Meet Daniel Andreas

Swiss national riding along with locals

SULAYMANIYAH –  On the outskirts of Sulaymaniyah, Daniel Andrea, a Swiss national, enjoys riding his black horse in an open field. He’s joined by a group of other riders, male and female, their laughter and the sound of hooves creating a lively atmosphere.

This picturesque gathering is a spring ride event orchestrated by the Kurdish Horse Organization. Seventy equestrians, each with their own majestic companion, have converged on the Raparin neighborhood to celebrate their shared passion for horsemanship.

Andreas has made Sulaymaniyah his home, residing there with his family.

“After 17 years here, I consider myself a Kurd,” he declares proudly, his words resonating with a profound sense of belonging.

His love for the Kurdish culture is evident in his fluent Kurdish and his passion for horse riding, which he’s been immersed in for four years.

“Every ride is a new experience,” he says. “There’s a sense of calmness, yet also excitement, especially when you’re riding alongside such spirited companions.”

“You don’t truly become a rider until you’ve fallen off your horse,” he chuckles, referencing a Kurdish proverb that underscores the importance of hard work in acquiring skills and achievements.

Andreas says his fluent Kurdish and familiarity with Kurdish culture surprise people.

Like many locals, he also has a fondness for “birinj u bamiya,” a cherished Kurdish dish made of rice and okra stew.

When asked about the differences and similarities between Kurdish and Swiss cultures, Andreas admits, “I can’t really compare them. I’m more familiar with Kurdistan’s culture since I’ve lived here for so long. I only visit Switzerland for vacations, so I don’t know much about its culture.”

Video: Sulaymaniyah hosts an equestrian festival

Video: Sulaymaniyah hosts an equestrian festival

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