That must’ve hurt: Turkmen President falls off horse. To learn more: “Turkmenistan: Kim and Berdymukhamedov, Neck ‘n Neck” – Shiftin the Karakum / Eurasianet.org
By Jim Heintz, The Associated Press, May 1, 2013 12:56 PM
MOSCOW – Seeing the president slam face-first into the ground after falling from a speeding horse would be a shock to any nation. In authoritarian Turkmenistan, many residents didn’t even get the chance.
President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov apparently wasn’t seriously injured Sunday when his horse stumbled and he pitched into the dirt track at the hippodrome on the outskirts of the capital, Ashgabat. But the fall was certainly a wound to the pride of the 55-year-old Central Asian leader, whose all-powerful personality cult portrays him as effortlessly competent.
Thousands of people were in the stands for the race that celebrated Turkmenistan’s renowned desert racehorse breed, the Akhal-Teke. But state television’s video of the race cut off just before the fall and the extensive written reports on the event didn’t mention the plunge.