By Aliya Baitikova
Mahayev Omurbek is a horse breeder on the prosperous collective farm SK “Vetka” — Selsko-hozyaistvennyi Kooperative–in Leninskoe village. Almost 71 years old, he has passed a long way from living in a yurt and riding horses to living in a modern 2-story mansion, driving a jeep car and leading a big friendly family.
Like many traditional Kyrgyz people, the obsession and passion in Omurbek’s life are his horses. It is how he has lived his long and prosperous career on a large farm.
Omurbek’s parents moved to Bishkek in the 1930’s, when there was a famine in Kazakhstan and he has since that time lived in Kyrgyzstan. He was called up to the Soviet army, where he had a good opportunity to stay for work, but declined because he had strong feelings about his homeland and would never change his motherland for any “foreign country.”
He has worked in his local village cooperative for 55 years. His kolkhoz has 276 horses, in addition to numerous bulls and cows. It’s one of the few such farms with such a large number of livestock. The farm’s workers breed thoroughbred saddle horses. They keep a training section in order to prepare for horse races in the region.
Omurbek is proud of his horses, and enjoys telling how many times they have taken first places in Kazakhstan, Issyk-Kul and Bishkek hippodromes which they have achieved many times. Despite the fact that competitors from Kazakhstan are sometimes stronger, because they have better conditions and foreign riders, however Omurbek breeds local horses with excellent results and is widely recognized for his expertise and skill in horse breeding.
Our hero not only knows all of the names of his horses, but also their pedigrees and health condition by memory. He treats his horses like own children, rejoicing at the arrival of newborn colts; the race victories, and even sadly grieving their eventual deaths.
His love for horses is whole-hearted, and hard to imagine in modern times. His house is full of stallion statutes and their images on patterns and carpets. He even watches TV only if he notices horses, which immediately catches his attention.
Once his horses took a part In the film of famous producer Bolot Shamshiev “Precocious Cranes” in a production of Chyngyz Aitmatov.
From the very beginning, Omurbek started to deal with sheep at the age of 16, when he was a simple cattleman. After 22, he became a livestock breeder. He has was given the distinction of the title as an honorable worker of SK Vetka. There are only six such workers at the large farm.
Horses are the Passion of His Life
By Aliya Baitikova