Discover the Undying Love of Mongolians for Horses
Mongolia’s vast and comparatively untouched landscape is one of the most meagerly populated landscapes in the world.
As a result because of this, it’s packed with one of the very finest wildlife viewing hotspots and tourism spots. Mongolia is a diverse land and has unique cultures and in addition to being lovers of falconry, Mongolians highly regard and value their herd animals. Animals like horses, camels, yaks, sheep and goats all play active roles in nomadic communities as their life and survival depends upon their livestock.
The country’s horse culture and the undying love for Mongolians for Horses in specific is famous all over the world. Mongolia is also frequently talked about to as the ‘Land of the Horse People’ with intrinsic horse breed, the Mongol, a dynamic part of their nomadic culture.
It is known that there are in fact more horses than the people themselves in Mongolia, but why do these natives love horses to such an extent?
In this article, we will dig a little deeper into the captivating culture of horses in Mongolia, getting a little more insight about the history of their undying love for horses and the vital role these adored creatures play in the lives of Mongolians presently.
Forged by the harsh climate of the steppes and the plains, the Mongolian horse is derived from ages of brutal natural selection, which is also an addition to a very prehistoric human selection.
Small in size, just about that of a pony, its strength is fabulous, however, and he escorts the nomads of Mongolia in their everyday lives. These horses are also responsible for providing them with means of transport, food such as milk, and occasionally meat in the winter season.
History of the breed
The Mongolian horse is a legendary breed, as supported by various signs on their body structure recurrent line following the spine, zebra like stripes on their legs.
No breed has ever played such an important and a historic role in history, ever since it is all thanks to the extraordinary strength and power of the Mongolian horse that supported the great conqueror Genghis Khan could triumph over an empire from China to the heart of Europe back in the 13th century.
So if we say that many of these genes are the same in many horse breeds that are found walking freely on the Mongolian steppes as that of the conquering army, it will come to no surprise.
Presently there have been many tries and attempts to cross the Mongolian horse with the Arabian horses just for the reason to give it a little height whilst maintaining their endurance qualities and strength.
This attempt was so successful that it actually resulted in being bigger and faster to such an extent that they had to be removed from the Nadaam races from the traditional small Mongolian horses.
Well, we all hope that these cross breeding may not result in a loss of the Mongolian traditional original model.
The ultimate war horse
Mongolian horses holds a distinct and an exceptional place in history too. While in today’s day and age, Mongolian nomads are said to be the best horse riders that there are in the world. It was actually Genghis Khan, the famous emperor and founder of the Mongol Empire, who revealed their true potential of the traditional Mongolian horse on the battlefield.
The skill of the Mongolian horsemen saw and experienced Genghis Khan enjoy great victories. The great Khan’s horse archers were mostly fatal. Mongol horses made great companions for soldiers during the time of Genghis Khan where he conquered half of the world.
They were also a source of food, drink and entertainment in tough wartime situations and circumstances. Horses were also believed to have spiritual power, and many Mongolians of that time believed their horse would be a passage for them and transoty them to the afterlife if they died in the times of battle.
These horses are a source of food and drink
Horse meat is also sometimes a source of food in the winter season more specifically in Mongolia and horse’s milk is enjoyed throughout the country as a famous drink. Fermented mare’s milk or it is also widely known as ‘airag’ is a must-try for all those tourists who are visiting Mongolia. But take all the precautions necessary as if you drink too much it can give you nasty hangover.
Adventure Prime also enlightens more about how this unique drink known as airag is made and why it’s so powerful:
“The fresh mare’s milk is put into a leather bag which is known as a Khukhuur. They hang this by their front door and give it a blending every time they enter or exit their gers. This fermentation process takes nearly two days while bacteria and yeast breaks down the lactose and produces significant amount of alcohol.”
While Airag is not the only traditional drink that is famous in Mongolia. If you ever plan to visit Mongolia, it is essential for you to explore and discover more about the Mongolian dishes and beverages, so you can eat and enjoy a true local.
Morphology of a typical Mongolian horse
The Mongolian horse is small, with a wide body, short legs with particularly good joints and with developed forequarters. It also has a short and massive neck.
Don’t go for its size, the Mongolian horse is known to be very strong and surprisingly tough.
You can find these horses in almost all colors possible. As well as those with the old and traditional zebra stripes.
These Mongolian nomads do not name their horses, rather they call them by the name of their colors. They use many different terminologies to elaborate the intricacies of any type of colors possible for their particular horses.
The Mongolian horse has a submissive temper, because of spending months roaming around in freedom in the steppe, it expresses a very silent behavior the moment its owner catches it for the purpose of a ride.
Nevertheless, you should always remember that the Mongolian horse holds many wild behavior, because of this lifestyle that it has, particularly a very doubtful character.
With a huge population of horses in Mongolia which is around almost three million, it is also said that there are as many horses in Mongolia as men.
An essential part of Mongolian life
As the famous saying goes, “a Mongol without a horse is like a bird without wings”.
Even now that the world has adopted such modern ways to travel and for transportation, these Mongolian people still depend upon the horse in their daily lives and stick to the traditions that their ancestors used to follow.
As compared to Mongolia, In the Western world, horses are treated just like any other pet is.
But In Mongolia, horses have a tendency to to be semi-wild. Instead of being ridden on a daily basis, they are basically herded, and only a few are selected to be trained.
The horses are therefore relatively cheap to care for, yet they provide important sources of transportation, food and drink for the nomadic communities who roam around the lands of Mongolia.