Horseback Riding in Mongolia

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Marilyn Grashow


Adventure Traveller

  1. Age: 57
  2. Nationality: USA
  3. Where was your adventure?: Mongolia
  4. How many days was it?: 29
  5. What type of adventure?: Extreme Sports
  6. Give us a general overview of your adventure:
    We did horseback riding, 8 days straight, with Russian cavalry saddles on Mongolian horses. We were serenaded by our horse wranglers. We raced up and down grassy hills and we jumped in and out of rivers on horseback, and crossed some with the horses on rafts. We rode from 8 am until 9 pm (it was light until after midnight). It was beautiful. We visited different kinds of people: singers dancers, musicians, throat singers, Mongolian Indians called Tsatsen (reindeer people) who live near the Russian border at 8400 ft. and domesticate reindeer which they use for transportation, milk and meat.
  7. Was it difficult?: yes
    Why or why not?
    It was physically challenging, but everyone was prepared due to doing extra riding practice before arriving (10 months average), and bringing electrolyte replacement powder, energy snacks, and water purification/filters. EXTREME has a large plastic bottle that purifies and filters the water in a straw as you drink it. Purify and filter are not the same thing. 1 kills bacteria, the other kills virus and parasites)
  8. Would you recommend this adventure trip to someone else? Why or Why Not?
    Yes, if you learn to ride and you are in very good physical condition, are fearless and have a sense of humor. The most exciting thing about this trip was that from moment to moment. You didn’t exactly what was going to happen. Also meeting the people was great. One day when we were setting up camp some animals from the landowners came up to watch us, look at us, and see what we were doing. They came right up to us lowered their heads made few sounds then stood back and observed. After awhile they allowed their heads, made some other sounds and left. It was as though they were the tourists, and we were the sights. They are not afraid of people, they are used to seeing different ones arrive from time to time, and dropped by to say hi.
  9. What do you wish you would have done differently?
    Nothing. I’d like to do the same trip again. It was surreal and awe inspiring and humbling. The Buddhists have great respect for all life. They don’t lock up there animals so the animals never run away. They respect the essence of the nature of the animal. These are the strongest, most well behaved horses I’ve ever ridden
  10. What kind of advice can you give to other travellers going on this adventure?
    Work out doing aerobics at the gym 4 times a week at METS 9 or above for at least 45 minutes each time, to improve endurance. Lift weights at least 2-3 times a week for 20-30 minutes covering all muscle groups. Do stretching every day and/or yoga. Do some meditation so you have no stress pheromones, which horses can smell, because it will make them nervous and your horse won’t trust you. It’s safer if the 2 of you make a sort of contract by the 2nd day.
  11. What type of gear did you bring?
    I brought the following: riding pants padded; chaps: waterproof riding boots(over the ankle); sports bras; tee shirts, long sleeve shirts (wick away sweat material), warm fleece jacket; long underwear (3 tops 3 bottoms- “smart wool” light weight);2 EXTREME 32 oz water bottles(the filter straw takes up some room so you don\’t get 32 oz of water in each\’); INSECT REPELLENT; sun screen; sun glasses scarf around neck to pull up for dust storm; storm goggles (dust); bathing suit; \”Timberland\” waterproof extra large duffle bag; anti bacterial hand wash in small plastic bottles; cleansing wipe pads in small individual packets;$300 or more changed into Tugriks; passport; there is a long layover in Seoul ,South Korea-8 hours to 15 hours-reserve a room 6 months or more ahead of time at the Inchon Airport Transit Hotel-very comfortable rooms,large bed, big shower stall- gourmet restaurant with american and korean food-spa facilities -a great recovery from an 18 hour flight.
  12. Where is your next big adventure? Why?
    African overland trip. I like to be in the wilderness. It’s good for the soul. It’s good for your health. I want to see all animals of Africa – closeup in natural habitats- in places where they do not fear people. I like to see how other cultures live and meet the people. I like to be on another continent for 3-4 months, especially all summer, after teaching in NYC all year.
  13. Did you travel before or after your adventure? If so, where?
    Iceland-”Springersander”- the path from extreme northeast to extreme southeast taken by the Vikings when they took over what is now Iceland. When they got there, it was very green. They called it Iceland so no one would want to come there. The Icelandic horses were originally brought over by the Vikings and have been purebred since then. We raced the entire time. We took 65 extra horses with us. The horses had a great time -so did the people. It was a beautiful sight, and I was thrilled that I was able to do it. The people were mostly Scandinavian, Swiss, and German. I was the only American. When I fell because my saddle fell off (I forgot to tighten the girth on one of our many tightening stops), and I got dragged by the stirrup until it finally released from the saddle. I got up and rode the next few days til the end of the trip. This Scandinavian woman told me I was a tough American cowboy. I thought that was very funny, they must watch reruns of old cowboy movies.
  14. On your adventure, what person did you most identify with?
    Indiana Jones




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