Since ancient times, the game has been popular in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Mongolia.
Nomadic tribes were the first to play Buzkashi. Over time, it became popular among settled tribes. Originally it was a preparation for future warriors and resembles polo on horses. The difference is that a goat carcass is used instead of a ball.
The carcass, where the head and parts of the limbs are cut off, usually weighs about 15-20kg, sometimes more. The rules vary from country to country, but basically, athletes from two competing teams of about 5-10 persons each have to lift the carcass off the ground or take it away from the opponents and bring it into the goal as often as possible. The playing field length from goal to goal is about 800-1000 meters, with a width of about 20-30 meters. At the beginning of the game and after each “goal”, the goat’s carcass is placed in the middle of the field. Players can take the carcass from their opponents, throw it and pass it to other players. However, players cannot tie the corpse to themselves or the saddle. Furthermore, the opponents’ horses may not be frightened, held, whipped or knocked down.
Nowadays, in all countries of Central Asia, Buzkashi competitions are held on the Nawruz holiday.
On the initiative of Almazbek Atambayev, the former president of Kyrgyzstan, the World Nomad Games have been held every two years since 2014 in a specially constructed stadium on Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan. One of the most popular sports at these games is Buzkashi.