What the Fog: Horseback Riding in the Mountains in Kyrgyzstan

The other day I went horseback riding in the mountains. First, I stopped by a yurt for some kumis, a traditional Kyrgyz spring beverage of fermented horse milk. Please note the very cool yurt storage system. This yurt also had a stove and chimney (these are not uncommon yurt accessories).IMG_3718

Then I got on my horse. He did absolutely nothing that I told him to.

Because I was so inexperienced, my guide had to take my horse and attach our two horses with a rope. It was a blow to my ego and, I’m sure, to my horse’s. Fortunately, the guide’s horse did embarrass himself by farting no less than 15 times on the way up the mountain. I had never heard a horse fart before, but here I am today telling you about it.

My horse responded by seeming to try to get his mouth as close to the source of the farts as possible. My first thought? “That’s disgusting. Like that movie The Human Centipede.” My second thought: “Huh. The equestrian centipede.”

All I can say is that, when you are climbing up a mountain in Kyrgyzstan in a fog thicker than your Mom and you have unwittingly thought of the most disgusting movie that exists on earth, it pays to be able to distract yourself with a good vocabulary.

We saw some of the best views in Kyrgyzstan.


If you look really closely, you can see a yurt on the right.


On the way back, it started pouring rain. We had already been dampened by the fog, but the rain soaked us through. We hightailed it back to the yurt, at which point I learned that being on the back of a trotting horse requires some more supportive undergarments because otherwise it is very painful in the chestal region. The yurt inhabitants quickly stripped me of my shirt and gave me a shapeless cardigan worthy of the finest elderly Kyrgyz lady. There is not much privacy in a yurt, so it was a bit of an undertaking. I was thankful and felt much better.

I think my guide felt a bit badly to have taken me up when the weather was so bad. I would, however, recommend going horseback riding in Kyrgyzstan when the weather is nice, since from the bottom the mountains look like this.

IMG_3739I had fun anyway, but if I had the chance to do it over again I would postpone the trip to another day.

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