Frederik Buyckx, Horse Head
Horse Head is about the semi-nomadic lifestyle in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan has always been a nation of horsemen and has rich nomadic heritage and traditions that have been woven into the identity of the Kyrgyz people. During summer months, many families continue to graze their herds in mountain meadows, called jailoos, preserving old customs and ways of nomadic life. In winter the shepherds and their livestock have to deal with incredible harsh weather conditions in the mostly mountainous terrain. Most winter evenings these days are spent in front of a television and the warmth of an always-burning stove. And although even the isolated areas often have cellphone reception nowadays, most of their daily life hasn’t changed much in the last decades. The horse has always had a central role in their semi-nomadic life. It is crucial to herd their animals in the mountains and the horse is also indispensable for its milk and meat. Also the Kyrgyz like to spend their leisure time on the back of a horse and they often play games in which horsemanship dominates all competitions, like Kok Boru in which teams on horse fight over a carcass of a sheep.