Horses in Kyrgyzstan


Negotiating a good price. Kyrgyg Breakfast with hot tea. Sharing is part of breakfast. Annika

Horsetrip in Kyrgyzstan. Read this article in Spanish or German

December 2012

It has been estimated that 5,000 years ago a group of nomads in what is now Kazakhstan were able to successfully domesticate one of the most wonderful creatures ever to roam this world: the horse. For Central Asian nomads this creature not only represents their way of transport but their most loyal ally in their lives. The horse has helped this people survive through different obstacles due to the nature of their geography in which they have chosen to live.

For example in a country like Kyrgyzstan where 94% of it’s topography is 1,000 meters above sea level, the horse has been the most efficient method of transport for the nomads for centuries. This is why Annika and I, along with our friend Dan and Nurkys, decided to taste a little bit of what is like to see a part of the landscape of this country on top of a horse.

So we rode for two days a total of 30 km through the mountains near the town of Tokmok. What we found out in the end was a new way of experiencing nature and a method of transport that is not only fun and reliable but magical. No wonder nomads have horses so highly regarded.

Tips for your Horseback Riding in Tokmok

If you are ever around this part of the world we recommend you to live this experience for yourself. We also recommend you the following useful tips:

DO NOT HIRE A TRAVEL AGENCY for this activity. If you can avoid hiring your horseback riding experience through an agency please do so. You can actually get to Tokmok from Bishkek with public transport and from there to the horse owners (40 min taxi). Once you are there you can arrange a price directly from the horse guide, that way you make sure he gets the money that he worked for. Agencies sometimes take 60% commission. That is right 60%!

Three Hours A Day is common. Expect around 3 hours of riding even though they might promise more. Horses are living beings and they need breaks just like humans do.

Bring your own food. Camping at night along the river is fun, but it can be even better if you bring your own food. Imagine some potatoes in the camp fire or a snack in the saddle bag. You new horse friends love apples and carrots but sweets are bad for their teeth.

It gets cold and wet at night. Weather in the mountains is unpredictable, bring warm clothing and if it is possible a water proof bag to keep your gear dry as well as a rain coat or water proof jackets.

Don’t be afraid. You don’t have to be an expert. In fact neither Nurkyz nor Dan had been sitting on a horse’s back ever in their lives before. Learning by doing is fine. Just let the horseman know that it is the first time for you and he will pick a nice horse for you.

If you are interested please contact us and we will help you contact the horse guides directly rather than the tour agencies that just collect money from the work of the guides. And we promise not to ask you for 60 % of the money. Even better: you could directly contact the horseman Eeman. He speaks fluent Kyrgyz and Russian and an organize you horses, equipment and even transport from the bus station (0552444559).

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