They say that everyone in Mongolia is a direct decendent of Genghis Khan. The historic ruler of the Mogul empire and his love of horses is certainly evident across the vast country with herding on horseback and horseback competitions being as popular now as back in the day.
Byambabayar Davaarsambuu is a young herder from Tuv region. He is 21 years old and was born and bought up in the herding tradition. Schooled in his village until he was 13, he then went to secondary school, in UB. From there he went to University to study to be a mining engineer, but this lasted 2 years before he quit and returned to his village to become a herder. “I realised after a while that mining was not a profession I wanted to pursue and the call back to the countryside was too strong”. Byambabayar’s love of horses was also a factor and he soon realised that there would be no one left to inherit his parents’ herd and to carry on the family tradition and business. He justifies his decision to return home by joking that “In my mind, it’s better that mining industry is in deficit of an engineer than countryside is in deficit of a herder!”
We met Byambabayar on a field trip to his village which was part of our Sustainability in the Cashmere Sector Conference in May 2019.
This year Byambabayar was crowned the ‘Best Horseman’ in his village and achieved 2nd place in the overall competition, a prize he is particulary happy with.
Now he knows this was the right decision.