In November of 2005, my husband, Hal Cannon, and I had the chance to visit northern Kyrgyzstan with Vista 360, a group from Jackson, Wyoming dedicated to building relationships among mountain and horse cultures around the world. In the Tian Shan Mountains near Lake Issykul, we took part in the At Shabysh festival which brought together horse tribes from across the region to enjoy horse races and mounted games, music and storytelling. For our part in the celebration, Hal played cowboy music with the band New Frontier and I presented the lecture “30,000 Years of the Horse in Art.”
We stayed with Ishen and Golmira Obelbekov at Shepherd’s Way, their guest house in the small village of Barskoon. Ishen’s father is a falconer and hunts with both falcons and eagles. His falcon was almost always perched on his arm and his golden eagle hung out on a stump in the yard outside our room. The eagle didn’t have a name so we called him Rod Stewart in honor of his wild topknot.
Read “Call of the Wild,” Orion Magazine, November/December 2006.
Watch The Bird Men of Kyrgyzstan.