Red Corner: Horseback Riding in Mongolia

I’ve never been one for horseback riding, but there are certain places in this world where there is no better form of transportation than a trusty stead.

I should have taken advantage of this on my one and only trip to Mongolia. I had a three-day stopover on the Tran Siberian in Ulaanbaatar but wasn’t able to leave the city because Russia had cut off the oil supply making motorized transportation scarce and terribly expensive.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that Mongolia is a horse lover’s paradise. During the days of Genghis Khan, Mongolians were the best horsemen in the world. Today, they hold their horsemanship in equally high regard. As the car is to Los Angeles and the gondola to Venice, the horse is to Mongolia.

I finally discovered what I had missed when I recently watched Long Way Round in which actor Ewan McGregor and a pal travel by motorbike across parts of Mongolia on their way to Russia. Man, is Mongolia ever horse country!

A recent article on captures the essence of Mongolia on horseback as journalist Richard McGill Murphy joins a western operated tour across the beautiful steppes and mountains of this wild, untouched land. And boy does it make me unhappy that I wasted my time in Mongolia loitering about its terribly unattractive capital.