/ 2018 / Press / Sports
Indonesia, Sumbawa Island. The unique features of Sumbawa
racing are the notoriously small horses and fearless child
jockeys, aged 5-10, who mount bareback, barefoot and with
little protective gear racing at speeds of up to 80 kms per hour.
Their only protection is the « Sandro », a spiritual healer who
protects young jockeys by performing elaborate rituals and
guiding them in training. Maen Jaran (the Indonesian name of
the game) takes place during important festivals and holidays
throughout the year at racetracks across the island and
remains a favorite pastime for Sumbawans. Rules have evolved,
horses are now classified by age and height, yet kid jockeys
continue to risk their lives for 3,50 to 7 euros per mount often
racing 5 to 6 times a day for a week, pushed by parents and
relatives given the potential earnings that far outweigh the poor
returns on crops often plagued by drought.