Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Horses at The Naddam: Mongolia


Going through my photos for City Daily Photo's February Theme Day Animals took me back to photographs taken during my time in Western Mongolia in 2009. After arriving in Mongolia's capital Ulaanbaatar I flew to Western Mongolia to trek in remote national park mountains before coming back into a rural town for the experience of a lifetime - The Naddam - a spectacular and colourful summer Festival where competitors show off their skills in archery, wrestling and horse riding. Away from the Ulaanbaatar crowds, there were few tourists at this two day Festival. Wrestling and archery events were in the town while horse racing was on the vast open Mongolian grasslands. Gers appeared in the grasslands overnight selling traditional dishes that kept the crowds well feed and added to the Festival atmosphere. 


Mongolian traditional dress and other finery were the order of the day. The horses raced over such long distances that it seemed any long distance races we have in Australia would,  by comparison,  pale into insignificance. Riders were usually young boys - obviously the lighter the better - although in the race finish shown below, the riders appear older than most. Horses were everywhere. More than once I was pulled by a fellow traveller out of the way of jostling horses and their riders. In this nomadic country, the Festival brought together friends and family usually spread across the vast grasslands. 


This woman riding proudly across the grasslands was the only winning female horse owner I saw at the Festival.


Then just as the crowds, horses, four wheel drives and trucks appeared out of the grasslands, it was all over and time to go. Gers were packed up and the vastness of the grasslands took over again.



Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

17 comments:

  1. Oh Wow, you've been to Nadam. That's definitely on my bucket list.

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  2. Rae, thank you for such a great post! Wonderful.

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  3. My goodness you have been on some adventures.

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  4. Amazing how a scene can change is such a short space of time. I love the lady on the horse Rae, she looks very proud and completely at ease up there. You sure have has some very interesting travel adventures.

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  5. Give me a horse and I am happy. Wonderful, action-pics with horses!

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  6. An amazing set of pics Rae from another corner of the world - I love the capture of the woman riding across the grassland ... Stunning!

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  7. What a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Great photos for your store of memories. Thanks for posting them for us to enjoy!

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  8. This is fantastic. I got to travel, vicariously through you. Greetings from Austin, Tx.

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  9. Thank you very much for this journey, to a place I'd love to visit for years now already. Please have a good new month and Thursday ahead.

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  10. Geat pictures of a unique experience!

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  11. What a great adventure for you!!! Love the photos!

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  12. Wonderful series Rae. What a great adventure this must have been!

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  13. Great set of photos, Rae. Glad you took time to put them up here.

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