THE NADAAM FESTIVAL
The Nadaam is the biggest traditional event in Mongolia. The games are organized from 11 to 13 July to celebrate the anniversary of the Mongol revolution of 1921. Three major competitions taking place on this occasion: the Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. Women can now participate in archery competitions, and girls can participate in horse racing. Wrestling, however, remain purely masculine. Many travelers prefer to attend the Naadams of the countryside, which usually take place a few days before and after the great Naadam of Ulaanbaatar. The planning of Naadams in the countryside changes every year, and is only known a few weeks before the start of the festivities. You will have more proximity with the athletes and especially, the opportunity to experience this experience in a good-natured atmosphere. You can even sign up for Mongolian wrestling events if you wish. Be careful though, they are good.
The jockeys are children (boys or girls) from 5 to 13 years old, who train for months. Even if the jockeys have an important role, the main objective of the races is to test the horse's skill and endurance.
Unlike western equestrian races, which are pure speed races over a short distance, Mongolian races are more like an endurance cross-country race over distances between 10 and 26 km.