Horse sport competition “kopkari” or “uloq” is equally close to all Turk speaking nations of the region such as Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kopkari gameKyrgyz, and Turkmen. Kopkari is the competition of horsemen. It is usually held in honour of big holidays or weddings at the end of the feast. Kopkari is struggle, that is lead by a skilled horseman to win the race with certain conditions. Usually in the kopkari competition the referee throws to the middle of the pitch carcass of the goat filled with salt which is called uloq.
This carcass is pressed by horseman’s leg to saddle. Horseman should race through his rivals in the pitch and be first to bring the carcass to the appointed spot. Horsemen can compete in groups and divide the prize among each other. The prizes can be a TV, a carpet, national overcoat, a cattle or some amount of money. The most nimble dzhigit (skilled horseman) on a strong and swift-footed horse picks up the thrown goat. As a rule he is surrounded by friends or fellow-villagers to protect and assist him from the competitors till the finish line. Horsemen handed down the secrets of correct feeding and training of fast horses across the generations.
During the World War II some horses trained for racing in kopkari made incredible deeds. However, kopkari is a peaceful game which has played a significant role in the education and formation of strong men. At present it is still organized in several districts of Kashkadarya, Surkhandarya, Samarkand and Bukhara regions. It has become a good tradition to organize the kopkari on the conventions of farmers, gardeners, cotton growers, Navruz holiday as well as in harvest festivals.
The traditions of old horsemen and runners is being restored again. This is very important that one of the ancient interesting game traditions is revived and is experiencing a new stage of its development.