Horse Buy And Ride Advice
Nomadic families jointly with tour operators
have developed horse trails in various regions
of the country suitable for tourists.
Horse riding tours from a few hours to 10-15 days
are offered by several tour operators.
Most hotels will be happy to organize horse riding
tours for you.
Tour operators have all the needed
contacts and experience to arrange a tour for you,
One can arrange for a tour in advance
or simply show up in one of the ranches.
July and August are the most busy months,
so you are better off arranging in advance
during the peak season.
The basic cost for renting a horse
is around 15-20 euro per day.
You also pay for the guide about the same.
The guides cost can be spread between
all riders in the group.
Riding tours arranged by tour operators
cost more - but include transportation,
food, translator, staying at Ger camps.
Horse riding regions
There are several routs around
the lake and up into the mountains.
The Terelje park is close to Ulaanbaatar.
You can drive there and back, and enjoy
a horse ride the same day.
Terelje has several Ger camps, allowing
a few days of riding between Ger camps.
The ancient capital of the Mongol empire
is a good starting point for long horse treks.
Olgii - Altai Mountains
Olgii is in west Mongolia.
The Altai mountains offer great
Buying a horse
With limited time and limited budget
It makes more sense to go on a guided horse ride.
Next best bet would be to go with a local guide
that will help you find a horse, negotiate prices
and help with communications along the way.
Adventurous travelers, willing to take the risk,
with plenty of time, and endless patience
prefer to buy a horse
and try to sell it when they return.
Buying a horse has its challenges.
- Where to buy,
- how much to pay,
- how do you define a good horse,
- what routes to take,
- how do you find water on the way,
- how to avoid horse theft,
- what do you do when your horse fails,
- how do you pack your belongings,
- how to sell at the end of your adventure.
Where to buy - Out of Ulaanbaatar.
But Ulaanbaatar (try the black market)
is a good starting point for horse accessories,
like a western saddle. The Mongolian saddle
which is common in the country side
is not comfortable for long distance riding.
You will be better off buying a horse,
at your horse trail starting point.
The distances between regions are measured
in thousands of miles,
and it would not be easy to transport a horse
cross country on dirt roads.
You can approach nomadic families
and ask about horses.
In the more popular tourist regions
you have a better chance
of finding a nomadic family willing to sell
a horse to a non local.
Best starting points -
which is fairly close to Ulaanbaatar,
Just a few hours drive west from Ulaanbaatar,
riding along the khangai valley.
Khatgal in the north,
on the Khuvsgul lake shores
with beautiful trails around the lake and into
the mountains surrounding it.
In the most western region of Mongolia,
riding into the Altai mountains.
Finding a good horse
Naturally a nomadic family will not offer
you the best horse.
If they have them they need them.
They will be happy to sell you those horses
that are less suitable for their needs.
You will have to accept that as a fact of life,
unless you are willing to pay a fortune
for a few days or weeks of riding.
Be sure to test ride the horse before buying,
and ask for guidance regarding taking care
of any particular horse.
After long and cold winters, the horses
are not at their best. It takes a few months
for them to gain back what they have lost
during winters that last from November to April.
How much to pay
It seems that a more reasonable price would be
around $400 - $800, with higher asking price to begin negotiation.
The horse theft reports do not mention
There have been several reports of
horses disappearing mysteriously
at night or on a hazy day.
In several cases the horses somehow
returned to the owners ranch.
Even Cope (mentioned below)
the adventures and experienced traveller
suffered twice from horse theft incidences.
If you have a Mongolian Guide with you,
chances are quite low that some one will dare
to steel your horse.
When you are hosted by a nomadic family
no one will come close to your horse.
It is when you are camping out alone,
and weather conditions place you deep
in your tent that your horse is vulnerable.
If you plan on a long cross country ride
you will actually need 2 horses.
One to ride on and a second to carry
It is crucial to have the the equipment well
balanced on both sides of the horse.
Try out your packs on a pack horse before buying
one. The great advantage of a pack horse
is that it doubles as backup horse,
in case your riding horse fails.
Choosing a route
Once you are out of Ulaanbaatar you can ride
in any direction.
The challenge is to make sure you know of
water sources on the way.
A horse has to drink, and it is impossible to carry
sufficient water for the horse.
Choosing routes along river beds makes sense,
and where ever you see nomadic
dwellings or herds
you can be sure to find water.
Be aware that distances between settlements
can take a few days of riding.
Whispering Mongolian to horses
"Choo" - is the sound that makes
a Mongolian horse start going.
Mongolian horses are used to having the rider
climb up to the saddle from the left side
of the horse. The roots for that habit go back
to Genghis Khan warriors, that held a sward
in the right hand, leaving the left hand to hold,
the saddle and rains, while climbing up.
Selling your horse
Best bet would be to find
a fellow traveller
at one of the more popular tourist locations.
Nomadic families with herds might be interested
to buy the horse,
obviously for much less than what you paid for
to begin with.
You might just as well consider to donate
the horse to a nomadic family
at the end of your trek.