Personal project "Barefoot jockeys"

34 images Created 16 Oct 2019

Barefoot Jockeys

HORSE racing is part of traditional festival on the island of Sumbawa, 320km from Java and Bali, Indonesia.

Without harness and saddle, a boy mounts the horse barefoot, wearing a toy helmet. The race is open to those aged between six and 10, taking part in a generations-old competition held at the end of rice-harvesting season.

The horse races speed may reach up to 80kph and risky if they fall at high speed.

During the festival, the children might race up to 15 times a day on a different horse during the early round to qualify for the finals. The main prize will be a motorcycle, followed by buffalo, cow and refrigerator.


The horse owner wins the prizes and pays the jockey a fee of around RM15-45, depending on their finish.

Parents enjoy profit from their children’s effort. Some see it as child abuse or exploitation while for locals, child jockeys contribute to the family income in one of the Indonesia’s poorest regions.
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