Wednesday, July 26, 2017

An Inner-Mongolian family rides to wealth on horseback - Full Article

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/7/25

"We, the Mongolians, could never live without our horses." That is how a horseman named Altanochir always responds when asked about his nation and his horse. His answer is the same as many other Mongolians likely would give.

The well-known horseman, living on Xilingol prairie in Inner Mongolian autonomous region, talks about the horses he rides with his eyes filled with tenderness.

Altanochir learned how to breed horses like his ancestors, and has led a well-off life ever since. He manages to earn an annual household income of more than one million yuan (approx. $148,000) with the around 400 horses that he owns. His revenue mainly comes from hosting horse races, domesticating horses, and modifying breeds. Altanochir also turned his farm into a tourist destination and his family even built a two-storey villa in 2015, decorated with Mongolian patterns on the exterior wall.

Altanochir's family used to be a traditional herdsman family. "Horses were just a means of transportation, but how can we use them to make money?" said Baatar. Altanochir's father firmly believed that getting rid of horses and increasing flocks would be the best way to become prosperous.

Baatar traded a camel and a horse for a second-hand motor bike in 1989. Five years later, he sold six horses and used the money to buy a new motor bike. With the money from this upgrading of vehicles, the old horseman bought the family's first four-wheel car. Now, this family of nine owns five cars.

However, the value of these horses decreased from 2.39 million to less than 0.7 million from 1975 to 2007, which shocked the government and the local people.

Trying to preserve the Mongolian horse culture and boost the local economy, the government has invested 18 million yuan to breed some 2,000 Mongolian horses each year since 2011. Meanwhile, the administration also organized various events involving sports, culture and tourism, building the horse as the symbol of Inner Mongolia.

"Horses are the soul of Inner Mongolian prairie culture," said Manglai, the deputy headmaster of the Inner Mongolia Agricultural University. "Mongolian horses have remarkable advantages in the areas of endurance, cold resistance and vitality..."

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