Milking a mare – гүү саах
How to milk a mare? Stay away from the hooves and have a strong guy holding the colt. During my four week stay with the family I was only allowed to milk one or two friendly mares. The horses are half wild and every once in a while a mare or colt will kick someone in the shoulder or leg. But horse milk or саам (saam) is the one ingredient of the national drink of айраг (airak). It is a fermented and mildly alcoholic drink that is produced during the two summer months that mares give milk. To me it tastes like strong buttermilk (karnemelk for the Dutch) and is supposed to help to clear your digestive system. In my case this meant emptying my stomach with a sunset view. The Mongolians love it and drink it especially around the Naadam festival.
So how is it done? This season all 21 mares gave birth to a colt. Mother and child stay together during the night and in the morning all are round up and sent into the paddock. The colts are then captured and tied to a line on the ground. A tricky business as the colt is almost as strong as the man and does not want to move to the line or lower its head.
1 Өлзийбүгэн takes a colt to its mother and let it drink for about 10 seconds, often making a sound like gorooooooo or aoooruus.