Essential Things That You Need To Know About Mongolian Horse Riding
Mongolian horseback riding is the finest way to see and enjoy this wonderful region. What is the reason for this? Horses are more important in Mongolians' daily lives than anywhere else on the planet.
“A Mongol without a horse is like a bird without wings,” it is claimed. To Mongolians, riding is more of an instinct than a learned skill. It runs in their veins. Why walk when you can ride, as Mongolians say.
Coming to Mongolia and not riding a horse, in a country with as many horses as people (3 million, in case you were wondering), is to lose out on discovering Mongolia's genuine character.
Only 1.5 million people reside in Ulaanbaatar, the capital, while the rest are nomads or live in small settlements scattered around the countryside. Life revolves around horses for Mongolia's 1.5 million nomads and villagers. They're employed for transportation, herding, hunting, and recreational purposes (primarily horse racing).
Children begin to ride at the age of three and become jockeys at the age of 7-8. In Mongolian culture, learning to ride a horse is a rite of passage, analogous to learning to ride a bike in the West. Whether they reside in the city or the countryside, every Mongolian learns to ride a horse.
I can't think of a better place to learn to ride a horse than Mongolia, even if you've never done so before.
The Mongolian Horse
Some Mongolians believe the Mongolian horse is similar to a wild horse. But don't be alarmed by this. This does not imply that Mongolian horses are dangerous or wild, but rather that they know how to survive in the wild.
Mongolian horses are not maintained in barns or pastures, but are instead allowed to graze freely across the vast Mongolian steppe, just as wild horses formerly did. As a result, they must have keen instincts and know how to defend themselves from predators.
The horses that are trained for riding, on the other hand, have personalities that are far from wild. Mongolian horses are among the most gentle, placid, and sure-footed horses I've ever ridden in my 20+ years of horseback riding. These guys never miss a beat, and they can carry large loads, whether its people or goods, for hours on end through extraordinarily rugged terrain without damage or complaint.
Mongolian horses are extremely well-trained as well. You will be blown away by how responsive and safe these horses were to ride for an allegedly "half wild" animal. Mongolians are known for being the best riders and women in the world, so may not be surprised.
Tips for Riding a Mongolian Horse
Here are five great riding advice for Mongolia:
- Approach horses with caution from the left side, remembering that they are semi-wild and may not respond well to excessive caressing or snuggling.
- Steer with one hand on the reins using a neck-reining technique.
- Instead of kicking your horse with your legs or heels to make it run quicker, shout "tchou!"
- Stand up in the stirrups when trotting or cantering.
- When dismounting, hold your foot in the stirrup until you are flat on your back.
How to Approach a Mongolian Horse
First and foremost, always approach Mongolian horses from the left side. They've been trained to expect humans from this direction and should remain calm when you ride and dismount.
It's a bit of a rule of thumb, but never approach a horse from behind, and avoid approaching too close behind them Because these creatures have a true pair of back legs and aren't afraid to use them.
You've probably heard that horses can feel fear. So... disregard it. It's like someone informing you you're blushing; it's completely useless and only serves to aggravate the situation. Horses can't read your mind because they aren't telepathic.
Horses Represent Mongolia
If there is one thing that represents Mongolia more than anything else, it is the horse and the symbiotic relationship that exists between horse and man. Indeed, the number of horses in the country far outnumbers the number of people. Mongolians have a strong horse culture, and toddlers are frequently seen in the saddle before they have mastered the art of walking. Horses are an important element of Mongolians' daily lives, serving as a source of transportation and a vital assist for herding sheep and goats, manufacturing airag, a national beverage made from fermented mare's milk, and, historically, transporting warlords into battle, resulting in Mongol dominance of wide swaths of country as far as Mongolia.
Most Authentic Ways to Experience the Mongolian Environment
Gazing out between two long pricked ears while nestled in a comfy, traditional saddle is perhaps one of the nicest and most authentic ways to experience the Mongolian environment.
From a few of hours walking alongside a river to a week-long trip through the steppe, riding might play a small or large role in your schedule. It's important to remember that horses aren't at their best after a long, harsh winter, so a focused riding vacation is best planned from late spring onwards.
Mongolian horses are stocky and sturdy, making them ideal for transporting people of all shapes and sizes, including novices and experienced riders. They are more 'pony-sized,' ranging in size from 12 to 15 hands and having short necks and legs. Riding styles differ from what you're used to: the reins are held in one hand, and riders frequently stand in their stirrups while trotting or cantering. Because the horse is allowed the opportunity to figure things out for itself, any attempt by the rider to exert too much control over the horse will almost certainly result in rebellion!
Are Mongolian Horses Considered to be Wild?
Mongolia's horses are mostly regarded semi-wild. If you come to ride them, you will very certainly be told this, maybe more than once (we think it might even be point of pride). Don't be alarmed by that statement; you won't be required to mount a wild-eyed stallion from a running jump; instead, the horses you'll be offered will have been rode previously and will have been softly broken in (usually by an 8 year old child whilst his dad is herding).
All that semi-wild implies is that they're usually allowed to roam and must be actively ridden rather than being perched on - these aren't pony-club horses, and they're unlikely to walk nose to tail.
A scared ‘semi-wild' horse, on the other hand, is significantly more probable than an educated pony at home. Flapping coats, loud noises, and unexpected movement should all be avoided. If you're wearing a raincoat, make sure it's securely fastened. There are no flapping zips or open pockets where objects could appear at any point whether on or off the horse (packets of cigarettes, gloves, tissues, Pokemon cards - whatever you happen to have stashed in there at the time).