Horses for Riding Holidays in Mongolia
Mongolian Horses make great Saddle and Pack Horses for Horse Trekking Holidays
The Stone Horse herd is a team of great horses for riding holidays in Mongolia. Our Mongolian horses make it possible for our guests and us to experience the great Mongolian landscapes with ease, to move across the steppes, over mountain passes and through rivers. These great horses enable us to take along everything we need for good meals, to relax in camp and have a safe and comfortable wilderness experience. We owe our horses a big thank you and we do our best to take good care of them all year round! Introducing them as the individuals they are, both in character and conformation will also give a bit of an insight into the great Mongolia horse – a breed of amazing physical stamina as well as mental aptitude.
“The Blue Roan” – “Khukh Buraal”. Let’s start with the “Blue Roan”, and that is his name in Mongolian language. In Mongolia, horses are commonly named for their color and other individual characteristics they may display. Our Blue Roan is a horse with all-round skills and a relaxed attitude. Most times, he is on the trip as a packhorse. He does a great job but likes to do it without being pushed or pulled. So he usually runs free, following at his own discretion which allows him to hang back a bit or take little deviations for some snacks of good grass. He runs with his best friend in the herd, the little pack horse named “Little Kheer”. They do wait for each other and don’t like to be separated. The Blue Roan is a fairly big horse for a Mongolian horse and he can move nicely when he wants and when the rider asks him with some assertion to do so.
“Little Kheer” is named for his rather small size and his brown (kheer) color. He is a pack horse and has his dedicated harness that nobody else wears. He is reliable on his job and is proud to do it – but without being pushed along! A small guy with his own strong mind, he likes to stay close to his big friend the Blue Roan. He keeps a low profile but he definitely does pull his weight in the team effort and is a trusted veteran on the trail.
“Brownie” is of a liver chestnut color, khuren in Mongolian. He is the darling of many who have ridden him, and returning guests make reservations for Brownie. He has a great gait, is responsive and spirited and a joy to ride. He can be fast when asked by his rider and challenged by a team mate, but he does listen to the rider’s wishes. He is a very friendly horse in the pasture or in the corral where he comes up to us for a sniff and likes to get his ears scratched. In the winter, Brownie does like his oats and can be a bit adamant about getting is fare share.
Therapeutic Horse Riding in Mongolia
“Rocket”, Ulaanbaatar and Alag came to us as a team, having worked part-time in therapeutic riding before. “Rocket” is the big nice guy, a true gentleman. He came to us with his name, which he as for a reason. He is fast. A previous owner rode him on multi-day trips from the Northern forest area all the way to Ulaanbaatar city. Rocket is a “Khul”, or Bay- colored horse. Being the biggest in the team, he carries the big panniers with food on the trail. He is a great saddle horse for experienced riders, and also has shown great aptitude and understanding when he was used for therapeutic riding by his previous owner.
“Ulaanbaatar”, a chestnut horse, is named for his red color – Ulaanbaatar translates into “Red Hero”. He likes people and is, besides Rocket, the only horse who likes sugar, a habit usually unknown to Mongolian horses. UB (short form for Ulaanbaatar, also the city is often called UB) is very serious about his job; he carries another bigger pack – with most of the camp kitchen – and it seems he knows how important he is. UB is the dominant horse in our heard. He acts as a bit of a disciplinarian when younger horses get out of line – he pushes them back on the trail and nips them in the butt to move along with everybody else. At times he also takes the initiative when a group of riders and horses stop to take in the view or a quick rest; UB may decide it’s time to move on and he marches ahead, taking all the pack horses with him- down the trail they know well and towards the next campsite… to call it a day. His leadership skills do have a comical side – like last year when he wanted to show everybody how to go through a REAL boggy stretch of the trail. He couldn’t wait as we assessed the situation, he just marched ahead very bravely, without hesitation – and was soon down to his ears in the mud. He came up gasping, spitting out dirt, but acted as if nothing had happened.
“Alag” is a light colored dun paint horse, a strong little horse that has carried riders of all levels of experience. He made it clear a couple of years ago that he does not consider himself a pack horse, and we respect that. He is a fine horse with great endurance and can run if asked for it. He is friends with big Khongor.
“Khongor” lives with the herd; he came to us, together with Blackie, since the owner of these two was leaving the country, we were asked to take them on. He is a beautiful horse but high spirited and not used for our horse riding trips with our guests. Khongor is the word for a honey colored horse.
“Blackie” was all scarred and skinny when we got him, but with good care and plenty to eat he soon morphed into a barrel shaped little powerhouse. He is a real mutton withered horse with a flat back. He is a good strong horse and our team members all like to ride him; Blackie has also been the horse of experienced guest riders. He has the distinction of once having performed a perfect summer sault in the pasture when he tried to run downhill after other horses while he was hobbled… (which he must have forgotten for a moment…) – neither he nor the saddle he was wearing had any scratch.
“Tsevder” is older but you wouldn’t know it when you see him running with the team, or even ahead. He has the lightest gait you can imagine, he dances along and is very smooth – and he wants to keep going… He is from Sukhbaatar province in Mongolia’s Southeast and famous for its fast horses. Tsevder is ridden by staff and experienced guest riders. He is close to Brownie and you will often see them together when out grazing or in the corral.
“Tseerd” is a blond chestnut and gets his name from the Mongolian word “Tseer” for the Mongolian gazelle; he is exactly that color, a beautiful light brown with lighter color at his belly and a light colored mane, very pretty. You probably have come across his portrait on our website, gleaming in the autumn sun. He is a strong little horse that has delighted many riders with his easy manners and responsiveness to the rider’s intentions. A great horse for riders of all levels. And, he has also become the favorite riding horse of returning guests who book “Tseerd” for another Stone Horse Expedition.
Young Mongolian Horses of Great Disposition – “Nomkhun” in Mongolian Language
“Ben and Jerry” – these two youngsters look very much alike, only their different hairstyles tells them apart, and only Ben has a brand. They are the latest addition to the Stone Horse herd, but have fully integrated into the herd. In the first months after their arrival, these two little horses stuck together and looked out for each other. They were both very easy and friendly horses – what is called “Nomkhun” in Mongolian (gentle, calm, friendly) but this doesn’t mean they can’t move; with the right riders, these two are all over the place, exploring along the trail and cantering across the steppes. And in the meantime, they have grown bigger, and have become strong horses. Ben is a bit more frisky, but easy to manage; staff like to ride him for his strength, nice gait combined with responsiveness.
“Shar Khul and Shine Khul” – were another set of two that arrived together at Stone Horse. “Shar Khul” translates into “light bay”, and “Shine Khul” means “New Bay”. He has changed coloration a bit and now is called “Shine Kheer”, the “New Brown”. Reliable and strong horses, these two have first been ridden by Byamba and Buyana, our wranglers. “Shar Khul” likes a cool drink on the go; when we cross rivers he likes to scoop up the clear cold water in the fast current while he makes his way across. Byambaa makes him perform all the gaits Mongolian horsemen distinguish, and “Shar Khul” can fall into a great fast and smooth trot. “Shine Khul” has become a very friendly guy to both people and equine team mates, as well as another great expedition mount. The two horses are from the Khan Bogd Mountain South of Ulaanbaatar, not too far from the Stone Horse staging area. In their first year with us, they decided to head back there when most of the herd was out on a trip . Yadmaa, the experienced herder looking after the Stone Horse herd when we are gone, soon tracked them down and returned them to the Darkhid Valley.
Mongolian Horses for Trekking – Smart and Great Team Players
“Big and Little Dirty Face” both work as pack horses, but are good guys for riding as well. Particularly “Big Dirty Face” is popular, and also requested by repeat guests. Like many of their colleagues, they get their names from the Mongolian custom to call horses by their color. So they are both “Haltar Mor” – mor (horse) with a color pattern that does look like a “dirty face”. However, they have other distinctions as reliable pack horses, and “Big Dirty Face” is a real character. He has lots of good humor and curiosity. And, unlike any of the other Mongolian horses, he has acquired a taste for anything the riders eat and drink. This includes chocolate cookies served on the camping table, the picnic lunch, cowboy coffee and leftovers from any meal. So he is one to watch out for as he sneaks up on trail riders enjoying food and drink. But he is not just a goofy guy; he showed he’s smart and caring when he went after another packhorse that lost his footing and got swept downstream a bit; there was Big Dirty Face, going out there and leading the colleague in trouble to calm waters and ashore. It was really heartwarming to see him do that, and re-enforcing our respect for each and every one of our horses.
Grulla Horses from the Mongolian Steppes
“The Greys – “Good Boy (left) and Little Brother”. To anybody who has seen our two grullas, great looking guys with black dorsal stripes and “zebra stripes” on their legs, it’s obvious how close these two brothers are. “Little Brother”, actually the older one, is of slightly slimmer built than “Good Boy”. “Little Brother” and “Good Boy” are the long time saddle horses of Keith and myself. They have taken us deep into the Khentii wilderness and to all the destinations over the 15 years of our explorations in the Khentii mountains and in Gorkhi Terelj National Park. They know the back country as well, or better, than we. They were borne on the steppes of the Southern reaches of Khentii province, and have become great assets for our expeditions. Having spent all their lives together, they are inseparable and do everything together whenever they can- grazing, drinking, rolling, peeing – and spooking sometimes. They are a bit more spirited than most of the herd, although mellowed a lot over time. We know it, and appreciate it – after all they have to be ever vigilant, they do live in wolf country. They like to trot, which they do very smoothly, and they can keep it up for hours on end…
“Little Big Man” – The Young Grey looks a lot like the two older greys – except better! and he knows it. He is really graceful when he moves along, and move he can! But being fast and strong and young doesn’t mean he is not very responsive and gentle. He is a smart one, too. He is the one who watches us opening the gate and then tries himself. He is also a bit of a prankster. On winter mornings, when he has finished his bowl of oats, he picks up the bowl and throws it somewhere, before he proceeds to get to other’s oats. He is a great riding horse with a very easy going and willing character for the rider he carries. To younger and newer members in the herd he can be a bit of a bully though. Little Big Man is from the Darkhid Valley, just up the road from our staging area. By now, he is probably the tallest of our twenty four boys..
“The Roan” is semi-retired and only joins a few trips in a season. He is older but going strong. He has been a reliable and calm trail horse for many years; when he comes on a trip today, he is pretty laid back, but not slow at all; he is happy to lead but old enough not to get into arguments about it. He is still in great shape, and looks strong and healthy, especially since he had his teeth floated a couple years ago. Home in the Darkhid Valley, he hangs out with Fish, another veteran. Both of them enjoy special privileges, namely in winter, with advanced access to hay. They spend nights together and separate from the herd so they can eat in peace and we are ensured they get their share that they so deserve.
A Medicine Horse in Mongolia
“Fish” is last, but NOT least, on our list here. He is the most senior and experienced of them all. He was my first saddle horse in Mongolia and he taught me a lot. He also showed our greys, still young boys back then, how to cross rivers in the wilderness and he was the one who know all the trails by heart. He is a small horse, but he was strong in his days, and willingly served as a riding and packhorse – though he preferred a rider instead of a pack. Fish got his name from the brand that is reminiscent of a fish symbol. Fish has carried many riders, and more important probably, has given them confidence in horse riding and even a new outlook on life. He has always been very good with kids; with the very young, inexperienced and the timid, he perfectly adjusted his gait and manners; he totally tuned into the needs of his riders; he was a teacher, healer and is a great little horse to whom I am forever grateful. He has a few scars, from three wolf attacks that he survived. Because he did like to take naps – we’ve watched him fall asleep while the grazing herd slowly moved on; he would wake up, find himself alone and quickly catch up with his, mostly taller, team members.
These two light colored roans have been with the Stone Horse herd in the Darkhid valley for a while, and now are starting their job as expedition horses. Their upcoming adventures will soon bring them their individual names, we are sure!
Newest Team Members of the Stone Horse Herd
Five new team members arrived in September 2015. They are working on their integration into the herd, having kept a bit separate for a while and the established members letting them know that they are the new kids on the block. Now, having spent their first winter with the Stone Horse herd, they are finding their places in the big team. Already, they proved to be good saddle and pack horses on autumn horse treks in 2015.
Book a trip with Stone Horse Expeditions and get to know these great horses for riding holidays in Mongolia!