Fortune Rider - Sumbawa's child jockeys.


Sharul and Sharil are twins. They are nine years old. But for half a lifetime they race on the backs of wild horses.


The two brothers live on Sumbawa, an island in eastern Indonesia. The people here have always been crazy about horses. Every family has one. Every child can ride. A real man, it is said, has a horse, then a house, and only then, a good wife.


In early summer, the people of Sumbawa meet for the annual races. The jockeys are usually no older than twelve. The youngest are just four. The smaller and lighter the jockeys, the faster the horses run, the more likely to win and earn a lot of money.


The races are super dangerous. But the jockeys have no choice. Often they are the only bread-winner of the family. 


"The horse should run really fast. These races are really big. I want to win. I want to do my best. I want to be the first."


"I hope Sharul will win. I pray to God. If he wins, we will all be happy. If he loses. Then it's just like that. As a father, I sometimes worry. That something happens to him. But I keep praying."


"The horses are often very wild. Only if they run straight, we know the boys are in control. And that's how long we have to exercise. If the horses don't run straight, we cannot go on the race track. It's a tough job for the jockey."


"Years ago I had an accident. I just fell off the horse and the other horses ran over me. I don't remember what exactly happened. I only know, I woke up in the hospital. My mom and dad were crying."


"I am not afraid of riding the horse. This is everyday life for me. I have a helmet on my head. If I get injured, I will also have medicine."


"The race today, it was fun. But still I didn't make it." 


"A jockey fell down. There was a dog on the track. And the horse threw off the boy."


"I miss my mom. I want to go home and see her. When I am at home, I will also take care of all our other horses again. I will wash them, get grass from the meadow and feed them. I do that every day."


"I miss my boys so much. Most of the time I accompany them to the race. But we have a newborn in the family right now. I have to stay home and help. I'm overjoyed that Sharul and Sharil are back."


"We are all friends here. We play together. But on the horse track we are like enemies."


"My horse is very gentle. When I feed it or touch it on the head, it will never bite me."


"I like to be on the race track. But better than that, I like to go to school. At school, I can learn something. We write, we paint. And we play together, football or badminton."


"Horse riding and also the risk of being hurt, it's both part of our life. Our grandfathers and fathers have already ridden. It's a must. It's a duty. Even if we die."


"Mom and dad told me that I was unconscious for ten days. And that I could not speak. Eventually they brought me home, although I was still unconscious."


"When I heard about Sharil's accident, I thought Sharil would die. Actually, he would have to go to the hospital and be operated.

But we prefer to bring him to the traditional healer."


"I am not scared, I am brave. I am close to my horse."


"Above all, I wish Sharil to be well again."


"I've heard that in Sumbawa there is miracle water. I want to bring Sharil there. But first we have to win a few more races."



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