Since ancient times the sheep fighting has been an important part of the Uzbek traditions. There has been no holiday that went without this spectacle. The sheep fighting is an attractive and excitable performance. The spectators boom, whistle and stamp their feet encouraging the contestants.
The animal’s preparation for a fight is similar to that of a professional sportsman, with running and special food and training included. It is also very important to keep the animal clean and maintain a high level of hygiene.
The sheep are brought to a special ground and placed at a distance of 5 m from each other. Their masters make a signal and the sheep run to test the strength of each other’s skull. After a collision, the animals move backwards for a next one. With them it seems to work on some reflexive level, as their masters give them no more signals, only encouraging them with shouts. The sound that results from the collision is low and loud, so that it seems the strikes must inevitably cause brain concussion. However, the sheep’s physiology is such that the blows are damped and inflict no harm to the animal. In natural conditions wild sheep strike each other’s forehead to gain a right to impregnate the best female. After several collisions one of the fighters loses courage and, instead of continuing the contest, walks away, thus admitting its defeat. The winner immediately receives a bright red rug onto its back, and to the applause of the spectators and the master bursting with pride, it leaves the arena.