Mongolia is well known throughout the world as the nation of horses. The fame of the Mongolian horde and their short but powerful horses which help Genghis Khan to conquer half of the world echoes far and wide all through history. It is often this reason many tourists from all over the world wish to travel to Mongolia in order to experience first hand what it is like to ride a Mongolian Horse on an open grass field to grasp the true feeling of freedom.
Culture and Customs
There is a deeper connection between horses and the nomadic people as the vast landscape in addition to the extreme weather which demands travel from season to season. Their most reliable transport have been horses since the dawn of time. From herding to warfare, sustenance, companionship to entertainment such as racing has developed a saying in Mongolia “a man without a horse cannot achieve greatness”. Mongolians usually learn to ride a horse as early as 2 to 3 years old which allows them to familiarise as well as to build a strong relationship of understanding and respecting the importance of horses. By the age of 4 and 5, the children often race professionally as this is considered bringing great honour to their families in addition to extra income. The racehorses are trained specifically throughout all year and the trainer, as well as the jockeys, invest most of their time making sure their horses are in top form.
Naadam, the biggest Mongolian festival brings these little jockeys aged 4 to 12 from all across the nation which is a grand spectacle that draws tourist and the natives alike. The adult horses race up to 16 miles of distance which during the race jockeys sing the encouragement song called the “giingoo”. Although this Mongol derby is long and dangerous many Mongolians would argue that this is a tradition followed down from generation to generation. Furthermore, Mongolian children are accustomed to handling the horses ever since they can walk and through the derby they can demonstrate their skills and experience. It is one of the unique traditions which can only be seen in Mongolia which dazzles tourists and left a special memory from their travel to Mongolia.