Hello I’m Andy Parkinson. I’ve been organizing horse riding expeditions in Mongolia’s northern Hovsgol province for over 20 years.
I found everything that I could ever need here for a lifetime of horseback adventures: an incredible community of nomads, lots of amazing horses, and landscapes just made for riding and exploration. Our rides through Hovsgol's wilderness areas are all designed to show you what I love most about this region.
All our rides are pack-horse supported wilderness rides, accompanied by a team of local herders and their horses.
Some tour operators run vehicle supported rides but that's not how we roll. We like to explore the wilder places beyond the end of the road. Choose from two styles of trip.
Riding the ancient migration trails between the Darhad Valley and the wild shore of northern Lake Hovsgol.Read More
An epic ride in the Sayan Mountains from the reindeer herders to the wild shore of northern Lake Hovsgol.Read More
Visit the Dukha reindeer herders and explore Mongolia’s wild taiga.Read More
Ride the herder’s migration trails through the Horidal Mountains between Lake Hovsgol and the Darhad Valley.Read More
Mongolia’s northernmost region, Hovsgol Aimag, is where the rolling steppes give way to Siberian taiga. The region is renowned for, and named after, the 85 mile long Lake Hovsgol, the cherished Blue Pearl of Mongolia.
The lake is overlooked by the Horidal Saridag Mountains, habitat to Argali sheep and Ibex, and some of the most impressive alpine scenery in the country. Beyond the Horidal Mountains lies the Darhad Valley, a broad span of grassland, marshes and rivers ringed by the mountain wilderness of the Taiga.
The region is home to Khalkh, Darhad, and Buryat Mongols and the Dukha reindeer herders. Being landscapes of important conservation, cultural, and environmental significance much of the area is now designated as national parks or special protected areas.
Mongolian horses are incredibly tough and are exceptional endurance steeds, so let's not talk about their height. Contrary to what other commenters may say they are not actually wild or 'semi-wild' (whatever that may mean), rather they are kept in a natural herd structure with a dominant stallion. The herds are essentially 'hefted' keeping to a defined grazing territory, herders always know where to go look for their horses. They are still domesticated horses, not wild Takhi horses, or feral like Mustangs and Brumbies.
Like all horses they have their own characters and temperament which also reflects their training, age and experience. The key to a good Mongolian trail riding horse is selecting or training forward going 'nomhun' (steady -temperament) horses, rather than the 'ashtai' (nervous) racehorses that you'll see at the horse lines of the Mongol Derby.
For more background on riding Mongolian horses please read my article: Essential Guide to Horse Riding in Mongolia
Along with the quality of the horses, saddles are one of the most important considerations on any horse trek. The typical saddles used by riding operations in Mongolia are what the locals call Oros Emel or Russian Saddles, which are more comfortable than the contemporary wooden Mongol saddles. The Oros Emel is in fact a locally made copy of the historic Cossack Saddle (still used around the world for trick riding), sometimes even using the original Russian-made saddle trees.
I was very proud of the cossack style saddles that I had made in 2004, with their leather seat pads and antique Mongol stirrup irons. But with my growing knowledge of horsemanship and saddlery I have realized we can do much better, especially in improving the narrow Mongolian girths for horse comfort. I do still think cossack saddles a great for the kind of riding we do. I am now working on a complete new set of saddles for the 2021 season, which will include both cossack and other styles of trekking saddle.
The mountain weather in Mongolia is changeable, and mid-summer snow storms are not that uncommon. Good gear can make all the difference.
We try to travel relatively fast and light, but take what camp comforts we can. We sleep in mountain tents, couples can share and individuals will get their own tent.
There will be a large tipi tent as a group shelter (Kifaru or Seek Outside), this is heated with a stove for fall trips when the nights start getting cold.
We like to think our trips are more than ‘just a ride’ through a pretty landscape. We always aim to create a special experience that includes an immersion in the local culture with an opportunity to meet locals and learn about their history and way of life.
Hishge and I have been working together since 2001. She now runs her own local tourism company and is in charge of the organisation and admin for all these rides.
Ganchuluun and I have also worked together for over twenty years. He is obsessed with horses, a horse trainer and breeder, his horses often win the local nadaam races. He provides many of the horses for our rides.
Boldoo is a herder. He’s head-wrangler for many of our rides and helps me with saddle building and maintenance. He’s a hard-working and dependable guy to ride with on the trail.
Looking for more online reviews? We are a new brand from an experienced team, so to be honest we don't have many online reviews yet. If you get in touch we'll be happy to provide references. We also hope that the level of detail and information on our website demonstrates our depth of knowledge and abilities.