In some parts of Asia a favorite animal is the water buffalo. It is known for its ability to carry heavy loads, and to walk long distances as it is used for transporting goods and people. It is also an owner's partner for livelihood purposes. It is used primarily to till the farm soil.
After an exhausting day under the sun, it submerges itself into a muddy pool to cool its body ready for another day's work. Little is known that the water buffalo with its large and stocky body built and with a characteristic for a strong stamina and endurance is used for a sports game.
Bets are waged on the water buffalo. To name a few famous games of chance with the animal in focus are:
1.Race to the Finish.
Two or more water buffaloes must race to the finish line. The first to hit the ribbon is the winner. Here the animals are mounted by young teens or adults. They put a rope around the neck to lead the animal so that it does not wander or go astray or dilly dally or play lazy. The rider or mounter must be equally strong and agile and must be able to hold tight to the reins to control the swaying movements of the buffalo otherwise he falls off to the ground to incur an injury. Other riders use a mat to cover the back of the buffalo due to its bony and uneven surface. However, there are those who prefer to ride bareback
The path to the finish line is lined up tied posts that have a string on each end. Attached to this strings are metal rings or plastic rings measuring two inches in diameter. The riders hold a small stick about a foot long and while riding the buffalo, he strings the rings together. The one who gathers all the rings wins. It is to the ability and skill of the rider to control the speed and the direction of the buffalo.
3. Locking of Horns
The most intense game is the locking of horns. Two of the best and strongest animals are groomed to fight each other. A wide space on dirt and unpaved ground is used as the battle ground. It is cordoned to protect the spectators that wage on a water buffalo. From getting too close to the fight grounds. A very strong water buffalo that goes astray can trample on individuals, maiming them or causing major injuries. It is very difficult to control the temperamental nature of the animal especially when it is engaged in a game of fighting for survival.
The main objective of pitting these two animals together is for a bet as to who is the stronger fighter. As each animal meets or rams each other head on their horses interlock. When this happens, the two animals engage in pushing to allow each one to pullhis opponent out of the area or bring him to a total imbalance to the ground. This fight can continue for as long as one is standing up and his opponent seriouslyinjured or his horn broken or dislocated. It could be bloody. The heavyweight and the first head start positioning could win the game. The owners cannot do anything but watch the outcome of the game. The dust that builds up is all part of the game.
Wagers choose the best among the contenders that exhibit sturdiness , built and the ability to withstand long hours of fighting. Sometimes an animal is chosen based on the owner's reputation of how he has groomed his animal for events like this game. The water buffalo is big and the money on stake is big too.