Sumbanese Pasola rider, holding his spear and wearing a traditional woven headdress, awaits the start of the annual competition. The Pasola festival marks the start of the rice planting season. It involves groups of competitors on horseback who compete as village teams. A rider breaks from the ranks of his village to charge and try to score a hit with his spear on a rival villager, also on horseback. Most riders compete riding bareback, using their feet to expertly steer their horses. Until recent times the spears they threw were real ones, now substitute sticks are used, but injuries still occur, often among the audience.