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DESTINATIONmongolia by Peter Heidmann photos by Peter Heidmann, Shannon Moreaux, Cliff Montagne, and Wiltsie New

Genghis Khan

LIVES ON

From the moment you arrive in Ulaanbaatar’s Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan) International Airport, you’ll be struck by contrasts. Signs throughout the airport, and indeed throughout the entire country, are often written in Cyrillic, reflecting Mongolia’s historical connection to Soviet-style socialism through most of the twentieth century. But these days, signs are also written in English, as Mongolia has begun to embrace Western-style capitalism since the mid-1990s. The architecture of Ulaanbaatar reveals similar contrasts; gritty grey Soviet-style ministries and apartments are crowded side-by-side with gleaming modern glass skyscrapers. And the fast-paced, exhaust-tinged atmosphere of this rapidly growing city contrasts markedly with the nomadic, agrarian way of life of most Mongolians. Mongolians’ reverence for the horse, however, is a unifying thread, just one of many aspects of Genghis Khan’s enduring legacy. Throughout the country, you’ll see depictions of Genghis

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and his descendants in all art forms, almost always portrayed with horses. Every summer, when the Naadam Festival, with the horse as its centerpiece rolls around, all work stops while athletes compete as they have for centuries, in the traditional Mongolian sports of horse racing, wrestling, and archery. We travelled to Mongolia as part of BioRegions International (www.bioregions.org), a multi-disciplinary non-profit group based in Bozeman, Montana. BioRegions began with the recognition that ecosystem health is inseparable from animal health, or from human health, and that similar ecosystems and indigenous cultures can face similar challenges. The group works with communities, students, teachers, and professionals from Mongolia and the U.S. to build partnerships aimed at improving environment, society, economy, and infrastructure. Our role as equine veterinarians is to provide veterinary education, training, and outreach in rural Mongolia.

Profile for Horse & Style Magazine

Horse & Style Magazine June/July 2015  

This spring, Vegas lit up equestrian style with the FEI LONGINES World Cup Finals. We walked away in awe of the talent there and decided to...

Horse & Style Magazine June/July 2015  

This spring, Vegas lit up equestrian style with the FEI LONGINES World Cup Finals. We walked away in awe of the talent there and decided to...

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