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What is the best way to become a horseback rider when you live in a city? The closest options are taking a 'lesson' for 2 hours and then pretty much you are left on your own. I think travelling across Mongolia on a horse would be cool!

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I am afraid it takes time before one can cover distances horseback, esp. if it's not your saddle you are comfortable with. Lessons might be helpful of course, but it takes training, practice and effort to master riding and understand horses. I suppose learning to drive a car (for a comparison) is an easier thing. – Roman R. Jul 11 at 18:02
up vote 12 down vote accepted

I've just come from there. Something interesting to note - unless you go really touristy - Mongolians traditionally use wooden saddles, something I was NOT expecting to see :)

They and Kyrgyzstan share quite a lot of the same culture, including horse riding, and the nomadic / semi nomadic lifestyle. But at least the Kyrgs don't use wooden saddles ;)

In both Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan (and indeed in parts of Kazakhstan and Siberia) there were frequent horse riding opportunities - from a few hours to several days. I'd decide first what terrain you'd like to do it on (bearing in mind it can get quite painful in the saddle if it's new to you), and then find a country with that.

Both Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan are fairly cheap to live in, but the tourist activities in Mongolia struck me as being very overpriced. I preferred Kyrgyzstan for the CBT approach (Comunity Based Tourism). You can email the CBT and ask about tours or suggestions.

From what I saw, I'd suggest perhaps doing it from Cholpon-Ata just near Lake Izzyk-Kul. It's a beautiful region and has both options of steep rides or open plains. And the opportunities are certainly cheaper, and you can recover afterwards on the beaches by the lake :)

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You are the man! Don't tell me you are using a bow and arrow to gather your food while you are there.:) – Kaushik Aug 28 '11 at 0:12
Haha, no, not when there's glorious shashliks in the cafes. Mmmm... – Mark Mayo Aug 28 '11 at 0:29
So you actually travel on horse back for days? How much does the reality match up with the fantasy? And did you have prior horseback riding experience? – Kaushik Aug 28 '11 at 0:37
No I didn't do any long rides - didn't have the time unfortunately as wanted to be back in the UK for a wedding. Very tempted to return next year though and spend a few weeks out of the cities in Mongolia / Kyrgyzstan. I've had some basic experience, but given you'd spend quite some time on flat land initially, you'd be fine as you get used to it. The biggest issue is the discomfort after a few hours in the saddle. – Mark Mayo Aug 28 '11 at 10:04

There's an Australian guy named Tim Cope who rode horseback solo from Mongolia to Budapest over three years around 2004.

He now does guided treks in the area that you could join for about $5000.

As one of the testimonials says:

I cannot praise the whole team enough..... It was a dream come true: to ride in the wake of Genghis Khan, on a Mongolian horse, wrapped in a deel!

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