A Travellerspoint blog

Horse Trekking on the Steppe

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

sunny 30 °C

After a relaxed and rather late breakfast, the horses were prepared and we again mounted up.This time I took the reigns of a different, but again forthright, horse who was to be my loyal companion for a 2-day trek to a monastery within a national park.We looked like the good, the bad, and the ugly but I'd be in too much trouble if I said who was what!It was a slow start across the uneven ground of the steppe but after an hour or so we reached some ground that we could relax the reigns and burst into a gallop for a short distance.Again it was a rush and a lot of fun to gallop at speed and this time adge was alongside on his horse "biscuit-tin" as he named him!Jon trailed behind for a while but his confidence grew and soon enough he was alongside too on "cheese-grater."It was a hot and humid day on the steppe and the flies bothered the horses as much as they did me.Our new skills were put to the test by a couple of ditches (didn't know we were at the grand national!) and a steep hill which we had to climb.We mastered these obstacles with finesse and enjoyed the view from the top of the hill.
Soon enough we grabbed some lunch that had been prepared for us and continued on our way.All went well until we had to cross a narrow stream not far from the national park.A couple of horses refused to cross at first (yes mine was one!) but we soon got them on side and jumped across the stream.A couple of gallops later,avoiding a few large holes, we reached the national park and relaxed into a walking pace for the final leg.We trekked uphill through a forest until we found a suitable camping spot in a clearing.We fettered (is that the right word?) the horses and set up the tents whilst Mindy got the fire going and started on dinner.The boy done good because we ate like kings that night under the bright stars with a raging fire and a few bottles of vodka!!Well, what did you expect?Answers on an e-mail please, I'm the one s'posed to be sending postcards!In the morning I woke early after possibly the best nights sleep I'd had all trip and with a clear head! We packed up, saddled up and began our short trek down to the monastery.We breakfasted and walked up to the monastery on the hillside.Sadly it was mainly a ruin but the main building had been preserved and we had a good look around before rejoining the horses and setting off for home.It was a long trek back to camp but we had a great laugh along the way and occassionally broke out into gallop but the horses were feeling tired so we took it easy on them.We reached the gur campsite late in the afternoon and rode in with pride but feeling knackered and pretty saddle sore!Oh, the name of my horse - "ball-breaker!!!"

Posted by worldwideG 05:06 Archived in Mongolia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Horsing Around on the Steppe

Clint Eastwood rides into town

sunny 28 °C

You at home may be surprised to learn that I learnt to ride a horse on this trip.Or you would be if I hadn't already e-mailed you to tell you about my exploits!I've just been too busy to update this travel blog or the internet connection has been so bad that I got computer rage and had to leave the cafe before I broke something!!It sounded like a good intro to this blog so that's what you've got!Having sat on a horse in the rain all day I was glad to meet up with adge, charlotte, jo, and jon to travel out of UB to stepperiders camp.It was situated an hour and a half South-West of the capital on the Mongolian Steppe. We were greeted by a pair of small but very strong looking Mongols, and an English bird called Jennie, who owned the business.It was evening when we arrived so we spent the night in the gurs which were very comfortable and spacious.The following morning we breakfasted (what a great word!) and mounted up!It was a calamity!Jo was an expert rider and had no trouble directing her horse.Myself, charlotte, jon and adge went of in all directions and poor jon had to leap off his horse as it began cantering back to the camp!!
This soon improved however and we grew in confidence (substitute with stupidity!) the longer we rode.The route set out was a circuit around the local area to a well and back to camp.At this point some of us changed horses to suit our personalities and confidence levels.You guessed it!I was given a rather forthright horse who enjoyed nothing less than galloping!I was rather pleased at this point because I really wanted to gallop off and see if I could stay on the horse.I soon discovered, much to mine and everyone else's surprise, that I was a confident (again substitute for stupid!) rider and sure enough galloped off into the distance.It was such a rush to be almost in control of an animal and riding quite fast on the plains.All was going well until I tried to flick the reigns over my horses head as it had become tangled slightly when we stopped.Unfortunately, I lost my grip of the reigns and the horse bolted with me having zero chance of getting back the reigns.A sudden thought flashed across my mind and I jumped right off the back of this beast and somehow landed on both feet unscathed!!Ootzi rode after my horse and brought it back under control, I remounted and we continued along the steppe.
This wasn't to be the last time that the horse would surprise me.Only five minutes from camp I was galloping alongside jo and jennie when my horse lost his footing in an unsighted hole and fell to the ground taking me with him.Again I managed to jump off him but this time to the side and I landed a little awkwardly!I wish someone had a camcorder running because it would have been a real sight to see!! Luckily I was only winded and was able to climb back on my unhurt and trusty steed and ride home to camp feeling somewhat triumphant with my progression to becoming Clint Eastwood!We dined well and had a great nights sleep after an exhausting day of riding.Just as well we all slept soundly because the next adventure was soon upon us.

Posted by worldwideG 04:25 Archived in Mongolia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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