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TEN THOUSAND HORSES OF THE STEPPE FESTIVAL

Blog | published: 2019-11-11

Ten Thousand Horses of Steppe – 2019 was held on November 1-3 in Batnorov soum of Khentii Province in east part of Mongolia. The Khentii Province is the historical places, where Chinggis Khan  was born, got married to his first Queen Burtu and he met his best friends and generals in this steppe area. The Ten Thousand Horses of Steppe Festival’s purpose is to promote the lifestyle of Mongolian herders and preserve intangible cultural heritage of nomadic Mongols, as well as to advertise this nomadic culture to the tourists and travelers.  

Each year the Festival is held in Khukhuuriin steppe, Batnorov village, where Chinggis Khan met his best friend his paladin Boorchi during his search for his 8 yellowish horses by 1170-s. Boorchi helped the Temujin and these teenagers wanted to make real friendship based on oaths. They changed their belts and gave oaths to each other to help themselves until their deaths. Later in adulthood Temjun became the king of Mongolia and Boorchi became the left-hand general, who leaded the Mongolian army to China and South Asian countries. Now in this field there is a Statue of the Boorchi in young age as sitting in the big steppe. In the future there will be constructed the complex and Statue of 2 men, which will be called the Friends Statue and Friends’ Palace. In the Future fiends tourists and travelers will come to Mongolia and they will visit this friends’ Palace.

The Khukhuuriin Steppe was used as a place for the horses of Mongolian army in 1180-1250. The Mongolian Empire’s Army’s policy and strategies were made here and each valley and every steppe were full of the same colors of horses as preparing the campaign. For example: One valley is the place, only black colored horses will gather here and these horses will have training together with heavy cavalries. One steppe was full of yellowish colored horses, which will be used for the light cavalries. There lots of nutritional herds and grasses are growing in Khukhuuriin steppe, which very suits for the stomach of horses, so the place is the homeland of many horses in the past and in the present time.

At the Khukhuuriin steppe we can see many of horse-breeders families and their herds now in modern days. The Horse-breeders nomad families are keeping their nomadic lifestyle and their unique golden heritage of horsemanship. They are taking care for their herds of horses, they milk mares and make national drink airag from mare’s milk, they use the most fancy and expensive horse saddles with big pieces of gold and silver carvings and handmade beautiful colorful embroideries. Khukhuuriin Steppe’s men use the most expensive and art-crafts of applied art: cozy gold and silver cups, silver carved knives, flint and fire making items and so on… The horses have nice decorated silver bridle and reigns. The applied art of steppe nomads is unique and amazing for the photographers.  

The steppe horse is smaller than European and Arabian horses. Giovanni de Carpini, the traveler from France in 1250-s in Mongolian Great Empire, was one of the first Westerners to describe Mongol horses, observing, Mongolian horses are not very great in stature, but exceedingly strong, and maintained with little provender. Of course, Mongolian horses are strong and smart, because they live outdoors all year, dealing with temperatures from 30 °C (86 °F) in summer down to −40 °C (−40 °F) in winter, and they graze and search for food on their own. Mongol horses are frugal, hardy, somewhat wily, and tread safely in rough terrain. In Mongolia, most animals are kept roaming free, and only a small number of riding animals are caught and tethered. A nomad's herd of horses hangs out around the family's dwelling, typically grazing several miles away. The herd is allowed to choose its own pasturage with little interference from the owners. They may disappear for days at a time, and eventually the owners go out to look for them. Once a horse has become familiar with carrying a rider, it will be calm, friendly, and very reliable. The horses typically eat nothing but grass and require very little water.

The Ten Thousand Horses of the Steppe Festival was initiated in 2015 with the purpose of upholding the livelihoods of local people and the economy of Khentii aimag, which leads by the number of its horses in Mongolia and its people. The event is also aimed at developing winter low season tourism in Mongolia, attracting tourists to the region, safeguarding the nomadic tradition of horse herding and promoting the talent and capabilities of herders. 

The festival includes several parts of shows and competition between horse breeders, nomad families, local people and tourists. For example: Horse racing and horse-lassoing competitions, taiga- hunter dog racing, expo of Khentii brand products, presentation of horse breeds, horse parade, child jockey parade, arts concert, horse saddle and art-craft ger exhibition, horse photography exhibition and an event to select the best mare of Khentii aimag are scheduled. During the festival, Shurguu - hardwork tournament with a total prize fund of MNT 10 million, was held among the 20 select horsemen from each provinces of Mongolia.

This year’s edition of the annual festival is being co-organized by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Culture and Arts Department, Governor’s Office of Khentii aimag, Batnorov soum and Munkh Khariltsaa NGO. Horse herders from every corner of Mongolia are set to gather on the steppe in the eastern Mongolia for the festival along with their two thousand horses and more than 50 horsemen from Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of China are on their way to participate in the festival.   

In 2019, Ten Thousand Horses of Steppe festival attracted more than one thousand foreign tourists from Germany, USA, UK, Australian Poland, France, China and Japan and Mongolian viewers. One of the best cultural and photography expedition and travel win Mongolia is the Horses Festival trip.

If you are going to have interest to participate in this festival in 2020 or in the nearest future, you can contact our Blue Mongolia travel agency’s sale department at info@bluemongolia.com e-mail address or you can contact us with facebook or can have a chat with our managers at whats’ upp.

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