Urtuu to urtuu distances
These have been trimmed from 40kms to 36kms. We noticed some great riders on good fit horses struggling to get their horses home full of beans in the last 5kms - they'd be having a great ride and a great experience and then the horses would tire in the last few kms, which just seemed a shame for all concerned. We decided a simple strategy to address this would be to shorten the legs and add a few more urtuus to make up the 1000kms. Riders can now expect 28 x 36km legs rather than 25 x 40kms legs.
These have changed over the years to optimise horse welfare. Horses are let off the line to graze in the afternoons, and taken down to water several times during the day. Horses are not tied on the lines all day waiting for the riders but rather are herded in 'to order' to co-incident with the arrival of riders. This massively increases the workload of the ops room, the vets and the herders, making herding an all-day affair - catching horses is no small undertaking in Mongolia - but it does mean that the horses start their leg better fed and hydrated, and this is worth the effort.