blanket, rides past.
“He is training for the Naddam,”
we are told. The Naddam festival is
Mongolia’s national fair. Spectators
and competitors come from all over
to watch and compete in wrestling,
archery, and for what the country
is best known for, its own special
form of horse racing. Jockeys range
from 6 years old and up. To win a
Naddam race is pride to the family.
As we rode into the small town
of Erdene Soum on our horses
for the Naddam, horses were
everywhere and people were
dressed in their finest deels. After
the colorful opening ceremonies
of dancers, singers, fiddle players
and demonstrations, we head
to the finish line of the race to
watch countless kids, some riding
barefoot, kicking up dust as their
mounts gallop to the end.
Exploring Mongolian Life
To learn more about the Mongolian
culture and try on traditional
costumes, we spend a day riding to
a rebuilt 13th century town made
up of various villages within a
30-minute ride of each other.
After visiting the shaman, artist
and education villages, we lunch
at the King’s Palace while being
serenaded by a fiddle player and
traditional throat singer.
At the end of the day, it’s time
to relax at our camp and enjoy the
scenery. In the distance, a huge
While stopping for the day at a rebuilt 13th century town, Saraa and Baagii
try on the traditional winter deels.
Herdsman keep their
horses free on open land.
42 JANUARY 2016 | HorseIllustrated.com
Horses are watered
during the day's ride.