The island of Sumbawa is very scenic. For centuries the island has been divided between two distinct ethnics. The western side of the island was called Sumbawa for it belonged to the Sumbawanese people. They came from Lombok and resemble the Sasak people. The East was called Bima for the Bimanese people who resided mainly on the Tambora peninsula, and were similar to the Flores people.
There is a local culture passed down from one generation to another, known as “Main Jaran”. It is a horserace, but what makes it unique is that the jockey is a child. ThE Main Jaran is a traditional horse race held in Sumbawa Regency and Bima Regency with 9 to 15 years old jockeys. This race is generally held during special occasion’s such as the Independence Day, the Idul Fitri or other religious festivities. The event itself is a favorite game among the Sumbawa people and it also attracts people from neighbouring island. Horserace can be found anywhere else, but those little jockeys can only be found in a horserace in Sumbawa.
The tradition of horse racing in Sumbawa in the West Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia, has existed for as long as residents here can remember. But the riders are no ordinary jockeys – they are children who, from as young as three, race the animals at 80kmh down dirt tracks for sport and prize.
Horse racing, known as main jaran in Bahasa Indonesia, has come a long way since its early days, when it was a traditional sport between neighbours. If we looked back about the history of the “Main Jaran”, horse had been used for hunting by the people of Sumbawa. Later during the Dutch colonial times, the horserace event was arranged to celebrate a high ranked Dutch officer birthday party. As time goes by it had become a regular event to the people of Sumbawa.
The difference now is that the safety aspect is highly regarded. Some of the race rules are also well organized these days; such the horse class is divided in according to the horse size. The highest class is known as “kelas Dewasa” is where the bigger and faster horse race that adds up the excitement to the event.
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