In August this year, Sally Boardman traversed the steppes, valleys and mountains of Mongolia from the back of a tough little Mongol horse. If you want to learn more about this ride and the incredible kinds of people who are drawn to it, read on!
What is your day job?
I am an agricultural scientist. At present I am in business with my husband growing avocados in South East Queensland. I am involved in the farming, running a commercial grading and packing facility and an avocado marketing business.
How have horses influenced or changed your life?
Horses have been part of my life simply for trail and pleasure riding and livestock mustering. My love and enjoyment of these was the reason I studied in agriculture and left the city to pursue this lifestyle in my career.
What is your earliest memory of horses?
I grew up in Sydney, so my horse experiences came from riding on friends’ or relatives’ farms, trail riding on holidays, etc.
What was your childhood pony called?
Unfortunately I had no horse of my own growing up, but a good friend had one in Sydney and he was called Baringa. I bought my first horse when I was 40!! Her name was Winnie. I now have her daughter, Ellie. I was lucky enough, however, to pursue my passion through others in earlier years.
What does riding or being with horses mean to you?
Riding gives me a sense of freedom. I feel confidence and exhilaration when I ride. I see everything from a different perspective. I feel so lucky and fortunate to have horses in my life.
What have horses taught you the most?
They have taught me patience. They have taught me to appreciate the things around me. They have taught me respect for them and their skills and abilities. They have taught me trust, both in them and in my own capabilities.
Was this your first Globetrotting ride?
Yes it was. But it will not be my last if I can keep fit and healthy!
What made you take the plunge and sign up for a Globetrotting holiday?
It was a dual thing. I have wanted to go to Mongolia for some time and the attraction of a ‘roughing-it’ holiday and camping out in the remoteness of Mongolia appealed so much to me. Even better, on the back of a horse! Wow, what an opportunity to take. I was going to go with a good friend of mine and was looking forward to doing this with her, but at the last minute she was unable to come.
I have worked as a cattle and horse musterer on a station in the Kimberley in Western Australia, and on many cattle and sheep properties throughout New South Wales and parts of Queensland. I have also done pleasure trail riding through the Snowy Mountains, so I knew how amazing it is to really enjoy the landscape, be exposed to the vulnerabilities of the climate and appreciate being so close to nature from the back of a horse.
Was this Globetrotting ride celebrating or marking a significant moment/milestone/achievement in your life? And if so, would you mind sharing?
In the few years leading up to this, I experienced the stark realisation that life is short. This was through the very sudden death of a close friend who was my own age and the decline and death of my mother. These experiences have given me the attitude of ‘if you are able to do something so amazing for yourself, you should do it’. Opportunities are always around you, but only you can take them and run with them.
What Globetrotting rides have you since completed/planned/dreamed about?
I would love to ride in the Maasai Mara. I have travelled there several times over the years and the thought of riding with the wildlife there is so attractive to me.
What is your most memorable Globetrotting moment?
So many of them! But for me, galloping over the steppe on my horse was so exhilarating.
Being with wonderful people on this journey, both the Globetrotting group and the gentle, caring, interesting, funny Mongolian men and women who accompanied us on the trek.
Snuggling into the tent with the horses and deer grazing on the outside about 10 cm from your head!!
It took me a long time to get the smile off my face when I came home.
Why choose this type of travel? As in exploring a new country from the back of a horse?
You see everything, you feel everything, you hear everything, and you feel so alive. You are alert and you are independent, yet you are very connected to your horse, the environment and the people around you.
Who is your favourite safari horse of all time and why?
My horse in Mongolia had no name so I called him Chinggis (Genghis) as he had such amazing stamina, was incredibly sure footed and nothing was a problem for him!! All of the Mongolian horses were like this. They travelled 30-40 kilometres each day, over some very rough terrain – mud, bogs, in the rain, over stones and boulders, crossing rivers – and then they were ready to run as soon as they could.
A tip that every globetrotter should know before going on a ride…
Be ready for lots of laughs, great conversations and lots of adventure.
Finish this sentence: Don’t leave home without…
Good riding boots, a sleeping bag (if you are camping) and wet weather gear.
Keen to have your very own Mongolian adventure? Check out the ride here!