After seeing the riders off, and Per and Anna off, we hit the “road” again. Thankfully, most people were able to nap through the bucking bronc of the party van. We ended up going through a Soum (small village) and outside a shop… Derby Saddles! We stopped the van and surprised the riders who were stuffing their packs with chocolate and cola while their horses stood patiently tied to the fence. Chocolate and cola – this may have been a highlight for many riders at that point!
More riders came in too as we waited there with the horses. We were happy to hold them while they shopped and helped them mount up again (and give face scratches to some itchy horses!)
At the next horse station, we had some time to ogle at the horse line. There were a lot of nice looking horses, but this little guy caught my eye. He seemed so pleasant (seriously, what a cutie!), and his body looked like he was ridden regularly. It was becoming more and more sad that we couldn’t pick these horses for ourselves at this point. The desire to ride was definitely coming back and HARD. Ann-Therese picked him when I mentioned I liked him, I was so happy about that and I hope he was a nice guy for her!
Jade picked a stallion who looked angry as anything. The herders had some fun getting the nasties out of him. I did notice at this horse station however, that it seemed like the herders were causing some of the stunts these horses pulled… maybe showing off for the crowd of pretty ladies?
From there, we went up the mountain pass. Finally, we see trees! It was beautiful and we chugged up the hairpin turns to the top of the mountain. I admit, I was feeling a little watery eyed, wishing I could be riding it on a horse instead of in a van. It was so beautiful! Its not the same, not at all. At the top, we had some time to stretch our legs, and take a look out very quickly.
Up in the mountains, we found the next horse station. We weren’t planning on staying long, we saw Heather there and she picked a fantastic looking grey. Chloe told us there were tasty dumplings inside and we couldn’t resist. We sat down and each had a dumpling – and they were by far the best tasting meal we had had the entire trip. It wasn’t the usual mutton dumplings, it was soft and tiny pieces. Jess and I pondered what it was, and out loud decided that it must have been mushroom (as we had seen some mushrooms in the forest) What a treat!
Then halfway through our dumplings we were told “uhh, its not mushroom…. Its INTESTINE” Both Jess and I looked down at our dumplings in disgust. “well, we have already eaten half of them” “lets just pretend its still mushroom.” I am still in a bit of disbelief over it, it was so tasty. Rule of thumb – don’t ask what you are eating.
Once again we moved on, and when we got to the next horse station (I think we were up to 18 at this point) we were informed there was a race hold as the field had spread out so far that medical/veterinary assistance wouldn’t be available if they didn’t wait for some to catch up. There were several riders there already, some were taking it better than others. Heather showed up on that lovely gray, and it was looking fantastic. One of the best horses I saw throughout the race! As is her nature, she was smiling ear to ear. Since nobody was going anywhere, I got to hear a lot of stories that night. We also had a surprise in the ger, a pull out couch!
Yes, 2 of the riders had a much needed good sleep that night!