom to celebrate a three-day event that blends courage, skill and tradition.

The competitive, synchronized horse riding is known as Tabourida, or La'ab Al-Baroud, "The Game of Powder." The display mimics and pays tribute to military parades performed by Arab and Berber tribes since the 15th century. It has become an integral display for many festivals across the country. Famed French artist Eugene Delacroix popularized Tabourida on canvas in the 19th century, dubbing it Fantasia, and the name has stuck.

Al-Mahdy Hayzoun, 23, has been riding in his troupe for 12 years, though he couldn't compete in this year's festival because of a recent gunpowder injury to his hand. He said Tabourida brings together people from all walks of life.

"There is the poor and the rich, people of different backgrounds," he said. "But once we're all on the field, next to each other, we're all equal, with the same goal."

Each troupe, or sourba, of 10 to 30 riders is judged on their synchronicity as a group. After lining up at the top of a track, wearing ceremonial robes and with their horses dressed in elaborate bridles and brightly-colored saddles, the lead rider calls out and the troupe races down the field.

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Source: Al Arabiya

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