Mongolia Horse Riding with a Conservation Twist

From: Stone Horse Expeditions & Travel
Published: Mon Apr 11 2016

The land of the eternal blue sky is horse riding paradise and a growing attraction for adventure travelers who want to experience the country the way traditional Mongolians do, by horseback. While Mongolia is still a country that sees few foreign visitors each year, and still somewhat unknown to the much of the world, it is a country filled with natural beauty that warmly welcomes visitors.

Mongolia's population of around 4 million, still practices semi-nomadic herding, with approximately 1/3 of its population actively involved with this traditional lifestyle. This means that many Mongolians still go to work by horse, moving their herds of sheep, goats, yak and camels, the same way they have done so for thousands of years. With one foot in the last century, and his hand on a smart phones, it's not unusual to see a young horseman trotting along in conversation, checking the news and staying in touch with friends and family far away.

"But there is still the other side of the traditional lifestyle here that appeals to international adventure travelers", according to Keith Swenson, owner of Stone Horse Expeditions & Travel, "and that is the unlimited open spaces that afford horseback travel across a vast landscape". Stone Horse Expeditions ride through large tracks of grasslands, winding valleys filled with wildflowers, and forested mountains ranges where rivers and passes are crossed to reach the stunning secrets they hold. Keith and his partner Sabine Schmidt,both Americans,have been based in Mongolia for the past 18 years. Originally coming to the country to assist with national park management and rural livelihood development, their work morphed into creating a high quality horse riding experience for international visitors.

"Our trips take in the cultural and wilderness landscapes in two of Mongolia's premier protected areas", says Swenson. "this gets us into the countryside on horseback where we experience traditional lifestyle and come across interesting wildlife".

Working closely with park rangers and managers, Stone Horse has developed the "Wilderness Conservation Adventure", a 14 day expedition where horse riders travel through some extraordinary country and participate for a few days with needed conservation work. "This is one of our most fun and important trips of the year, says Swenson. It's a way for visitors to contribute to the environment while on a great horse ride."

Mongolia is not all about horse riding though. Large scale mining has brought income to the country over the past dozen years or so, improving the economy and infrastructure which can be seen with the rapid expansion of the capital city, Ulaanbaatar. But it does have its impacts, and in certain areas, like the Gobi, life has changed forever.

"Travel to Mongolia is fairly easy and safe" says Swenson. "It's still somewhat unknown and now is the time to do it before it changes even more". A horse ride into the cultural and wilderness landscapes, contributing to protecting the environment while doing so, seems a great way to see the country, take away fond memories and leave something useful behind.

Company: Stone Horse Expeditions & Travel
Contact Name: Keith Swenson
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: +976 9592 1167

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