Song Kul II – a Horsepost

15. + 16. August 2023



The horses at Song Kul are very numerous and look so pretty in the pictures that they get their own post. At a minimum, each family has so many that everyone can sit on them. They are needed to keep herds or individual animals together and to cover longer distances more quickly, e.g. to visit neighbours, and they can also be used to transport things.




horses hanging around


In addition, they can be put to good use for the tourists who can ride around on them – either completely independently if they are well experienced or guided by rope if not. I had told myself after my last Indian horse experience, sore bottom and all, that I never wanted to get on a horse again. And then I did it again….


A little side anecdote: we 3 kids used to get a 10 horse riding lessons card together. After my little siblings dropped out after 1 and 2 or 3 lessons each, there were still 4 or 5 lessons left, which I dutifully wanted to use because they were paid for. But with sore bottom and burning knees and none of the previously imagined joy, I didn’t make it either. So the “typical girlish fancies” were quickly stifled again. Or the “Indian dream” I once had.


me on horse


The Kyrgyz horse and saddle are a bit more comfortable than those in India, but I still didn’t really enjoy it. But no great suffering either. Except when trotting, which stresses me out. And that there were two of us on the ropes and the horses wanted to be too close together.


on rope


Our horse guide was the child of the yurt family, a nice joyful boy.


boy on horse


His sister also liked to ride:


girl on horse


They start with super young age here and it’s always a very amazing sight to see such a small child galloping around on horseback. So much smaller than this girl. It seems to me that there are very few Kyrgyz who can’t ride.


driver on horse


rider in distance


There are many other things you can do with horses, e.g. races, wrestling matches – or play Kök Bürü. For the latter, you need two teams and a dead goat body that you have to push into the opponent’s goal. We met some boys who seemed to be practising this, but not very intensively. They rode here and there and rotated together and discussed and sometimes a kind of doormat was thrown on the ground and tried to be picked up from the horse (often worked – but how do you do that???) and then get it from the other. We watched a bit:












By the way, they usually have little riding crops with which they like to beat the horses. They say that if you find one, you are lucky! I actually found one (in “no man’s land”) and took it with me and put it in front of my yurt – and at some point it was gone. I hope the luck didn’t go away with it too!


At least I met some more horses, where I couldn’t resist various photos. Some horses have their front legs tied together and they can only hobble around slowly. Some are allowed to gallop freely.
















Mares are milked to produce fermented mare’s milk, which is considered a delicious delicacy. I dutifully tasted it, but it’s not my cup of tea. Ute didn’t find it quite so bad. You don’t give the horses names. Then it’s easier to slaughter them and eat themp. That’s the main reason why you have so many horses. At festivities where you have over 200 guests to feed, it’s cheaper than giving them all mutton. Have I ever had horse meat on my plate “by mistake”? No, no, you won’t find it in restaurants, nor is it prepared in inns or the like. Such a horse is big and you want to process and eat up all the meat quickly and that is better for the big celebrations.


And then we left the horses and the lake and a day of amazement awaited us.