AROUND SLOVAKIA

Teamsters show off their skills

COMPETITIONS demonstrating teamsters’ skills seem to be gaining popularity in Slovakia. Several competitions are scheduled each year here. Teamsters, or draymen, drove the wagons or carriages originally pulled by oxen and then later by horses, to transport goods and sometimes people along trading routes. They were the predecessors of today’s truck drivers.

Pavol Kitaš rides backwards "into the yard" in the Dobšiná competition.Pavol Kitaš rides backwards "into the yard" in the Dobšiná competition. (Source: TASR)

COMPETITIONS demonstrating teamsters’ skills seem to be gaining popularity in Slovakia. Several competitions are scheduled each year here. Teamsters, or draymen, drove the wagons or carriages originally pulled by oxen and then later by horses, to transport goods and sometimes people along trading routes. They were the predecessors of today’s truck drivers.

The workhorses that pulled these carriages were very different from today’s thoroughbred racehorses – and managing them required different skills, not to mention great strength.

On the weekend of May 18, an international competition of teamsters took place in Dobšiná, offering contests in several disciplines, including teamsters’ slalom, reverse walking (backing horses into a yard) and heavy pulling, the TASR newswire wrote. More than actual races, the competition is a demonstration of skills as the rival teamsters show their control of the horses.

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