The Mongolian horse is a key part of the nomadic culture in this vast and wild country. They are smaller than most other horses around the world, likely because they require fewer calories for survival of the Siberian-like winters. The majority of Mongolian people still lead nomadic lives, and when they move to the capital, they bring their horses along.

Mongolian horse in the city Ulaan Baatar

A Mongolian horse and rider leading another horse through Ulaan Baatar, the capitol of the country.

A Mongolian Horse is Rarely Alone

Horses are herd animals and living in the nomadic human culture, they are rarely fenced in. While traveling in various parts of the countryside, I saw herds of mares and foals herded into corrals whereupon the foals were taken out of the corral and given their first harness. Some mothers were obviously familiar with this separation process, and split off from the herd, running away with their offspring. However, no one worried, since the horses didn’t run far, and returned once they calmed down.

Mongolia horse herd onion-135-3

Just north of the Gobi Desert the vegetation is short. This vegetation is wild irises and spicy wild onion.

mongolian horse blocking road

Enjoying the sunshine and green grass on a warm day, the horses lazily move out of the road as cars drive up.

Horse herd mongolia

Filled with action, this is a the day that mother and baby horses are driven into a corral. The foals and fillies are separated from their mothers, with chaos ensuing as mothers call out to their offspring. The young horses struggle against the strong men as they are led to a line a few yards from the corral, where they are tied. Frequently the youngsters soon calm down.

The Mongolian Horse Provides Alcohol

Mares milk, like any liquid with sugars, can be fermented. This alcoholic milk, or airag, tastes similar to beer, but is white, just like regular milk. Mares are milked when they have a baby, same as cows.

Mare milk mongolia horse

Fermented mare’s milk is called airig. It tastes similar to warm beer.

Horse foal mongolia

This mare keeps her foal on the edge of the herd, as they are herded into the corral.

Naadam Festival

Naadam is an annual festival each summer, which includes a lot of alcohol, wrestling, and horse racing. Families train their young horses for kids to ride in races.

Horse bucking mongolia

This horse has a rider for the first time, so of course tries to buck him off.

Mongolian horse rearing up

An untrained horse rears up. This breaking of the horse appears harsh.

going out for a ride

The guys heading out for a training ride at dusk, after a day of work.

mongolian horse gallop

I was in the middle of this valley when I heard galloping hooves behind me. I turned around in time to take this single shot. Good luck at the Naadam Festival races!

Horses for Transportation

Horses are used for packing occasionally. Most families I met have a motorcycle or truck to transport their household as they move 3 times a year, following their age old nomadic routes, so no longer use horses for this purpose.

However, there are various horse trekking tours available for tourists. I found my own guide upon arrival at the Red Waterfall, and daily costs were approximately $50 USD all-inclusive for food, horses, staying in a shared ger. Since it was only me and my guide, we usually slept in the family’s ger, not in a tourist ger.

Mongolian horse in countryside trek

My guide and I spent 5 days riding from 1 ger to another. We rode 4-7 hours, depending on the distance between places we could find lodging. We did not carry food or tents.

Mongolia horse trek

We stayed 2 nights in one ger camp, so took a day ride to a lake. The horses stood in the shallows drinking for several minutes.

At The End of The Rainbow

Mongolian horse rainbow

This Mongolian horse doesn’t even notice the double rainbow

Have you visited Mongolia? Where did you visit? If you haven’t visited Mongolia, is it on your wishlist? Would you rather visit the Gobi Desert and ride camels or the north and ride horses? Let me know below!

 

Mongolian Horse Trekking Tours

I have never been on a horse trekking tour anywhere in the world. However, I’ve looked them up over the years, since they do look amazing. Please see my Tours that Look Cool page.

 

Read More

Want to travel in Mongolia without a tour? Here’s the best Do-It-Yourself-Mongolia Guide.

Here’s how I ended up in Mongolia for a month.

Want to improve your travel photography skills? Here’s my Pinterest board Travel Photography Tips with lots of tips on lighting, framing, and more! Or, search ‘photography’ in the search bar at the top of this page.

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