The spirit of Karabakh pervades Windsor

The spirit of Karabakh pervades Windsor
15 May 2016

The essence of Karabakh has been represented at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. This extraordinary event took place in the grounds of Windsor Castle to celebrate the 90th birthday of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) organised the Azerbaijani participation in conjunction with the Azerbaijan Equestrian Federation (ARAF).

The event featured 15 glorious Karabakh Horses that have been brought to Windsor on a trip that took two and a half months. It also featured a team of dancers from the Azerbaijan State Song and Dance Ensemble (its named after Fikrat Amirov).

The story of the horses is inextricably connected with the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Sadly, these magnificent beasts can no longer be bred in the area from which they originated, due to the Armenian occupation. Without the courage of their devoted riders and grooms, the horses would undoubtedly have perished during the Armenian invasion in 1993. The horses were led to safety by the stable staff, at great personal risk.

The presence of the horses and dancers is complemented by an Azerbaijani cultural pavilion, from which cay tea, paklava, books and CDs are being distributed, and live music is being performed. This includes a special guest performance by renowned tar player Rafiq Rustamov and the young British-Azerbaijani mugham singer Fidan Hajiyeva, who was previously featured at the BBC Promenade Concerts, having been the final BBC Radio 3 World Routes protégé.

Through the medium of the cultural pavilion, many hundreds of Britons and horse enthusiasts from across the world have learned about Azerbaijan, and about the plight of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions.

During the evening, a magnificent pageant of equestrianism took place, which featured the Azerbaijani trick riders and the dance troupe.

Lionel Zetter, Director, TEAS said: “The presence of the Azerbaijani Karabakh Horse at the Royal Windsor Horse Show is extremely significant. Six decades after Zaman entered the Royal Mews, 15 examples of the breed will be seen dancing and trick-riding. Azerbaijanis are well aware of the significance of the Karabakh. Like hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis, the horses were forced to feel Nagorno-Karabakh by invading Armenian armed forces. I am sure that the horses, like the internally displaced persons, would wish to return to their ancient ancestral lands.”

Bob Blackman MP, Chairman of the Azerbaijan All-Party Parliamentary Group, was in attendance. He said: "Last night I had the honour and pleasure of attending the Royal Windsor Horse Show to celebrate Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday. As part of the celebrations, Azerbaijan has brought 15 majestic Karabakh Horses to perform for Her Majesty at the show. The performance was beautiful and exciting; it was fantastic to see Azerbaijan's national animal on British soil, and very poignant to think that right now these majestic creatures are unable to run in their ancestral lands. We hope that soon, along with the internally displaced persons (IDPs) they will be able to return home."

Back to the list