Horse riding at Eagle valley

Umnugobi Province, Southern Mongolia

From the entrance of national park cars can go through 12 km. Then gather at the parking area.  From the parking area, you can ride a horse to the gorge. You will ride 2km in forth way to gorge and walk to valley bit further to see the glacier in its full glory.  

Horses will be guided by local horse guides. All safety introductions will be given before riding a horse. 

Mongolian horses are tough. To survive those winters, they'd have to be! The warriors of Genghis Khan conquered such an empire partly because their horses could ride further, with less food and water, than other horses. They're quite short compared to other horses, but never call them ponies: it can be insulting to a Mongolian man to ridicule the size of his horse. 

Riding tips and basics

  • Most Mongolians start in the saddle before they can barely walk. Against such effortless mastery, you'll likely look a complete buffoon and attract the odd laugh when horseback riding in Mongolia, just maintain a good sense of humor and enjoy yourself.  Following the below tips should stand you in good stead when horse riding in Mongolia:
  • Not all horses are created equal. When you see a bunch of horses together, try to compare their size, muscles, and how many teeth they have left (if you can see them). Weak, old horses have starved ribs, few teeth, a skinny chest, and are more docile for beginner riders, but are often more stubborn and are usually slower. Each horse has a different 'action' while they jog, some are much smoother than others. You will spend a lot of time jogging on a Mongolia horse trek, so the action makes a huge difference after a lot of time bouncing around in the saddle. 
  • Approach a horse from the left side and start chatting away to put it at ease. They can see you coming this way. Don't approach a Mongolian horse from the right and never approach a horse from the rear. Consider the area beside and behind a horse's rear legs a no-go zone.
  • Try to lead the horse so you're on higher ground than the horse before you mount. Stroke it's neck and talk to it to build rapport. Have your guide hold the horse still if you're not confident. Grab onto the front grip of the saddle (i.e. a pommel on a Western saddle) before putting the front of your left foot in the stirrup. Put the weight on your left leg as much as you can, swing up, and take your foot over into the right stirrup.
  • Relax! A horse can sense it if you're tense. Enjoy it.
  • Be gentle on the reins. But do give a short, sharper pull if the horse is obviously ignoring you.
  • The horse will quickly test out what it can and can't get away with. Suddenly stopping to feed is a common one. Don't get violent, but make sure you don't let ignored commands slip.
  • The word choo! is the one thing every tourist learns, it means 'get going', or 'faster'! The horse will start walking if stationary, from there you keep saying it when you want to 'shift up a gear' to jog/ lope/ gallop.
  • Always keep your heels down. Try to point your toes outwards rather than inwards, as this helps your legs grip onto the saddle. Don't put your feet further into the stirrups than the front ball. You don't have to post when the horse is jogging, but do put more weight onto the stirrups than on the saddle, and try to rock naturally with the horse's motion.
  • If you're in trouble because your horse starts cantering or galloping too fast, but ignores you pulling back hard on the reins, try to pull it into a deepening turn at the same time as pulling back. Lean in for the turn. The horse will spin into a bit of a circle but is more likely to stop and slow for you.

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