Mongolian horses

Mongolian horses | Khan Expedition | Travel to MongoliaHorses play a important role in the daily and national life of the Mongolians. As proverb says, "A Mongol without a horse is like a bird without the wings". Horses are greatly cherished in Mongolian culture, particularly among the nomads because horses are very useful to people's daily lives and livelihood. The horses live in herds, led by a stallion who guides the horses to water, shelter and safety. The horses are hardy and adapted to living out in temperatures that can reach -45°C, and are able to forage for food in any conditions. Mongolian horses are small but stocky and strong. An average racing speed ranges between 50-60 km/h and are very hardy and great for endurance riding. A horse is able to carry a load up to 400 kilograms and live 25 years long.

Most young Mongolian boys and girls learn to ride from 3 years old. Some children have a chance to ride at festivals called Naadam - the biggest of which is held on 11th-13th of July that are held all over the countryside. Young jockeys between the ages of 5 and 12 (girls and boys) race horses over distances ranging from 25km to 35km. There are 6 categories for the races depending on the horses' age, including a category for 2 year old horses (daaga) and one for stallions (azarga).

Mares are generally not ridden in Mongolia. Instead they are used for breeding and producing Mongolia's national beverage airag, which is fermented mare's milk and has a mildly alcoholic content. Mares are milked throughout the summer. The milk from a white mare is believed to be very good for health, and consequently white mares are particularly popular amongst herders.

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