In early November, skilled horsemen from different parts of Khentii Province gather in Huhuuriin khundii valley to participate in the Steppe Horse Festival, where they test the strength of their horses and compete in horse riding or herding skills, all while adorned in their silvers accessories, saddle, bridle, and neatly handmade leather equipment.
The Steppe Horse Festival takes place in the vast steppe of Batnorov soum of Khentii Province, located 440 km from Ulaanbaatar. This town is well known in Mongolia as the birth place of Boorchi, a close friend of Genghis Khan. Nowadays, this area is the heart of the Mongolian horse breeding scene and the people showcase a well-preserved equestrian culture. In Batnorov, all the men are skilled horse riders and know how to handle an Uurga (a Mongolian style lasso made of a long wooden stick with a leather loop on one end). They are also adept at taming young horses.
Today, horse training is among the favorite sports of Mongolians. Besides long-distance horse racing, nomads love to compete in skill games, such as taming, lassoing, identifying horse color and grabbing an Uurga from a galloping horseback.
Just imagine: you, in the middle of hundreds of horses galloping across the steppe, herded by fashionable nomad men wielding a long flying Uurga. By seeing the Steppe Horse Festival, you have a chance to see the mastery of Mongolian horsemen and understand the key to the high mobility and raw might of Genghis Khan’s cavalry.
By visiting the annual Winter Horse Festival in Khentii Province, you can contribute to the lives of local people and conservation of the extraordinary horse culture and unique breed from Boorchi’s herd.