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Joining a Mongolian ride means choosing to experience the life of the nomad and glimpsing a way of life very different from our own.
The Gobi Steppe Ride takes you south of the capital Ulaanbaatar, beyond the Bogdkhan mountains, through grassland steppes, sand dune areas, and the giant rock formations of Zorgol Hairhan Uul. There are no rivers or forests in these semi-arid areas. This is the area of the best horse trainers in Mongolia.
On the trail you camp, and most rides use a traditional ger for evening meals. The ride is supported by camel carts and all trips include two nights at the Arburd Sands ger camp.
You should be a fit and competent rider capable of riding spirited, forward going horses over varying terrain for up to seven hours a day. The riding includes long trots and fast canters on the open steppes.
The Mongolian horses are small in stature from 12hh - 14hh, but strong in character, sure-footed and willing. There is a rider weight limit of 90kg.
Mongolians generally stand in the stirrups at all paces and you too may find this a more comfortable way to ride these short striding horses. You should be fit enough to stand in the stirrups at trot and canter for periods of up to twenty minutes.
The saddles used are a Russian type, similar to a stock or military saddle. Most of the horses are ridden in a snaffle bridle, but you will not find them schooled to Western standards. However, they are responsive and fun to ride.
Hard hats are mandatory.
When in Ulaanbaatar (on the first and last nights of the ride) you will stay centrally in a modern hotel of reasonable standard with ensuite bathrooms.
On the trail you will have two nights in a semi-permanent ger camp, Arburd Sands.
For the remaining seven nights you will stay in six-person teepees (two people sharing). You will be provided with a sleeping cot and blankets, but you will need to take your own sleeping bag.
Washing facilities are limited and you are asked to bring only biodegradable toiletries. There is also a toilet tent erected in camp.
A central ger functions as the kitchen and dining room as well as a place to relax after the day's ride. As is traditional, there is a stove is in the middle of the ger which is particularly welcome on cold mornings and chilly evenings.
The Gobi Steppe Ride from 9th to 22nd July includes two days at the Naadam Games in Ulaanbaatar.
INCLUDES Interpreter; horses and all riding; full board (except lunches in Ulaanbaatar); accommodation in twin rooms in hotels, gers and tents; camping equipment (except sleeping bags); local transport; transfers to and from airport.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT No single supplement if you are prepared to share, except for nights at the Naadam Games where we will refund the supplement when a sharer is found. Otherwise $40.00 per night. It is possible to request a single tent on the trail but be willing to share in the hotel and gers.
PAYABLE LOCALLY Wine, beer and canned drinks; lunches in Ulaanbaatar; tips.
NEAREST AIRPORT Ulaanbaatar.
TRANSFERS Return airport transfers are included.
Return airport transfers are included.
Ideally, flights should be booked to arrive in Ulaanbaatar before 16:00, to allow time to transfer to the hotel and settle into your room before meeting your guide and the rest of the group for the ride briefing over dinner. However, if any flights arrive later than this, the ride briefing will take place the next morning.
Flights can depart at any time on your day of departure.
In the semi-arid grassland steppes south of Ulaanbaatar.
Clear, bright days in the summer. Late June, July and August can see some rain. The weather is variable and nights can be very cold.
The riding was fantastic. Both our horseman Borov and our guide Namuul were excellent, both of them very friendly, pleasant and professional.
Ruth ,SingaporeOverall rating: 5/5
Not for the fainthearted, these rides are demanding but rewarding and offer a real insight into the nomadic way of life.
Be prepared to 'go with the flow'. Your hosts and guides are delightful but can be shy, so you may have to be the one asking all the questions.