1st DavOr Horse Show and Competition gallops high

Photo by Ace June Rell Perez.
Photo by Ace June Rell Perez.

I REMEMBER whenever I’m required to wear a costume on whatever party or event I’m attending, I’d always choose a cowboy wear. Why? It looks good and cool.

Yes, I just knew it’s cool but I didn’t really have a small knowledge about horse riding as a sport or leisure. Actually, I didn’t even have a chance to witness a horse riding race and/or show until last June 29, 2018 when the province of Davao Oriental organized the first-ever Horse Show and Competition at the Davao Oriental Sports Complex, Dahican, Mati City.

To be honest, I never had that much interest prior the event. I just knew I need to be there to cover the activity as it is one of the highlights of the province’s 51st founding anniversary.

But to my surprise, I find the activity fun and moving. Watching horsemen of various ages, as young as nine-year old, leading and riding to the speed and rhythm of their horses made me realize that the sport is way cooler than just the costumes. I could only imagine the energy and force exerted by the horsemen while leading their horses who are stronger than multiple persons combined.

Watching them made me also think that this sports needs strong and deep relationship between the horseman and the horse.

The funniest and somehow scary part of my experience was when one horse went astray from the racing line and went towards my direction, where I was busy taking photos. I ran fast, holding my camera and dear life together while chased by the horse for seconds. Luckily, the horse stopped after tamed by his/her care taker.

Lesson learned: always take safety first while covering extreme sports like horse riding.

While the show was on going, we had the chance to interview Governor Nelson Dayanghirang where he emphasized that the activity is to boost agri-tourism and give appreciation to Davao Oriental’s history of transportation.

“If we look back, one of the means of transportation for Davao Oriental is the horses. Now, because we are too modern, it seems that people forget about it, so we want to recall our history, remind our people, especially the young generation that this is our way of life before,” he said adding the activity also promotes animal welfare.

The governor, who rode a horse himself, led the lighting of the cauldron, signalling the start of the competition. He also disclosed the plan of organizing a horse club in the province.

Doctor Eric Dagmang, provincial veterinarian, in a separate interview shared horses do not only serve as means of transportation to people, it’s also a way of transporting agricultural products and goods from far-flung areas to the market sustaining the living of the farmers.

“In fact, we still have few areas in the province where horses are still used as transporting goods,” Dagmang said enumerating the barangays of Don Camar in Lupon; Sanghay and Kulian in Mati City; and Manay town, among others.

The event has gathered 150 delegates, 80 riders, and 50 horses of different breed from nine horsemen clubs around the country.

President of the Philippine Horsemen Federation and charter president of the Davao Horse Club lawyer Gerry Olaguer said majority of the federation’s member clubs joined the activity.

The participating clubs include: Malaybalay Horsemen Association; Misamis Oriental-Bukidnon Horsemen Association; Agusan del Sur Horsemen Association; DavSur Horsemen Association; CDO Horsemen Association; Davao Horse Club; Manayboro Horsemen; Marfori Rachers Mati Horsemen; and Visayas Horse Men Association.

“We hope that this kind of event will not be happening only in Davao Oriental, we hope that other provinces in the country will also do the same,” he said.

The event featured barrel race, obstacle race, and oval race.

Following the success of the first event, the government has plans of making the horse show and competition a regular activity.

If this plan pushes through, well, I’m expecting myself to witness such fun event annually.


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