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|XINING Alexander Radulov Womens Jersey , Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- As the year of the horse draws near, Zhabnam is particularly nostalgic of his old home on the pastureland and the six horses he cherished as family members.
He moved from the Batang grasslands to Gyegu town in Yushu County, a Tibetan community in northwest China's Qinghai Province, in 2003, in response to the government's call for pastureland restoration.
His horses were left to his relatives who chose to stay on the grassland. "I never saw those animals again. Some died while the others were returned to the wilderness."
Until the early 1990s, horses were a major means of transportation for Tibetan herders in Yushu. Zhabnam and his friends used to herd their cattle on horseback at daybreak, and return to their nomadic tents after dark.
"The pleasure of riding on horseback and feeling the wind whipping on your face is incomparable to sitting in any fast car Ben Bishop Womens Jersey ," said Zhabnam, now 57. Many Tibetans just use one name.
Towards the year 2000, motorbikes began replacing horses among the younger generation of herders, who preferred the vehicles, which cost about the same price as a horse but were faster.
By 2009, a highway and an airport linked Zhabnam's ancestral home on the grassland with the outside world, and a drive from Gyegu town to his birthplace took only 30 minutes. "We used to cover the same distance in five hours on horseback."
But Zhabnam still misses his horses and nomadic life on the pastureland Stephen Johns Womens Jersey , and often stares at the bronze statue of the mythical King Gesar on horseback, a landmark erected on a square at the center of Gyegu town.
He hopes the year of the horse will help revive equine culture.
While the Chinese New Year of the Horse begins on Friday, Tibetans will welcome in the wood horse year of the Tibetan calendar in early March.
"Horses were inseparable companions of Tibetans, but nowadays they have fallen out of favor with most people," Zhabnam said.
Figures released by Ministry of Agriculture show China's equine population shrank by 37.2 percent between 1977 and 2006, the latest time that data was available.
Even in the herding areas of western China, horses have become a burden because they do not sell easily and eat at least three times as much as sheep.
In Yushu's Zhidoi County Brett Ritchie Womens Jersey , a stallion sometimes sells for only 700 yuan, compared with 10,000 yuan back in the late 1990s.
Zhabnam heard that many horses in Yushu were sold to inland provinces. "Some people say these horses were slaughtered and sold by dishonest dealers as beef to grocery markets."
The annual horse race across Yushu Prefecture, however, is the most festive occasion for Zhabnam. The race, which takes place every summer, draws more than 100 Esa Lindell Womens Jersey ,000 riders and audience with riding stunts, traditional costumes and Tibetan-style singing and dancing.
The champion in the race often receives cash prizes ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 yuan.
With such rewards on offer, some young Tibetan herders are willing to become professional horse riders.
Sonam Tashi, 21, earned more than 30 Tyler Pitlick Womens Jersey ,000 yuan by attending 26 horse races across Yushu Prefecture last summer.
Horse races have also helped create new jobs among Tibetans. In Xangda county, 12 housewives have opened a workshop producing saddles, halters, horsewhips as well as headgear and shawls for riders.
"People like traditional stuff," said Padma Thinco, the woman who founded the workshop in October. "In fact, few young people are able to make these traditional items Devin Shore Womens Jersey , and we hope the workmanship will survive."
She said the workshop had received 100,000 yuan worth of orders in three months.
"Horse races will remain an important pastime for Tibetans, as it conveys their nostalgia of the pastureland and the way their ancestors lived and worked," said Nyima Gyatso, a Tibetan folk culture specialist and curator of Yushu Prefecture Museum.
But the curator did not think horse races alone could help revive Tibetan equine culture. "Horses are no longer a must in the Tibetan's daily life. After all, life is getting better, and few people would reject modernization."
WELLINGTON Mattias Janmark Womens Jersey , July 1 (Xinhua) -- New Zealanders are being invited to submit a badge design for the Royal New Zealand Navy's (RNZN) newest and largest-ever ship, HMNZS Aotearoa.
"This is a unique opportunity for all New Zealanders to play a part in how their ship will be presented to the world," Minister of Defence Mark Mitchell said in a release on Saturday.
"It's a chance for Kiwis to create an enduring piece of Navy history," Mitchell said.
The competition to design a badge for HMNZS Aotearoa, which is scheduled to be added to the RNZN fleet in January 2020, begins on Saturday.
Aotearoa will be the Navy's new maritime sustainment vessel and fleet tanker, replacing HMNZS Endeavour Radek Faksa Womens Jersey , and will also enhance combat operational capability, provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief and support monitoring operations in the Southern Ocean, Mitchell said.
A Navy ship's badge reflects the name of a ship and the role it performs. It needs to be simple yet striking. The competition will close on Dec. 1, he said.
The winning design will be selected by the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral John Martin, and announced on Waitangi Day next year.
The winner will be presented with the finished and mounted badge of Aotearoa and will also get a tour of the Devonport Naval Base and have a sea ride around the harbor on a Navy ship, Mitchell said John Klingberg Womens Jersey , adding that once the Navy takes delivery of Aotearoa, the winner will also spend a night on the ship on a leg of her New Zealand sea trials.
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