Tuesday, September 25, 2007

9/1 First Day of Riding

Mongolian horses are noticeably smaller than horses in the US. Normally you'd ride a horse that is 17 hands tall in the States and an average Mongolian horse measures 13 hands. Jergdallen is Dogii's uncle and their summer gers are set up close to each other. I learned that Jergdallen is 50 and Dogii is 20. I thought Dogii was 17 when I first saw him. Turns out he's married and has a five month old son. I felt kind of bad when I found out his name. I had been calling out to the mutts following us, "Doggy, doggy! Here doggy, doggy!" I wondered why he kept looking over when I did that.

On our first day of riding, we covered 17 km in the morning and 13km in the afternoon. Our path was toward Karakorum, the first capital of unified Mongolia. (
Chinggis Khan started the building effort with one of his sons completing it.) The first thing you notice while riding through the steppes of Mongolia is the sky. Mongolia means "The Land of Blue Sky" and no wonder. You'll see what I mean in the photos.

The weather was desert-like with hot days and cold nights. There is virtually no humidity. A little breeze would have been nice for the horses. The gait of Mongolian horses makes it difficult to do a posting trot so I spent the first two days trying to find a comfortable position. I gave up on the third day and just did a sitting trot or rode two point but that was tiring. My overall solution was to go directly into a canter but
Bootsy, my horse, was a lazy bastard and broke his canter whenever he could. By the afternoon of the first day Jagdallen gave me a whip. I don't like using whips but it's hard work trying to get a horse to keep cantering. Plus, I got tired of always bringing up the rear. Bootsy really liked being dead last.

Another beautiful camp site awaited us and I got some decent shots of the sunset. Here's the link to photos from Days 1 and 2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/54764455@N00/sets/72157602153315677/

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