Riding on horses in Mongolian wilderness is a great fun and it helps travelers to meet locals on a level footing and experience the country as Mongolians have done for centuries. Mongolian horses are renowned for their speed, strength and dexterity.
Unlike Westerners, Mongolians don't give their horses names. They designate horses by their colors and ages. The Mongolian vocabulary is rich in precise terms for the nuances of horses' colors. When the inexperienced eye sees only a "white" horse, the herder will see a "snow white" or "ash white".
The Mongolian horses are fairly simple to ride, and although you do not need to be an expert horse person, some experience will undoubtedly be useful. Here are some guidlines you should bear in mind if you would choose one of our tours that involves horseback riding:
- It is important to wear suitable clothes and boots for horseriding and you should avoid any loose-fitting, shiny and/or noisy clothes as well as the high-heeled and thick-soled shoes.
- Mongolian horses are trained to accept human appoach from the left, so mount and dismount from horses from the proper side or the LEFT side only, with support of your guide or horseman. They may rear or kick you if you approach the wrong way. So never approach a horse from its back, front or right side!
- After saddling a horse, approach the horse from the proper side (the left side) without sudden movement, then shorten the reins and mount the horse with your guide's or horseman's support putting your left tiptoe on the plate of the left stirrup.
- When you are on the horseback, the length of the stirrup straps should be at the long that your legs are stretched halfway. Your guide or horseman will shorten or lengthen the stirrup straps if necessary. You should keep your tiptoes on the stirrup plates and sit your legs stretched halfway.
- Mongolians say "chu!" to make their horses go, so tell your horse "chu!" to go ahead.
- If you gallop, you have to stand up on the stirrups a little bit so that your butt does not bang the saddle all the time. Do you understand now, why the stirrup strap should be shorter than you thought?
- While riding a horse you should steer the rein loosening it a bit in the direction that you want. You should keep the leading rein short otherwise.
- Keep in mind that you shouldn't scare your horse by a sudden movement or loud scream. If you would take pictures while on the horseback, stop the horse first.
- You shouldn't drink any alcohol before and during horseback riding.
- If your horse starts trotting or runs fast and you want it slower, pull the leading-rein and keep it short.
- Another important thing you have to know is that you should NOT wind the rein round your hands. Hold it folded if the rein is too long.
- You must dismount from a horse only after it stops. If your horse stops too close to other horses, make sure it stops away from other horses, otherwise they might kick you.
- If you have to go downhill or up a slope, or thru many obstacles, you would better dismount from your horse and lead it with the rein or make sure to tighten the saddle girth by your guide or horseman.
Enjoy your horse riding!