Stepping off the plane in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and into the land of the eternal blue sky, I immediately felt a sense of connection with the country. As we drove away from the airport, the weather and the landscape reminded me of the area in Wyoming where we grew up. I couldn’t help thinking of all the Chris Ledoux songs I listened to growing up, but instead of songs about cowboys I heard songs about Genghis Khan and the Mongolian Steppe. As we set out on our 10 day horse trek into the heart of the country the horsemen sang traditional songs which put a noticeable skip in our horse’s step! It was an incredible experience and we hope to return one day to explore more of this beautiful country.
Our primary mode of transportation for travels across the Steppe was the Mongolian horse. A hardy breed which has been ridden for thousands of years by the nomadic people and with more than 3 million of them, they outnumber the human population. These horses are remarkable creatures, spending all year outside dealing with temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and up to 90 degrees in the summer. They are known for their incredible stamina and can gallop without stopping for 10km or more. The horses also do not require any shoes, their hooves are strong and hard. Most of the horses are kept roaming free with some of the herds being completely wild. The history of Mongolia is synonymous with the horse and it’s easy to see why these beautiful animals played such a huge part in building one of the greatest empires known to history.0