Caught and calmness descends.This intrepid group of 15 women from all over the world gathered together for a completely incredible experience. It wouldn't have been possible without Julie and her husband who have taken the Mongolian experience to another level, not just for them, but all who have become involved in horse riding every week.
They have purchased a 'ger' and all the trappings as a second home in the country-side. With this involvement, Julie also felt a responsibility to increase not only the richness of their lives but also the Mongolians who have so kindly allowed them to put the ger on their land.
Digressing slightly but this is how riding every week at Julie's ger came about. After I had been out for another ride, with a registered tour outfit, I was disgusted (to say the least) with the state of the horses and got Nigel and his Mongolian vet colleagues to become involved to try improve the lot of the horses - which they did but it was going to take many months before they were suitable to ride.
In steps Julie with the great thought that we could ride the horses, which her landlord, Baggi, owns plus other herders in the area, bringing them an income which would not only improve their lives but also the lives of their animals, as they would be able to afford fodder to see them through the winter.... win, win all round, although I think we get the better end of the bargain. I hope they think that they do.
Rugged up against the cool, biting breeze and stirrups adjusted one last time we set off towards our destination some 25 kilometres away - Turtle Rock.
With the sun shining overhead, the Tuul river was the first of our obstacles to cross, although to be honest, some may say it was the saddles, bridles and horses first as many of the riders out for this adventure have only been in the saddle for the past 6 weeks, some having never ridden before in their lives, so this was quite something to be taking on.
Looking back riders are a little more strung out now as the climb begins and I am sure most of us are begining to feel muscles we never knew we had.
Julie looking very relaxed seated in her shiny new saddle
If you look really, really hard you will see a turtle shaped rock under where the cross is.... that is where we are headed.
An amazing day and enjoyed by all... certainly the expats, but I think our Mongolian friends also enjoyed it
Horse riding in Mongolia can be for any level rider although I recommend that you don't come to Mongolia until, at the earliest, April next year as winter is upon us with snow in the hills and down to -15C tonight. Mind you, we hardy 'locals' will continue the riding experience through the winter months.
It is an extraordinary place to be and I know most of the expats here feel the same way... or at least the ones I associate with do.
I hope you enjoyed the journey.