To the Turkic nomad, a horse is a prized possession, and horsemanship a much-prized skill. Perhaps, therefore, it is not surprising that among the most popular national pastimes, or sports are contests on horseback. Central Asian horses possess such qualities as lightness and good coordination (essential in the mountains). They are exceptionally hearty, will eat almost anything and are not susceptible to sudden changes of weather. They can endure long-distance marches with the rider. For these reasons Kyrgyz ponies were prized possessions even further a field in Russian and Europe in the past.