There is a book called “1000 things that you do before you die”. Among them, horseback riding in Mongolia is included. It is a unique experience. So why is horse riding special in Mongolia? It is very difficult to separate horses from Mongolia culture and tradition. We have horses on everything: our national symbol has horses, we have musical instrument called the horse-head fiddle, many songs and poems dedicated to horses. Also horse is a symbol of loyalty and hard work.

            If you look at Mongolian horses, from outside, they are sturdy and kind of ugly. But as soon as you mount on them, you can feel that they have endurance and that is the important characteristic of Mongolian horses. If you compare Mongolian horses with European or Arabic horses, Mongolian horses are shorter. In terms of speed, Mongolian horses are slower. But Mongolian horses can keep the starting speed for 30-35 km, which is amazing. Some people look at Mongolian horses and confuse them with ponies. But Mongolian horses are considered as ponies. About 15-16 hands high, coarse, with a large head, straight neck, heavy coat, thick legs, heavy boned, shorter, stockier and sturdier than the medieval European, the Mongolian horses is an animal of incredible stamina, capable of galloping 9-10km’s without a break. Therefore zoologists concur in granting the Mongol steed the status of a true horse. It can survive in the extreme temperatures of -40 C in winter. Mongolian horses find a walk too slow for their short legs and a canter too exhausting so their natural pace is a fast trot. Their supreme talent is being able to use their hooves to scrape away from snow from the steppe surface to reach grass or lichen below and to survive on leaves from trees. They don’t need to be fed beans, grain or other fodder.

            The animal that allowed the Mongols ultimately to conquer the steppes was the horse, that indispensable adjunct of those centaurs of the plains. Mongol without a horse is like a bird without wings. The steppe horse as a species was a similar to the wild Przewalski’s horse. Horses were domesticated in the steppes as early as 3200 BC. During the Mongol campaign in 13th century, horses were one of many factors for success. Each Mongol troops had 2-3 horses, in order to prevent exhaustion.     Such was the importance of the horse. Horse was valued as equal with 5 heads of cattle or 6 sheep or goats.

            As for today, our company organizes horseback riding tours, also include horse riding in many of our tours because it is a must experience if you are traveling in Mongolia. Many event related with horses are organized in Mongolia such as “10000 horses of the steppe” and “Horse racing” during Naadam festival. Riding a horse in Mongolia is fun. You don’t have to be afraid of riding horse because generally they are gentle animals. But there are of course, things that you have to keep in mind. First of all, before you start riding a horse, it is more proper of you wear trousers instead of shorts in order to protect your legs. Your legs can rub against the saddle and can become quite uncomfortable. Also instead of light sandals or tennis shoes, books are preferred on horse. Changing your upper coat or taking it of on your horse is not a good idea. It might startle the horse and as a result horses can get scared. Also, basing from the past experience, flapping clothes on a horse is not that suitable. If you are riding a horse for the first time, no need to worry, because horse guide can lead your horse, then after a while, if you feel confident that you can do it on your own, you can ask the horse guide to take control of your horse. In general, you will get a unique, nice experience after your horse riding in Mongolia.