Horse Riding






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The romantic fantasy of many travelers in Mongolia
is to gallop towards the sunset riding on a Mongolian horse.

Here's how you can make your dream come true.


Horse riding tours


Nomadic families jointly with tour operators
have developed horse trails in various regions
of the country suitable for tourists.

Horse riding tours from a few hours to 10-15 days
are offered by several tour operators.
Most hotels will be happy to organize horse riding
tours for you.

Tour operators (see the list) have all the needed
contacts and experience to arrange a tour for you,

Some specialize in horse riding tours like -
horsetrails.mn/en/presentation.php
www.stepperiders.mn

anakranch.com/index.html 

 One can arrange for a tour in advance
or simply show up in one of the ranches.
July and August are the most busy months,
so you are better off arranging in advance
during the peak season.

Cost
The basic cost for renting a horse
is around $10-$20 per day.
You also pay for the guide about the same.
The guides cost can be spread between
all riders in the group.

Riding tours arranged by tour operators
cost more - but include transportation,
food, translator, staying at Ger camps.

Horse riding regions

Huvsgol lake
There are several routs around
the lake and up into the mountains.

Terelje
The Terelje park is close to Ulaanbaatar.
You can drive there and back, and enjoy
a horse ride the same day.
Terelje has several Ger camps, allowing
a few days of riding between Ger camps.

Kahrhorin
The ancient capital of the Mongol empire
is a good starting point for long horse treks.

Olgii - Altai Mountains
Olgii is in west Mongolia.
The Altai mountains offer great
horse treks.

Best camel and horse riding locations in Mongolia

View Horse Riding Mongolia in a larger map


Buying a horse

With limited time and limited budget
It makes more sense to go on a guided horse ride.

Next best bet would be to go with a local guide
that will help you find a horse, negotiate prices
and help with communications along the way.

Adventurous travelers, willing to take the risk,
with plenty of time, and endless patience
prefer to buy a horse
and try to sell it when they return.

Buying a horse has its challenges.

  • Where to buy,
  • how much to pay,
  • how do you define a good horse,
  • what routes to take,
  • how do you find water on the way,
  • how to avoid horse theft,
  • what do you do when your horse fails,
  • how do you pack your belongings,
  • how to sell at the end of your adventure.

if you got to this point on this page -
you must have an adventurous spirit,
and you deserve serious answers.

Where to buy - Out of Ulaanbaatar.
But Ulaanbaatar (try the black market)
is a good starting point for horse accessories,
like a western saddle. The Mongolian saddle
which is common in the country side
is not comfortable for long distance riding.

You will be better off buying a horse,
at your horse trail starting point.
The distances between regions are measured
in thousands of miles,
and it would not be easy to transport a horse
cross country on dirt roads.
You can approach nomadic families
and ask about horses.
In the more popular tourist regions
you have a better chance
of finding a nomadic family willing to sell
a horse to a non local.

Best starting points -

Terelj
which is fairly close to Ulaanbaatar,

Kharkhorin
Just a few hours drive west from Ulaanbaatar,
riding along the khangai valley.

Khatgal in the north,
on the Khuvsgul lake shores
with beautiful trails around the lake and into
the mountains surrounding it.

Olgii
In the most western region of Mongolia,
riding into the Altai mountains.


Finding a good horse
Naturally a nomadic family will not offer
you the best horse.
If they have them they need them.
They will be happy to sell you those horses
that are less suitable for their needs.
You will have to accept that as a fact of life,
unless you are willing to pay a fortune
for a few days or weeks of riding.
Be sure to test ride the horse before buying,
and ask for guidance regarding taking care
of any particular horse.
After long and cold winters, the horses
are not at their best. It takes a few months
for them to gain back what they have lost
during winters that last from November to April.

How much to pay
Travelers have reported buying a horse
for about $100 - $200 a few years ago.
It seems that a more reasonable price would be
around $300 - $800, with higher asking price to begin negotiation.


Avoiding theft
The horse theft reports do not mention
violent theft.
There have been several reports of
horses disappearing mysteriously
at night or on a hazy day.
In several cases the horses somehow
returned to the owners ranch.
Even Cope (mentioned below)
the adventures and experienced traveller
suffered twice from horse theft incidences.
If you have a Mongolian Guide with you,
chances are quite low that some one will dare
to steel your horse.
When you are hosted by a nomadic family
no one will come close to your horse.
It is when you are camping out alone,
and weather conditions place you deep
in your tent that your horse is vulnerable.

Packing belongings
If you plan on a long cross country ride
you will actually need 2 horses.
One to ride on and a second to carry
your belongings.
It is crucial to have the the equipment well
balanced on both sides of the horse.
Try out your packs on a pack horse before buying
one. The great advantage of a pack horse
is that it doubles as backup horse,
in case your riding horse fails.

Choosing a route
Once you are out of Ulaanbaatar you can ride
in any direction.
The challenge is to make sure you know of
water sources on the way.
A horse has to drink, and it is impossible to carry
sufficient water for the horse.
Choosing routes along river beds makes sense,
and where ever you see nomadic
dwellings or herds
you can be sure to find water.
Be aware that distances between settlements
can take a few days of riding.

Whispering Mongolian to horses
"Choo" - is the sound that makes
a Mongolian horse start going.
Mongolian horses are used to having the rider
climb up to the saddle from the left side
of the horse. The roots for that habit go back
to Genghis Khan warriors, that held a sward
in the right hand, leaving the left hand to hold,
the saddle and rains, while climbing up.

Selling your horse
Best bet would be to find
a fellow traveller
at one of the more popular tourist locations.
Nomadic families with herds might be interested
to buy the horse,
obviously for much less than what you paid for
to begin with.
You might just as well consider to donate
the horse to a nomadic family
at the end of your trek.

When you come back from your adventure,
you are invited to share your experiences.


Mongolia horse rider stories


















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T
im Cope on his epic horse ride 10,000Km
journey from Mongolia to Europe
in the footsteps of Genghis Khan's warriors
...More on Tim Cope's website



The horse in
Mongolian culture and history


The horse has a significant role in Mongolian culture.
A horse is in the center of the national
Mongolian cote of arms.


Genghis Khan horses.
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The outstanding
success of
Genghis Khan

is attributed to his army's
professional and experienced horseman.
The Mongolian horses, unlike the European,
know how to uncover the grass
that is covered by snow,
enabling them to cross Asia and Europe
under extreme weather conditions.



Prezwalsky (Takhi) horse
Mongolia is the homeland of the Prezwalski horse,
the last wild horse in the world, that was almost
extinct just a century ago.
This horse named Takhi in Mongolian is the
forefather of the domesticated horses
we know today.
A Russian general (from a Polish origin) ,
named Preawalski
















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was sent on an expedition
to find the remains of those almost
extinct horses.
He managed to locate them and
in his honor these horses bare his name.
Today one can find them roaming freely
in nature reserves such as the
khustai reserve, west of Ulaanbaatar.

Saving the horse


Horse and Naadam festival.
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The horse plays a major
role during the
Naadam festival in July.
Horse racing is one of the three sport activities
taking place during the Nadam festival
together with ar
chery and wrestling.






5 comments:

horse adventure said...

What a great post, I actually found it very thought provoking, thanks

Anonymous said...

thank you!

Chaps said...

This is very interesting, I've been considering taking the family on a horse riding trip abroad but have only started to look into it. The prices seem quite reasonable and you offer a lot of good advice. It's also interesting finding out about the history of the horse in Mongolia, especially about Genghis Khan's horses, I wonder how they trained them to uncover the grass. Thanks again for the post.

Anonymous said...

thanks a lot that was extremely helpfull. serious an usefull stuff.

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