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The last days of Kazakh cowboys

Central Asia cowboys are in their last throes
"Audaryspak" in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan. (Photo: Stanislav Filippov /  AFP / Getty)

One of the planet's vanishing jobs is wrangling — herding cows and sheep while athwart a horse. In the U.S., cowboys are mostly for show. But in Central Asia, where horses are thought to have originally been domesticated, the job is in its last throes, too, writes the NYT's Andy Higgins.

Quick take: After the 1991 Soviet collapse, the Kazakh government sent local cowboys to North Dakota for training, and had some 5,000 head of breeding cattle flown from Canadian ranches to Kazakhstan. With that as a base, Kazakhstan signed a memorandum of understanding in November under which it would raise and ship up to 240,000 cattle to China.