Horseback riding in Gobi Steppe, Mongolia

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Horseback riding vacations in Mongolia, Gobi Steppe

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Equestrian tours in Mongolia, Gobi Steppe
Gobi Steppe Ride

Itinerary for Gobi Steppe Ride

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Note: Riding tours may be done in the reverse for operational reasons.

Day 1: Arrival
Arrive the Mongolian capital and transfer to the hotel. Tour briefing after dinner.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Ulaanbaatar

Day 2: To Tseel
After breakfast we will visit the Gandan monastery, the centerpiece for the revival of Buddhist Lamaism in Mongolia. With luck we will catch the prayer times. Then drive south out of the city and enjoy a picnic lunch on the grasslands. Continue across the steppe to a place in the middle of nowhere called Tseel. Our nomad hosts will meet us at Tseel with their horses and Bactrian camels. The area of Tseel has no or few nomads. We select our riding horses. There will be a briefing and a short trail ride.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in Tipis

Day 3: Tseel to Hoyd Onjuul
Today we will start our ride going west to the mountains of Hoyd Onjuul. In the surround area it is usually possible to spot herds of Mongolian gazelles (Procapra gutturosa) also known as white-tailed gazelle. With luck we may even see the black-tailed goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) which is better adapted to arid environments, indicating that we are riding in the transition zone of grasslands and desert steppes. In the mountain area we sometimes are able to see red deer (Cervus elaphus) which Americans call elk or wapiti. Certainly wolves (Canis lupus) are around, but seldom seen.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in Tipis

Day 4: Hoyd Onjuul to Suman
Following breakfast, we will break camp and load all gers, equipment, and provisions onto the camel carts caravan. We will ride for the full day south to the area Bayan Hills where high-altitude fauna such as Siberian ibex (Capra sibirica) and argali sheep (Ovis ammon) sometimes are seen. Argali is the largest wild sheep in the world. Pitch camp at Suman. Usually there are many nomadic families in the immediate area, as there is a water source (Hudag means 'well' in Mongolian).
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in Tipis

Day 5: Suman to Zorgol Hairhan Uul
Today we will turn east and ride to the rock wall-like mountains of Zorgol Hairkhan (Sacred Zorgol), which can be seen in the distance all day. It is a striking feature on the otherwise undulating and flat steppe. Zorgol Hairkhan is mentioned in The Secret History of the Mongols, the oldest surviving Mongolian language literacy work, which chronicles the life and genealogy of Genghis Khan. The Khan himself is said to have wintered here while in conflict with a competing leader. There are more nomads and livestock emerging now. We will be able to meet some during the ride. At Zorgol there are also breeding populations of cinereous vulture (Aegypus monachus), the largest of the Eurasian vultures, its size on par with the condor of the Americas. The nests are quite low, on rocks and small trees. Our camp will be at the larger massif, called Ikh Zorgol Haikhan Uul.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in Tipis

Day 6: Zorgol Hairhan Uul to Baga Zorgol Hairkhan
We continue riding east, passing the small Gobi lake Hairiin Nuur, with chances of spotting some interesting bird species. The lake acts as an 'island' for the waterfowl flying across the 'sea of grass'. We cover about 25km to reach the smaller- but still impressive- Baga (small) Zorgol Hairkhan Mountains. Usually the pastures are excellent here, why we will encounter some nomadic families with their livestock around here. We pitch camp here and scan the ridges of these spectacular rock formations for Siberian ibex and lammergeiers. Goby-high altitude fauna such as argali sheep are present in the hills and rocks, if, if lucky, may be seen during the day.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in Tipis

Day 7: Baga Zorgol Hairkhan to Ovor Burd
The Gobi steppes in this area are quite variable since we ride through the transition zone of the Gobi, meaning there are true steppes, semi arid steppes, sand dunes, and giant rock formations. Today we will have an opportunity to pass archeological grave sites dating back to the Hunnu empire, ie. from the time before the Christian era. We will ride for 25-30km eat across the populated steppe and for the full day we can see the Zorgol Hairkhan giant rock formations behind us in the distance. They are several hundred meters high, and are the central feature in the middle of the steppe.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in Tipis

Day 8: Ovor Burd to Shine Khudag
Todays' ride turns north, a shorter distance to Shine Hudag, meaning New Well. Water sources are important in the Goby grasslands. Our camp is loaded onto the camel caravan each day. Sometimes we will ride alongside the caravan, but often we will stray away from its straight course to explore interesting landscape features or for great views.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in Tipis

Day 9: Shine Khudag to Arburd Sands
A full day ride, for 25-30km towards Arburd Sands, passing several nomadic herder families along the way. The human inhabitants of this open and vast landscape are perhaps the most interesting, since all families in the area are nomadic herders. The sand dunes of Arburd extend for about 20km. They are a hideout for wolves and often you can see wolf tracks here. It is a Sahara-like landscape in the middle of the Goby grasslands, Our camel caravan will need to take a route around the sand dunes, while we can cross them on horseback. We stay at Arburd Sands Ger Camp for the night, which is located next to the dunes.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in Tipis

Day 10: Arburd Sands
We will stay at the seasonal fully collapsible summer felted ger camp of Arburd Sands for another night, allowing for an opportunity to ride out and visit some nearby families over the day. Nomads here have herds of cattle, especially cashmere goats. You may also choose to stay back and just relax at camp and enjoy the scenery.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight in Tipis

Day 11: Back to Ulaanbaatar
The return drive to Ulaanbaatar is about three hours. In the afternoon you may explore the small city center on your own. Distances are short and nearly all points of interest can be reached on foot. Your guide is standing by to assist you in your shopping or sightseeing choices. We will have a dinner together in a local restaurant followed by folk music entertainment. Certainly there will be throat singers. Hotel overnight.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Ulaanbaatar

Day 12: Departure
Transfer to the airport, railway station, or your next Mongolian destination. We can recommend a stay at Jalman Meadows Ger Camp in the Khan Khentii Protected Area, which provides for a sharp contrast to the Gobi Steppes experience.
Meals included: Breakfast

Note: Trips may be done in the reverse for operational reasons.

Naadam Games Extension (mandatory for July 9th, 2020 departure)

July 9th Ulaanbaatar
Arrive in the Mongolian capital by flight. If you arrive today we provide transfer to your hotel. You may explore the city on your own for the rest of the day. Distances are short and nearly all points of interest can be reached by foot. Minor archery competitions and trainings will already start today such as children’s archery, Buryat style archery, etc. Training sessions allow for good photography. In the evening the horse trainers arrive with their horses and pitch their mobile camps at Hui Doloon Hudag, a steppe area 40 km away from the city center. In the evening we meet for a festive welcome dinner.

July 10th Ulaanbaatar
Today, one day before the National Naadam officially begins, we will drive out of the city and attend smaller, more intimate "country-style" Naadam festivals, usually held in three communities some 50-60km away. This failing, the big horse races also start on the Hui Doloon Hudag plains today. In the countryside you have the chance to get up close to the horse races, and also to the wrestling matches. Local people usually wear their finest traditional dresses, adding to the colorful, festive atmosphere. We have a picnic lunch nearby and head back to Ulaanbaatar in the afternoon.

July 11th Ulaanbaatar
Today Naadam is officially opened by the President of Mongolia. Soldiers on horseback, dressed in warrior regalia, ceremonially bring Genghis Khan's nine white horsetail banners from the parliament, where they are normally displayed, to the stadium. We will attend the impressive opening ceremony, after which the first round of wrestling will immediately follow. In most years 512 wrestlers from all over Mongolia compete, but in some years there are 1024! There are no judges, no time limits and no weight limits. We may try and attend the archery competitions (if not done the previous day) and later make our way out to the steppe area on the fringes of the city, where the horse races take place. We visit the nomadic tented camps that have sprung up, and experience a concentrated version of nomadic Mongolia. Herdsmen have come with their horses and all provisions for the festivities, which of course include airag (koumiss; fermented mares milk) for the merry making. Stroll around the area and you are likely to be invited in somewhere. You may also try your luck at the finals of the horse races, but prior instructions are necessary, since the finishing line of a full horse race of several hundred, is a potentially hazardous environment.

July 12th Ulaanbaatar (same as Day 1 for the standard itinerary)
Our services end after breakfast for the Naadam Games. You will be staying at the same hotel. Free day to explore Ulaanbaatar. Tour briefing after dinner.

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Gobi Steppe Ride
Tour Code: IT-MNRT10
12 days / 11 nights ~$2,400.00
Dates : June to Aug

Trip Rating :
Difficulty : Riding Level
Riding Level Explained
Beginner A rider who has limited experience, is unable to post the trot and does not canter.
Novice A rider who is capable of mounting and dismounting unassisted, capable of applying basic aids, comfortable and in control at the walk, moderate length posting trots, and short canters.
Intermediate A rider who has a firm seat, is confident and in control at all paces (including posting trots, two point canters and gallops), but does not ride regularly.
D Strong Intermediate
Strong Intermediate An intermediate rider who is currently riding regularly and is comfortable in the saddle for at least 6 hours per day.
All of the above, plus an independent seat, soft hands, and capable of handlinga spirited horse in open country.
Lodging: Standard
Lodging Level Explained
= Facilities in lodges, estancias, haciendas, resorts, etc.
Basic lodging - some with shared bathroom facilities, usually no AC or room service.
Regular standard room - usually with private bath.
 Accommodations with superior comforts.
 = Trips with nights in tent camps. Sometimes the first and last night are in hotels.
Basic tent camping - everyone helps out with camp chores.
Regular standard with some camp amenities and camp cook.
Camping facilities with superior comforts like camp shower, bathroom facility..
 = Trips that combine nights in hotels and camping.
Basic accommodation and basic camping facilities can be expected.
Regular standard with some nicer amenities.
Only assigned to hotel and camping facilities with superior comforts.

Online Reservation

Check here for details and availability
Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2022 06/06 - 06/17 12d / 11n 12 day trip, AP except in Ul... 2 /10 Reserve
B 2022 07/09 - 07/22 14d / 13n 14 day trip, AP except in Ul... 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 07/25 - 08/05 12d / 11n 12 day trip, AP except in Ul... 2 /10 Reserve
A 2022 08/20 - 08/31 12d / 11n 12 day trip, AP except in Ul... 2 /10 Reserve
Day to Day Itinerary
Rates | Dates
Tack: Mongolian Buryat Soldier Saddles
Horses: Mongolian
Pace: 5-8 hours - many fast pace stretches
Walk, Trot, Canter,
Airport: Chinggis Khaan International Airport (ULN)
Location on Google Map
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