|Early morning at Kakiyat's winter homestead. In the early morning hours of darkness a couple of Kakiyat's sons had risen from bed and rode out on the steppe to find the herd of horses, single out our mounts for the day and bring them back to the homestead.
By the time we had finished breakfast most were saddled up and waiting. The saddles were simple and crude but amazingly effective. On our outbound flight across Mongolia we had brought a collection of wood and metal frames and I asked and was told they were saddles.
All was revealed once we arrived at Kakiyat's. The horses back is protected by a thick wool felt pad, made from the same material they make their gers from. Onto this goes the frame of two wooden pallet slats joined together with two iron hoops, one at each end. A padded leather seat pad sits on the top of all of this and the saddle skirts, stirrup leather and girths are attached to the wooden slats. It is all very effective and surprisingly comfortable even after a full day in the saddle.