Indonesia’s child jockeys brave danger for cash and glory



REUTERS

Published — Sunday 25 November 2012

Last update 25 November 2012 5:50 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

BAREBACK jockey Herman Sarifudin guides his horse into the starting box for a race on Indonesia’s Sumbawa island. The gate springs open and the horse bolts with Sarifudin clinging on for dear life.
Sarifudin is eight years old.
He’s one of dozens of children taking part in the races. The horses are small, often standing just 1.20 meters (4 feet) tall. But even so, fathers have to help their children clamber on to them.
Sarifudin competed this week in a race against five other children around a dusty, oval track of 1,400 meters (nearly one mile) near Bima town. His reward, if he wins, is a handful of cash for his family, and the glory for him.
He was nervous before the race but once it got going, he and the other barefoot riders looked in control, urging their horses forward with a flick of a switch to the flanks.
In the end, Sarifudin came in third. He told Reuters he felt drained.
Mohammad Amin is a district government official who keeps horses as a hobby. He has 12 of them.
The children are light, that’s why they’re the jockeys, he explains.
“Children learn to ride horses from the age of five,” he said.
About 2,000 cheering spectators crowded around the track.
Hami, a grandfather, was desperate to sell off his nearly new Nokia mobile telephone phone so he could put some money down.
Haji Sukri, 45, chairman of the race organizing team scoffed at the danger. The children were all skilful riders and none had been killed, and none seriously hurt, he said.
One child toppled off on to the dusty track at a recent race. His father quickly picked him up and carried him off, in tears.
“It’s OK to fall off a horse,” said taxi driver Irwansyah.
“My concern is that they should be in school, not racing horses. They can miss school for 10 days for just one event.”
The races have been held at the end of the rice-harvesting season ever since anyone can remember.
Horses are used throughout Indonesia, an archipelago of about 17,000 islands that straddles the equator, more often for pulling carts and buggies than for riding.
This year, the races near Bima lasted for 11 days and attracted nearly 600 horses, many from the nearby islands of Sumba, Bali, Lombok and Flores.
The grand prize was one million rupiah ($ 100). Those who win their groups get two cows.
One of the young stars this year was 11-year-old Mohammad Endiansyah, known as Endi, who has taken a two-month break from school for the racing season.
The punters say he’s a great rider, an expert at handling the horses. His father, Asikin, said he earned 15 million rupiah ($ 1,500) in the last two months from different races.
“A horse is like a friend,” Endi said. “I’ve fallen, been sick and cried but no horse has ever stepped on me.”
Endhi said he wanted to be a policeman when he grows up.
“But I’d also like to be a professional jockey,” he said. ($ 1 = 9,633.0000 rupiah)

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Ministry of Education (MoE) has allocated over 180 clinics for schools in Riyadh and directed all its departments across the Kingdom to recruit health advisers at schools with more than 100 students.Work has already started on introducing...
RIYADH: The Moroccan experience in desert tourism is largely similar to that of Saudi Arabia, which boasts of a unique diversity in culture in its different regions, Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National...
JAZAN: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the advanced field hospital of the Armed Forces in Jazan on Tuesday.He was reassured about the injured in the ongoing battle. He conveyed the greetings of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King S...
JEDDAH: The planned “North Thunder” military exercise is a clear message to Iran and the countries in the region it supports that any hostile intentions and actions will be firmly dealt with, an expert has said.The military drill is scheduled to be h...
RIYADH: Syrian conjoined twins will be separated at the King Abdullah Specialist Children’s Hospital at the King Abdul Aziz Medical City (KAMC) in Riyadh on Sunday.According to a KAMC spokesman, the forthcoming surgery will be the fourth and final st...
JEDDAH: Education Minister Ahmed Al-Issa has issued an order to establish a department for school security. It will be be linked organizationally to the general supervisor of school safety and security at the ministry.According to the decision, schoo...
JEDDAH: From delivering mails for Saudi Aramco to captaining Saudi Arabian Airlines’ first flight to New York, Jazza Al-Shammari’s career story is unique.“I started my career as a postman with Saudi Aramco in 1959 and continued the primary studies at...
RIYADH: A team of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center (KFSHRC) has identified a gene responsible for cardiomyopathy.Dr. Zuhair bin Nasser Al-Hasnan, KFSHRC medical genetics consultant, said the team conducted a study on a Saudi...
JEDDAH: The Pakistan Welfare Society (PWS) organized a free medical camp and discussion on health for women at the Pakistani Consulate recently.Doctors and specialists diagnosed patients and distributed free medicines to needy patients, and arranged...
JEDDAH: Yemen Vice President and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah has thanked Saudi Arabia for standing by his country during tough times.Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Tuesday, he said: “Our GCC brothers, particularly Saudi Arabia, s...
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia joined the rest of the world in intensifying public awareness on cancer with activities spread over the week supporting the global cause that aims to save millions of lives every year by raising awareness and education about the...
RIYADH: Chairman of ACWA Power International Mohammed Abu Nayyan thanked King Mohammed VI of Morocco for personally inaugurating Morocco’s first solar power plant, Noor1, built by an international consortium led by his company.“We were extremely priv...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Health is considering imposing an asset declaration as well as an absence of interest conflict testimony on its employees as a measure in fighting corruption.Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih made the announcement at a one-day f...
DAMMAM: Abdussalam Kanniyan, chairman of the International Indian School in Dammam (IISD), has been honored with the “Person of the Year 2015” award by Vatakara NRI Forum, a community group in the Eastern Province.The award was based on his outstandi...
RIYADH: Andrej Plenkovic, the leader of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee delegation, on Tuesday hailed Saudi Arabia for its yeoman services in looking after the displaced Syrians in countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.“We fu...

Stay Connected

Facebook