Turkmenistan to hold 'horse beauty' pageant
The president of Turkmenistan has ordered a beauty pageant where horses will strut their stuff in front of the Central Asian state's leadership, a presidential decree said.
The pageant aims to preserve ancient pure horse breeds, "a pride of the people of Turkmenistan," local media quoted the degree by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov as saying.
Berdymukhamedov will bestow the owner of the winning horse with the Grand Prize while the horse will receive the title of the Most Beautiful Race Horse of the Year.
Turkmenistan, where horses are a national emblem, will also hold competition among carpet and jewelry makers and sculptors, who are encouraged to embody the horse's beauty into art, the decree stated.
The best works are to receive a prize between $1,000 and $3,000.
Turkmenistan, a country of five million people on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea and one of the world's most isolated countries, celebrates the annual horse days in the last week of April.
Berdymukhamedov has ruled Turkmenistan since 2006 when his predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov, famous for erecting a golden statue to himself and renaming months, died.
Berdymukhamedov, who has also been the subject of a budding personality cult, is an avid equestrian who in 2008 penned a book about Turkmen horse breeds.
© 2011 AFP