Monday, March 19, 2012

Tent Pegging - a sport of Majestic Horses and Horsemen



Horses since life started have been the best companion of men. The have charged into the ravage battlefields carrying warriors, horsemen and the cavilers, fighting and falling with them. And in peacetime, they trained hard with their masters to prepare for the rigors of battles, besides providing horsemen opportunities to sport and hunt.

One of the favourite sport for the horsemen is tent pegging - something which prepares the warriors and the cavilers to train for accurate targetting in wars. The history of sport of tent pegging has been traced back to at least the 4th century BC.It is not clear what specific purpose the tent pegging accrued, but as the name suggests, the cavilers used this technique in their surprise attacks on the enemy camps, and taking out the pegs of their tents, thus creating alarm and chaos and subduing the still half asleep enemy soldiers. In George McDonald Fraser's Flashman novels, title character Harry Flashman served in a lancer regiment, and frequently mentions tent pegging and his broader skills with the lance.

Now that warriors no more ride into battles on majestic horses, these still carry horsemen into the playgrounds to keep alive the tradition of horsemen and horsemanship. The relationship between man and horse is not to cease.

Tent Pegging is played in may countries of the world, including Pakistan. Every year, during the harvest seasons' festivities, horsemen clad in white suits, varying colours of waist coats and long turbans ride their majestic horses and charge into the battlefield of tent pegging at speeds one cannot imagine. The horsemen align themselves with the lances as the near the pegs pitched into the ground, and almost all hit the bull and take out the peg and march of with pride and jubilation.

During the Jashn-e-Baharan, the Spring Festival, the tent pegging is a must event - wherein horsemen, usually farmers, after a sucessful harvesting, show their feat of fine horsemanship and tent pegging. The sport of tent pegging is mostly played in the Punjab province, and teams from Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Atoock are famous for the mastery in the sport of tent pegging. Once the famous Horse and Cattle Show held at Fortress Stadium Lahore was one such grand festival where besides many feats by the military police motorcyclists and bands, tent pegging was a regular feature. Now this festival is also part of many other cities during the annual Cattle Market or Mela Maweshian.

Herein under are some of the finest photos of tent pegging, shot and composed by my Flickr friend Asif Saeed, whose other bautiful photos I have shared in my earlier posts. I have tried to put the photos in a chronlogical sequence so as the keep the readers interest alive in this rather long post.

And do not forget to watch a video on tent pegging at the end of the post, Ishared from YouTube. 
Tent Pegging teams clad in colourful dresses and large turbans, mounted on fines horses march into the arena
Before the show begins, there is show march of the tent pegging teams
  
Like the horsemen, the horses too are colourfully decorated with buntings 
The teams line up for the charge in

A tent pegger aligns himself with the pegs, pegged in the ground

Closing on to the peg

Bull Hit: The lance is clearly seen pierced in to the peg - a beautiful shot by Asif Saeed

A proud winner


Now watch a video below I have shared from the YouTube. The video shows the tent pegging team of Lahore Polo Club, shared by Husnain67. Just watch how majestically each player charges into the ground on his beautiful pony, aligning and taking out the peg with grace and joy:


About the photographer: Asif Saeed is a young and enterprising photographer, who takes time out of his professional obligations and travels widely. He has been to every place in Pakistan and has visited many countries. Wherever he goes, he has his camera by his side and even when tired of climbing mountains, he manages to shoot some of the awe inspiring photos.

I have earlier on shared his photos in following posts:

2 comments:

S A J Shirazi said...

Amazing post Jalal. We are so busy in countring what loadshedding and prices hike is doing to us that we have forgotten such royal, regal and manly pursuits that are 'ours'.

Thanks for writing such a post. Nice read.

jalalHB said...

Thank you SAJS

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