ONE OF this year’s first workhorse competitions has already taken place in the village of Vitanová in Orava region with 14 horses competing in three disciplines. In the first, the charioteers’ show-jumping course, the drivers showed their teamwork with the animals in this event on a half kilometre track. In the second event, the horses and humans completed a slalom course pulling a 10-metre tree trunk. In the third competition, called strongman, they pulled far heavier trunks in pairs.
The municipalities of Hladovka, Vitanová and Čimhová in the Tvrdošín District of upper Orava have a joint project of cross-border cooperation with the Polish municipality of Raciechowice. They are using resources from the European Fund for Regional Development to finance a year-round series of cultural and social events. “There is almost no language barrier between us; we are very close to each other historically and culturally,” Mária Kendralová, the mayor of Hladovka, told the TASR newswire.
On the weekend of February 14, the jubilee 10th year of volunteering in “disposing of the feathers” was held, accompanied by baking doughnuts, cooking Slovak “knedle” (steamed bread) and a masquerade. About 100 local women and about 30 women from Raciechowice took part. On the weekend of February 20, the race of carriers, men who used to transport wood from forests, and other large items, with teams of horses, was held in Vitanová.
“The ancient tradition of work with horses in forests has naturally placed the premiere of this event in our community,” said Štefan Ondrík, the mayor. “Polish carriers and their animals have shown their artistry, too. We want to involve as many residents as possible in these activities,” said Kendralová.
Even though the weather was not very welcoming, hundreds of visitors and locals enjoyed this rare view of workhorses competing in rough conditions. This first event in Vitanová, called The Feast of the Carrier (Sviatok furmana), was organised by the local government together with the Association of Horse Breeders and local enthusiasts led by Daniel Gnida, the Sme daily wrote, noting that in some Slovak villages, this kind of competition has a long tradition. Only contestants with a pair of horses were permitted to participate in the competition. The competitors came mostly from Orava region but some were from other parts of Slovakia. Two carriers from the Polish town of Raciechowice did not compete but they attracted much attention with their well-adorned coaches.
1. Mar 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff