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August 17, 2017

Jockeying for position from a VERY early age: Children as young as FIVE compete in 50mph traditional Indonesian horse race


The horses reach speeds of up to 50mph as their child jockeys race them around the mile-long oval track

Child horse racing is part of traditional festival on Sumbawa Island, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

The young jockeys ride bareback and risk injury and even death if they fall off the horse at high speed

The horses burst forward, kicking up clouds of dust as the starting gate opens to the cheers of spectators – but this is no ordinary race.

Children as young as five risk severe injury and even their lives as they gallop around racetracks at speeds of up to 50mph on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa.

Most of the youngsters ride bareback, desperately holding onto makeshift reins, many without helmets to protect them if they fall off during the hotly contested races around a mile-long, oval track.

To locals, horse racing or ‘pacoa jara’ is inseparable from life with young boys taught to ride from an early age and entered into the annual races from the age of five.

Each equine festival lasts from eight to ten days with hundreds of horses and riders participating in the traditional races.

The horses are small, often standing at about four feet tall to suit their equally small riders.

During the racing season, the children might get in the saddle up to 15 times a day, making between 50,000-100,000 Rupiah (£3-£6) per race, depending on how they finish.

Despite its obvious dangers, the regional government sees the Moyo festival as part of a tradition that needs to be preserved. A blind eye is eventurned to the betting, which is technically illegal in Indonesia.

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