Moroccan women riders steal men’s glory

9 08 2006


By Oumnia Guedda

Seized by their passion for “fantasia”, young Moroccan women, wearing pink clothes, ride their horses with rifles in hands for a breath-taking show.

Despite the inconvenience of dust and heat, enthusiastic spectators impatiently wait for the entry of the women riders, those who steal the glory of the “fantasia” formerly limited to men.

Moulay Abdellah Amghar (10 km from El Jadida), hosting the “fantasia” moussem, is animated by the sounds of gun shot. People who are still attached to this cultural heritage flock to the town to applaud these knights riding their horses with pride and courage.

Despite the inconvenience of dust and heat, enthusiastic spectators impatiently wait for the entry of the women riders, those who steal the glory of the “fantasia” formerly limited to men.

The riders are granted an entry to the scene proper to stars thanks to the applause of the excited public. When they succeed a perfectly synchronized shooting, they are lengthily applauded.

According to the head of the troupe, Zahia Abou Layt, the “fantasia” gives her incomparable feelings.

Aged 21, Abou Layt has inherited her passion for “fantasia” from her father, as she used to observe him riding along with the members of his tribe, Oulad Oumrane.

Her first experience with horse riding was at the age of 14. She begged her father to let her participate in the show, and since then has never quitted her horse.

Being a teacher in the Haha region, her profession represents a handicap to practising her passion, as according to her “a good rider must be in perfect symbiosis with his horse.”

This did not prevent her from leading her troupe last June in Dar Essalam during the National Fantasia Championship.

“Nothing can prevent me from practising this ancestral heritage which I will undoubtedly transmit to my male and female children,” affirmed Abou Layt.

Meanwhile, she has indeed transmitted this fervour to her 14-year-old sister, who joined the troupe a year ago.

Mustapha Abou Layt, Zahia’s father, does not hide his satisfaction over his daughter’s performances.

For this farmer, who has no boys, the horse is an inestimable treasure and the “t’bourida” (horse-riding and shooting) is a necessity ingrained in his family from father to son, and now to daughter.

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30 03 2007
Fighting gender discrimination in Yemen « Bridlepath

[…] Moroccan women riders steal men’s glory […]

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