Horses are a central part of the life and culture in Mongolia. And, in a country of great horse men and women what could be a better way of exploring Mongolia than on horse back? But so many horse trekking experiences offered in Mongolia have rigid routes and itineraries and that just seems wrong.
When you think of Mongolia, what do you think of? Gers? Nomads? Chinggis Khan? Horses? Freedom?
So why would you even consider booking a horse trekking trip where every day is pre-planned and the route detailed down to the last kilometre?
I like to do things a little differently so that’s why we leave the route entirely flexible and in the hands of your herder guide as this leads to a more organic and Mongolian type of exploration.
To have a rigid plan seems odd when more that likely, your herder trek guide will rarely be wearing a watch let alone working to an agenda. They are not lazy but they do not live in our fast-paced time driven western world and this makes them very relaxed about the time.
Instead, the focus becomes getting to meet and know your Mongolian herder guide / horse wrangler as you ride alongside them in the areas where they consider home. E
xperiencing one of the world’s greatest horse cultures from horseback, in a land where horses are still central and essential to the herding way of life.
By not pre-planning the route, you have the flexibility to explore the hidden valley you just came across, to make the most of the abandoned Soviet hot springs or even to stop off for tea at the ger of the friend of your horse wrangler.
‘They looked like outlaws of the equine world. What they lacked in stature they made up for with attitude. They were tough, wilful, unsentimental characters.’
The horses themselves are a little like the herder guides / horse wranglers you would travel with – self-sufficient and tough. They’re small – but strong and resilient. Ponies they are not. The Mongolian horse spends much of its year roaming in the hills – in territorial, almost semi-wild herds. They’re a joy to ride … but just take a little time to understand their character. They’re as much part of the experience as the trek itself.
How Do We Do It?
As the Mongolian saying goes, ‘when your horse is young, travel to see places’ and whether you want to ride for a morning, a day or a week or two, what better destination than Mongolia for horse trekking?
Here at EL, I mainly offer our horse treks as a tailor made experience – adapted to suit your travel dates and preferred length of trip. However, we do offer one or two small group experiences throughout the year.
If you do choose a small group trip, our group sizes are small – a maximum of six. This means we can offer plenty of flexibility. If there’s a mixture of abilities, we’ll divide the group into two for the riding. We also try to match your horse to your riding ability – for those that want to gallop like the wind or those that are less experienced and prefer a more gentle pace.
And as mentioned, there’s no prescribed routes. Just riding. As it should be. Out on the Mongolian steppe.