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There Came a Command: “Saddle the Horses!” (The V literary ethnographic holiday in Vyoshenskaya)

07.05.2018

On Sunday, May 6, 2018, a literary ethnographic holiday “Steed is the Dearest for Cossack. Battle Arts of Vyoshenskaya” took place at the Stables of the Museum-Reserve of M.A.Sholokhov and at the racecourse near it. The holiday was dedicated to the coming Victory Day and the birthday of M.A.Sholokhov.

In the morning, team competitions on Cossack pentathlon began. They included bullet shooting, hitting the target with a spear and knife, slashing of rods and of a moving target. At once, the teams joined in the struggle for primacy.

Nearby, individual volunteers showed their mastery in lassoing, slashing of rods, hitting the mark with a colour ball from the catapult in the form of a huge slingshot. At the same time, other, more professional archers competed to become equal to legendary Robin Hood.

The Museum Stables were very busy: the visitors were shown round the stalls, saddlery and other rooms and paddocks, while the horses and ponies gave a pleasure ride on horseback and in carriages for children and adults. Some of the guests were boating about Tsaryov Lake situated in the south-west of the Stables. Herein, carriages and sledges were exhibited for the visitors. Nearby there were exhibitions of real art: an exhibition of paintings by the artist A.A.Shchebunyayev “Cossacks in the World of the Artist” and an exhibition of the past years’ postcards presented to M.A.Sholokhov by the grateful readers.

Different games and workshops were organized for children at the playground.

By the famous makeshift well, there was seen a queue of those who wanted to be photographed wearing a Cossack outfit for memory about the old times and about the new holiday.

The children were involved into an adventure game “Daring Little Cossacks”. The most resolute guys were offered “to cross the swamp”, “to go through the labyrinth”, to walk on a swaying log and bridge, and while walking to solve a series of puzzles. Of course, there were daredevils who overcame all the obstacles and were praised with a special seal.

The holiday was accompanied by good Cossack songs performed by the best Upper Don Cossack ensembles.

Then, a long-awaited appearance of horse-riders announced the main events of the holiday. The public was greeted on the holiday and on the coming Victory Day by A.M.Sholokhov, Head of the Cultural Committee of the RF State Duma, and M.V.Korneyev, Deputy Head of the Rostov Region Administration.

The artistic ethnographic composition revealed the most important Cossack tradition – on the first call to stand out to defend our Motherland. It was called “The enemy only moves, our Cossack is already on horseback…” The viewers were shown scenes from Cossack military life: alarm, mobilization, patriotic inspiration, Cossack drift attack, battle techniques at full galloping and overcoming obstacles while on horseback. As before, the Cossack racing shows old fame, boldness and mettle.

Young horsemen, residents and guests from the Voronezh Region, showed their wonderful skills. The public particularly admired Alexandra Zhukova, who showed vaulting and challenging exercises on horseback. The cadets of the “Dontsy-Vyoshentsy” association demonstrated their mastery in Cossack lance and sabre wielding.

The results of the competition program were announced by L.N.Tutova, Deputy Head of the RF Duma Committee for Education and Science, A.N.Palatny, Director of the Rostov Region Department for Cossack Affairs and O.A.Anistratenko, Director of the Museum-Reserve of M.A.Sholokhov. The winners were awarded.

In conclusion, the Museum and guest horsemen demonstrated complex elements of fancy riding: slashing of rods, of a stationary target, picking up rings from the ground with a lance or a sabre. Also, they rode standing on two and even on four horses, jumped over the barrier; in front of the spectators they built first a 2-tier pyramid, then a 3-tier one!

An old Cossack song goes that “a good horse is all our happiness”, and true heirs of the Cossacks mustn’t forget these words!

 

Alexey Kochetov