Dozens of horses race on Sidon beach to preserve traditional sport

Dozens of horses race on Sidon beach to preserve traditional sport

Mohammed Zaatari| The Daily Star
SIDON, Lebanon: Dozens of horses and their owners took to Sidon’s public beach Sunday to compete in the southern city’s third annual horse race, as part of what organizers say is an effort to preserve traditional pastimes. A handful of the horsemen donned helmets and riding boots – others simply showed up in jeans and T-shirts, braving Sunday’s windy seaside racing conditions with no gear to protect them in the event of a fall. At least one rider had no saddle or shoes. Dozens of onlookers watched from a nearby sandbank.

Race organizers, who included Sidon Mayor Mohammad al-Saudi, said the competition was revitalizing a deep-rooted Lebanese love of equestrian sports.

Horsemanship “has become an authentic sport in Sidon and its [surrounding] area, where ancient equestrian clubs have been in place for years,” Al-Haj al-Shammas, head of the city’s municipal sports committee, said at the ceremony Sunday.

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