The village headman of Ban Thamniab Stadium in Narathiwat Province has joined forces with local villagers to organize the highly anticipated 2nd speed-type horse racing event. Journalists flocked to the edge of the field to witness the thrilling equestrian competition program. What was once a new and emerging sport is now gaining immense popularity among enthusiasts.
Horseback riding has evolved into a sport that showcases the harmonious partnership between humans and horses. Both rider and horse need to possess strength, both physically and mentally, to establish a deep connection. Only a select few skilled riders are permitted to participate, ensuring that equestrian athletes possess a robust physique and maintain a healthy weight to avoid burdening the horses. Effective horse control demands significant strength from the rider. Moreover, riders must intimately understand the gestures, habits, and expressions of their horses, establishing a bond that extends beyond mere physicality. While the risks of falling and sustaining injuries exist, comprehensive preparation mitigates such dangers.
Unfortunately, horseback riding has struggled to captivate the younger generation, as children and teenagers increasingly prioritize their mobile phones, becoming immersed in the digital world. Additionally, some individuals succumb to the temptations of drugs or engage in unproductive activities. In response to this concern, the village headman and villagers proactively collaborated to address these issues. Together, they formed groups and initiated dialogue last year, seeking solutions and working towards common goals.
Through collective effort, many households within the village started raising horses. Consequently, they organized a speed race horse event, open to children and adults from the village and neighboring provinces. The inaugural event took place last year, and this year marked the eagerly awaited 2nd edition. Participants from five provinces (Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Songkhla, and Satun) as well as neighboring Malaysia flocked to apply, resulting in a remarkable turnout of 150 people and horses. The event garnered significantly more attention than the previous year, transforming equestrian sports from a rarely seen activity into a popular and captivating spectacle. Anticipation for next year’s event is already mounting, with hopes of attracting attention from various regions across Thailand.
Mr. Abdulhaleng Chete, the headman of Ban Thamnanab, shared the objectives behind organizing the horse racing event for the second time in the five southern border provinces. Their primary aim is to introduce the locals in Narathiwat to horses and showcase the numerous benefits associated with horse riding. The event not only promotes horse riding as a means of transportation during times of soaring oil prices but also serves as a catalyst for tourism. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of equestrian competitions and encourages people to engage in beneficial physical exercise, as horseback riding burns a substantial number of calories.
The competition is divided into four classes based on the height of the horses: Class 1 for horses not exceeding 120 centimeters, Class 2 for horses not exceeding 128 centimeters, Class 3 for horses not exceeding 138 centimeters, and Class 4 for horses not exceeding 139 centimeters. The first prize is set at 2,000 baht, while the second, third, and fourth prizes amount to 1,500, 1,000, and 500 baht, respectively. The stage is set for a remarkable display of speed and skill as participants from various regions gather to compete in this exhilarating equestrian event.