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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At The End of The 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.
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.