Alexei Naranov, About Horses and Cattle
Evgeniy relays a story about an old mare that dominated her herd.
Having spent six years in Yashaltinskiy rayon, Evgeniy moved back to his native Iki-Burul’skiy rayon. Although horses are usually led by stallions, in Evgeniy’s herd it was an old mare that dominated others. One morning Evgeniy did not find his horses and set out telephoning the neighboring farms. Later it turned out that his horses did not go anywhere but were hiding from him, running from one place to another whenever he passed by. Evgeniy finally found his horses around 15 kilometers away. Led by the mare, the horses were headed back to Yashaltinskiy rayon. He brought the herd back home and tied the old mare to a pole. The horses stayed around her and did not run away.
Evgeniy also had a stallion that had six mares in his herd. The stallion developed a habit of rounding up mares from other herds. One day the stallion brought 15 new mares home.
Evgeniy Dzhokhaev, A Story About Horses
In this interview Evgeniy and Leonid share stories of their experience with horses.
Evgeniy: Horses that graze by themselves almost never fall sick, although they may sometimes damage their legs. Horses are afraid of thunder. During battles Kalmyks regarded their horses as their friends, since their lives depended on them. During times of peace horses were seen as assistants. In the past, Kalmyk children learnt to ride a horse at 3. At the age of 1 children received a horse as a present. In this way, children and horses grew up together. Today even in the farms people use horses less often.
Leonid: Horses can understand the intonation of human speech. They are very smart.
Evgeniy: Livestock that grazes by itself differs from those kept in barns. The latter are stupid. If you treat livestock well and graze them carefully, they multiply quickly. It is not good to keep cows in barns, because they become prone to diseases. Usually it is milking cows that are kept indoors. They eat a lot of fodder.
Evgeniy says that he only keeps calves in barns. The best food for Kalmyk livestock is wild grass and cane. He also points out the importance of selection work among animals.
Evgeniy Dzhokhaev, Leonid Ochir-Goryaev, About Horses
After a race it happens that sometimes horses fall ill because of heart failure, fractured bones, and other reasons. Modern methods of treating horses include intravenous administration of drugs. Traditional methods include putting horses on their feet and giving them a strong black tea. People also read prayers. Horse diseases are treated today with antibiotics. The main reason why horses limp is when they have muscle contractions. In this case, one needs to apply oil to the muscles in question.
Bleeding is also practiced. When a horse runs short of breath, especially during long distance races, its ear is cut open to let blood out. When bleeding stops such horses usually stand up and resume racing. When you see a swelling appear on horse skin, you need to bandaged it with a cloth dipped in salty water. It is also possible to smear the swelling with a red clay and then bandage it. Curing ill horses is not very different from curing people.
Horses are loyal beasts. This story occurred in the Soviet times. A Kalmyk horse was sold to Kazakhstan. Three years later it returned by itself accompanied by other horses.
Ochir Badmaev, About Horse Diseases and Horse Racing
Oleg talks about how Kalmyks trained their horses in the past. It is known that horses can see flying objects and that they are also afraid of snakes. Horse training was based on these two principles. When foals were in, children put snakes inside the enclosures so that the foals would get used to them. As foals grew up, snakes were chopped into small pieces and tied to arrows. Then the young horses were shot with these arrows. When horses saw arrows they jumped aside to avoid. In the past during battles Kalmyk warriors dropped their reins loose so that their horses could avoid arrows by themselves.
Oleg Mandzhiev, How Kalmyks Trained Their Horses
This video shows a practice of taking horses and cattle out to the pasture in the morning. It was videotaped in Gorodovikovskiy rayon in July 2015. The horses are kept in a barn overnight. In the morning, they are checked on and let out to join cows and bulls to graze in the steppe.
Taking Horses and Cattle Out to Pasture
This video shows Kalmyk horses in the Tselinniy rayon of Kalmykia in March 2016.