A Mongolian's Horseback Life on Xinjiang's Grassland
    2010-07-15 10:21:20     CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Zhang Jin
 

Bayierbate is riding a horse on Bayanbulak Grassland in Xinjiang's Bayingol Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture on July 10, 2010. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

by Wang Wenwen

The Mongols are one of the most ancient ethnic groups established in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Now the Mongols constitute the majority of people who live in Xinjiang's Bayingol Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture, which is rich for the luxuriant Bayanbulak Grassland.

As most Mongols live a nomadic life, it is the horse that furnishes them with all the necessities and comforts of their existence.

Every Mongolian can ride as well as he or she can walk or run, and 39-year-old Bayierbate is no exception.

"I learned to ride horses when I was five years old, and since eight I have taken part in various horse races."

Bayierbate says horses are deeply embedded within Mongolian culture. Infants are taught to ride before they walk, and a young man's prowess is measured by his skill as a horseman. Even the pace of life is governed by the speed of the horse. What he enjoys most is a fast-paced horseback ride through the Tianshan Mountains, swan lakes, and the wide Bayanbulak Grassland.

As Bayierbate says, he has competed in many horse races, and his results were pretty good.

"At first I competed in 5,000-meter-race in local Nadam Fair, which is a traditional activity of the Mongolian ethnic group in China. I have also attended Xinjiang Minority Group Horse Race. In 2007, I took part in the horse walking race in the National Minority Group Game held in Guangzhou and won the fourth prize. Every year I won either the championship or the second place in local races. I'm happy about it and whenever there's a competition, I'd like to go."

Now Bayierbate's home is filled with medals and cups which he's quite proud of. He raises six horses, and herds them every day. He also named them by their appearance and character. For example, one is named "Beauty", and another "Fierceness". Bayierbate is regarded as the "Horse King" in his area, not only because of his numerous awards, but also for his deep affection for his horses.

"Taking good care of horses is more important than winning awards. If the horses are unhappy, I'm unhappy too. I'd rather look after them even I'm hungry. Without them, I won't become 'Horse King'. Horses are close friends to our Mongolians and we are mutually dependent on the grassland."

People living in cities can hardly believe what a hard life the Mongolians live. But for centuries these Mongolians have developed such qualities as strength and resilience that are essential for survival. Living a simple life, Bayierbate's dream seems not so far away. He has two daughters. One is thirteen and the other is seventeen. They were taught to ride horses when they were four and became excellent horse riders like their father. Now they are in high schools far from home. Bayierbate never thought of leaving the land where he grew up, but hopes the two girls can get a better education outside of the home.

"Without horses, life is no fun. What I want is to take care of my horses and my daughters can learn more knowledge."

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