Symbol of Inner Mongolia gallops in wealth creation
HOHHOT: “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.
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. He learned how to breed horses like his ancestors and has led a well-off life ever since. He earns an annual household income of more than $148 000 (R1.9 million) with the 400 or so horses that he owns.
His revenue mainly comes from holding horse races, domesticating horses, and modifying breeds. Altanochir also turned his farm into a tourist destination and his family built a two-storey villa in 2015, decorated with Mongolian patterns.
Altanochir’s family were traditional herdsman until Altanochir’s father 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 motorbike. With the money from this upgrading of vehicles, Bataar bought the family’s first four-wheel vehicle.
Now, this family of nine owns five cars.
However, the value of these horses decreased from $2.39 million to less than $700 000 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 $2.5m to breed some 2 000 Mongolian horses each year since 2011.
The administration also organised various events involving sport, culture and tourism, building the horse as the symbol of Inner Mongolia.
In 2006, Altanochir traded 10 Mongolian horses for a ferghana horse.
Raising a mixed-blood horse has become a way of becoming wealthy, as they inherit genetic advantages.
Altanochir’s story is a common among Inner Mongolians. In Xilingol League, horse races and beautiful prairies have become a famous exotic destination for tourists.
Over the past 10 years, thanks to efforts of the government and people, horse numbers have increased by 18 000, alongside a rise in living standards. – Xinhua.