How to buy a Horse
You’ll want two horses, one for you and one pack horse for your gear. Plan on spending $200-300 for horse. You may need to spend more if you find a horse you really like. Herders are often willing to barter, so along with the cash you could throw in useful items like flashlights, radios, backpacks, fleece jackets or other goodies. Meeting herders who have horses for sale is easy. Just go out to any town or village and start asking around, word will spread quickly and you’ll soon be introduced to the right people. Remember that you can recoup some of your money by selling the horses back another herder at the end of your trip, but don’t expect to get much; most people just don’t have a lot of cash lying around. Whatever you do, buy a nomkhon (quiet) horse.
SELECTING A HORSE
- Avoid wild, nervous horses as either riding or pack animals
- Do not choose a horse that is too old
- Get the owner to walk the horse around
- Check the feet and the mouth (for good healthy horse)
- If possible, try riding the horse
- Brush the horse’s back with your hand to check for sores
WHEN AND WHERE TO GO
After the harsh winter, horses are weak in the spring months (April-May). It’s possible to start a trek at this time but you choices of horses will be limited and you’ll be cold all the time. At this time you’ll need to supplement your horses’ diet with oats, which is not easy to find.
June and July are OK. August is bit rainy but still nice. September is OK too but you could get hit by some early snow.
Good horse trekking areas include:
• Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur (Arkhangai aimag) Good point for starting a trek as the area is used to tourists and has some facilities. There are plenty of rivers but the area is a bit drier than Khovgol, so its not as green but this means less bugs.
• Dadal or Binder (Khentii Aimag) A lovely area, with easy to follow tracks and lots of Chinggis Khaan history in the area.
• Chandiman-Ondor, Tsagaan Uur, Bayanzurkh, Khatgal (Khovsgol Aimag), these are some beautiful areas, with wide rivers and lush mountain scenery, lots of water and grass for your horses. Can be rough and rugged in some areas and the flies / mosquitoes can be really bad in some places.
• Ider, Otgon Tenger Uul (Zavkhan), this is another beautiful area, and you’ll not see any other tourists in this area.
• Terelj and Bogd Khan Uul (Tov Aimag), good if you don’t want to go too far out, its close to UB.
• Khoton Nuur (Tavan Bogd National Park), you can circle the lake in three days, this is a really beautiful area.
Don’t think that you need to cross the whole country or travel a really long distance. It’s nice to just do a loop in a certain area, like areas of northern Khovsgol aimag. Expect to travel about 30km per day, with one rest day per week.
If you are doing a solo trip, your biggest costs will be the horse tack and horses themselves, which as I said, can be sold back at the end of the trip. While you are out on the steppe, prices are obviously low because you’ll be camping and cooking your own food. You may need to hire a jeep to get from a town out to a herders ger where you can buy horses, the cost for this is about 30 cents per km, and you’ll find herders within 5-10km of any town.
Posted by: pktan
Having spent a few months in the amazing Mongolia for the past few years, PkTan is fascinated with this beautiful, complicated country. He love advising travellers to Mongolia and have developed this site to share all his knowledge of Mongolia with everyone.