One of the few remaining, great horse-riding nations left on this planet is Kyrgyzstan. This former Soviet Republic, nestled in the mountainous territories of Central Asia, is home to a slice of mankind still trotting about on their horses minding their herds. Most remain dressed in traditional garb that hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. The same could be said of their ancient yurt tents still widely in use today.
One of the greatest regrets I have of traveling in Kyrgyzstan was not stopping for a few days in one of these remote valleys populated by this anachronistic society and riding around with them.
It would have been difficult to do so, as I was merely passing through in a minivan at the time, but now a number of travel agencies specialize in just that. A recent article in The Independent follows the tracks of a small group of women who embarked on a ten-day horseback tour through the Tien Shan Mountains in northern Kyrgyzstan. I got the feeling that the tour wasn’t as immersed in authenticity as I imagined such a remote trip to be, but nonetheless, it appears a very cool journey indeed.