To a Mongol, all the happiness in the world is on the back of a horse, as the saying goes:
“A Mongol without a horse is like a bird without the wings.”
– Elizabeth Kimball Kendall, A Wayfarer in China
Mongolian horses live in complete freedom and are raised locally by nomadic herders who ride on ancient authentic wooden saddles. Most of the Mongolian horses are medium in size, similar to tall ponies. They are very resistant, high in stamina and tireless in nature.
No wonder the nomad warriors conquered half the world once, the horses are probably one of the main contributors to their success.
You might know horses are easily scared creatures, and can flee or panic when they see bright colors or flailing clothes or hear loud noises. To make sure everything goes smoothly, we compiled together the following tips on how to prepare to go on a horse-back.
When on a horse-back, you will move around a lot, so for your best comfort, avoid any uncomfortable clothing, especially anything that might chafe you, give you blisters or aches. We recommend putting on soft pants, and absolutely avoid jeans, shorts, or skirts. As mentioned before, horses can be easily distracted by bright or baggy clothes moving in wind, so try not to wear clothes with overly bright colors. Also, put on a pair of gloves to avoid injuring your hands. For long horse-back sessions or horse-back tours, always bring in a small backpack with a sweater, a raincoat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a cap and a bottle of water inside.
The day before riding a horse, we advise you to avoid putting on perfume or any other product that is too fragrant because it may disturb the horses.
Avoid: bright colors, baggy, flailing, uncomfortable clothes, jeans, shorts, skirts
Recommended: soft pants, close-fitting clothes with neutral colors, water & wind proof clothes, gloves.
It is strongly advised to wear closed, durable, long boots that hold your ankles well. A horse might step on your feet by accident and you need to have a full coverage to have as less impact as possible. If you wear tennis shoes or sneakers, it is preferable to put on gaiters primarily to protect your ankles and calves. Remember to tuck away the laces and strings inside your shoes, or they might get caught up. Ideally, if you don’t mind the hassle, we recommend you put on leather riding boots, which you can find at the Narantuul Market in the capital Ulaanbaatar.
We found a more descriptive tips on shoes here.
Avoid: open toe shoes, sandals, heels, mountain boots with spikes
Recommended: long boots, leather riding boots, sneakers with gaiters
Preparing for your ride, mentally
A good night’s sleep is recommended for you to have a good body and mind in order to make the most of the magical ride through the Mongolian steppe.
For instructions & tips on how to ride your horse like a Nomad, continue to our next post by clicking here:
- Always mount from the left side of your horse;
- Never walk close behind a horse, as it might startle and kick you;
- Avoid any big gestures or pulling in order to not stress the horse.
- Avoid speaking too loud and do not shout;
While you are mounted, if you want to remove your jacket or put things in your backpack, always inform your guide first, stop your horse, get off and do them;
Drift from your path a little if you see metal objects, plastic bags, large branches of wood or bottles on the ground, since they might hurt or startle your horse when stepped on;
Avoid passing near families of nomads. The dogs run and bark after you, and the horse might kick and collapse you;
Preferably, do not let your horse eat too much grass or drink in the rivers. On hot days and after galloping, your horse will pant too much and tire out.
The whole team wishes you a pleasant journey on your trusted steed in the land between heaven and earth!
Disclaimer: Photo credits to rightful owners