Horse has a vital and mythical role in the life of nomads and villagers from the past so that the horse has a main role in many of their activities such as marriage, sport and job.
Qiqaj, Qiqach or Qiqazh is one of the traditional martial sports among the Iranian especially the nomads which symbolizes the persons' skill in horse riding and shooting. Qiqaj has been influenced by the culture, epic and bravery of the people in different regions and it is the cause of reinforcing the spirit of pluck and championship.
In addition to the aspect of entertainment, high strength and concentration, skill in shooting toward the signs and speed in reaction are necessary for this game so that the person should can concentrate his ability on several dynamic organs and show his body’s feeling and skill.
Qiqaj in literary means crooked and skewed and it so-called as a kind of skill and sport’s performance back on the horse that was a kind of skill and the method of defense and attack in wars that needs to technics and tactics of shooting during ride the horse.
Qiqaj is common in all cities of Iran by different names and methods that in addition to the horseman, choosing the horse and its training are also important. In wedding parties of nomads or Arab tribes of Iran, a horseman by doing the Qiqaj game accompanied to the sound of Sorena creates a special happiness and excitement to the ceremony at the time when the bride comes to groom’s house.
Nowadays, Qiqaj runs individually as a match among the tribes in plains,in addition to special events time. Horseman (male or female) comes into the field on horseback with a hunting gun (shotguns) in their hand, then the horse gallops and picks the gun up from his shoulder.
The play includes the riding and doing the acrobatic movements such as specific spins and mutation from the horse back, guiding the horse to the left and the right sides by different methods toward the goals, shooting to the fixed or movable signs in certain height, distance and hitting them. Qiqaj can be explained in three steps: hitting the sign, removing the saddle and Qiqach (shooting to the sign). The horseman has two gunshots at first. One shot in commute and one shot in return way that he should shot to the goal. Horseman should shoot rollback after passing from the front of sign. Removing the saddle starts after this step, when the horseman come into the field and move the horse; then, he will be allowed to remove the saddle from under his foot and raise it by hand. The horseman will be lost the stage if he falls down on the ground. And Qiqaj starts in the last step that represents an individual equestrian art. 10 pieces of wood in specific distance installed in the field of match that the horseman is responsible to move spiral among them. In this stage, the horse gallop and passing from each wood has 1 score for horseman.
Finally, the scores for each horseman will be calculated based on defined rules and the winner will introduce to other. The sound of shooting among the applause and ruckus of fans with the sound of music instrument create a specific vitality in match environment simultaneously to performing this artistic sport.