Trail Horses for Riding Adventures
What would we be without our trusted colleagues – the horses? They mean a lot to us and deserve special mention. These powerful yet gentle creatures unquestioningly do what we ask of them, carrying us and our gear over mountains, across rivers and through days of rough terrain. They willingly give anyone who rides them a sense of movement and freedom unlike anything else on earth. While we work with a great team of people, our “core herd” for our Khentii wilderness trips and our riding tours in Gorkhi Terelj National Park are our trusted equine advisers. We listen to horses.
Mongolian Horses – Roaming Free and Living Natural
When not on the trail with us, like most Mongolian horses, our horses roam free. They graze on natural pastures and live in a herd, the ultimate “natural boarding.” Facing harsh, cold winters and fending off predators is also part of their lives.
Our horses are half “wild,” but it’s precisely the “wildness” of living in a herd in their natural environment that makes most Mongolian horses easygoing and calm. Living their natural lifestyle, they are much less affected by symptoms that can be caused by confinement, being alone or other conditions that curtail the lives of horses elsewhere.
We spend lots of time with our herd at their favorite grazing grounds in their home valley, in higher mountain pastures, and of course, on long pack trips into the back country wilderness, where horses and humans seem to form the strongest bond. We also work with our Mongolian horses in round pens to win their trust and develop a partnership using the experiences and techniques of natural horsemanship.
Mongolian Horses and their Wild Ancestry
The looks of some of our best saddle horses speak volumes of their wild ancestry. Their muscular bodies are grey or a grulla in color, their legs with zebra-like patterns. A dark dorsal stripe colors their manes and runs along their backs to the tail. Their strong necks and sturdy builds are reminiscent of the ancient Tarpans.
A website describing horse breeds from around the world states that “the Mongolian horse is perhaps the oldest true breed of horse”. With its ancient bloodlines, the Mongolian Horse Breed has been a foundation influence on many of the breeds throughout Asia & Europe”, the source goes on to say. (http://www.theequinest.com). Read more..
Trail Riding and Pack Horses for Horse Trekking in Mongolia
These Mongolian horses make superb trail and pack animals. They’ve never been to a “clinic” but learn their skills from a young age when moving with the herd across natural landscapes. Their back country ability is unmatched when negotiating passes, crossing rivers and wetlands, or making their way through forests and heavy brush. They have endurance as only an animal of the wild has. In open steppe country they like to fall into a smooth trot that can be maintained for hours and often they choose to do so on their own. They enable us to move through the landscape with a grace and speed we could never have on our own two feet. They connect us to the earth, sharing with us their own intimate link to wildness. This is for us the essence of being with them. It is this experience that we cherish and that makes a lasting impression on many who have come on rides with us.
Stone Horse Expedition Horses in Mongolia have the Best of Both Worlds
However, our Mongolian horses have the best of both worlds: wild pastures and herd life, but also supplements of feed to keep them healthy during the extremely hard Mongolian winters and veterinary care when necessary. All of our horse are unshod, barefoot. Their hooves are hard and healthy from moving around in summer pastures, from long days on the trail, and from pawing snow in winter to reach the freeze-dried grasses and herbs. We do trim their hooves when necessary, but for many their lifestyle keeps their hooves beautifully shaped.
History of Horses
Horses originated in North America 55 million years ago. At some point, they vanished from there, but survived in Eurasia. First domesticated in Asia, horses have been documented for more than 5,000 years in what is now Eastern Kazakhstan, bordering Western Monglia. Throughout the millennia, a succession of nomadic peoples inhabiting and moving across the steppes of Asia and Eastern Europe have lived with horses, using them for transport, food, hunting, herding, warfare and sport. Horses have been, and remain, symbols of status and pride.
Wild Horses of Mongolia – Takhi
Mongolian horses have the largest genetic variety of all horse breeds, an indication that they are the ancestors of many breeds worldwide. Although horses live in the wild in the American West, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, France and other places, Mongolia is home to the only living truly wild horse, the Takhi (or Przewalski horse), which has been re-introduced to its native steppes in Hustai Nuuru National Park in central Mongolia, in Takhiin Tal, in the Great Gobi and in Khomiin Tal.
Saddles for Trails in Mongolia and for Mongolian Horses
The saddle commonly used in Mongolia today – with short bars and a high cantle and front – is a remnant of saddles used for archery. Mongolian riders hardly sit in the saddle, but stand in the stirrups.
For our tours on horseback we use “western” saddles, with longer bars that distribute the weight evenly over the horse’s back, and with seats that promote balance for the horse and rider as a unit. These saddles are for the comfort of the horse and rider alike. We take pride in our saddles, tack and all equipment we use. Having a trained saddle maker on staff, we are developing our own line of “Stone Horse Saddles” and equipment for use on our trips.
Meet the members of the equine team at Stone Horse Expeditions!