Thousands cheer on horses in Bosnia
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[April 24, 2019]
By Dado Ruvic
SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Several thousand
people flocked to a private arena in northwest Bosnia on Saturday to
cheer on their favorite horses during a traditional pre-Easter
The twice-yearly Straparijada event in which pairs of horses compete in
strength hauling heavy logs along a 100-metre track draws fans from
across the Balkan country and neighboring Serbia and Croatia.
"I have been working in the forest with the draft horses for the past 10
years and spend all my spare time after work training them," said Djurac
Galic from the nearby town of Bosanski Petrovac, celebrating his second
The horses compete in three different categories depending on the weight
they haul, with the heaviest logs weighing about two tonnes. Folk
singers entertain the mainly male visitors while they enjoy roast lamb
on a stick, a Bosnian specialty.
Samir Alicic, the driving force behind the organization of the first
Straparijada in 2012 in Izacic near the Croatian border, said he
invested his own money and effort to build the racing arena and
Authorities in the regional center have recognized Alicic for his
contribution to the sport and to tourism.
But organizations for the protection of animals have called for the
contests to be banned, saying the horses experience pain, injury and
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A competitor pushes his horses during "Straparijada", an event in
which horses compete in strength hauling heavy logs, in Izacic, near
Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina, April 20, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
Alicic and Galic both dismissed their concerns, saying a law introduced
several years ago has prohibited whipping or beating of the animals and
introduced fines for violations. A veterinary inspector checks all the
animals in each race.
"A horse who does not want to pull logs will give up," Galic said.
"There is nothing wrong with this contest."
(Writing by by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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