Monday, June 04, 2007

The Travels of Dan Moore, III

The Travels of Dan Moore, III -- Dan's at it again, and now appear in local living color 4 tough guys in a Mercedes and "The Terrible Game," the latter of which may have parallels in the VC world; Gloria and I just returned from the annual meeting of the Cleveland Foundation, and there may be parallels in nonprofit funding as well.

We left the hotel in Issyk-Kul Kyrgyzstan region and rode up into the mountains, into foothills that amounted to high summer pastures for shepherds. There was snow up high in the mountains. We reached an altitude of about 7,000 feet and then visited a shepherd family. They put on a display of horsemanship that was quite interesting and reminiscent of a book that my father wrote years ago called The Terrible Game. In it he described a game called the terrible game of ott (horse). Among other activities, they slaughtered a goat, cut off its head and hooves and then divided up into teams and tried to get the goat carcass into the other person’s goal – there really were no apparent rules – the trick was to pick the carcass up off the ground, tuck the goat under your leg and then gallop away with other people pursuing and grabbing the goat. The leg is stronger than the arm, so possession was the key. There was a lot of pushing and pulling with horses shoving into each other and shouts of glee. The participants were not like the ones that George Crile has witnessed in Afghanistan – grown men with aggressive horses and aggressive ponies. These were younger men, probably the oldest was 30 and the horses were not bred for just this game. When their game was over, the three of us took on their winning team and got badly trounced but it was an absolutely exhilarating exercise. It was like wrestling in many respects, but also involved strategy with the main trick being to separate your attackers from the leader holding your sheep with your horse, driving the defenders away. It was a real workout and I am sore all over with a number of black and blue marks

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