Gavin Gough
Editorial, Humanitarian & Travel Photographer
Mongolian nomad herding horses

Nomadic Life in Mongolia

Editorial, Magazine Article, Travel

Baak and Batjarjral are nomads. The brothers have travelled on the Mongolian Steppe all their lives.

Scanning the Mongolian steppe

Scanning the Mongolian steppe

Dolgormaa, a Mongolian nomad, scans the distant horizon with a monocular, looking for members of her family returning to the camp.

 Tsatrl, a policeman, with his wife, Tsoglmaa, holding a portrait of themselves outside their ger tent on the Mongolian steppe.

Tsatrl, a policeman, with his wife, Tsoglmaa, holding a portrait of themselves outside their ger tent on the Mongolian steppe.

Helping with the milking

Helping with the milking

Delgr Tuya is six years old. When she is not at school, she helps with the family chores, carrying the milk back to the nearby ger tent.

Inspecting horses in the corral

Inspecting horses in the corral

Delgr Tuya and her grandfather inspect the family horses in a corral near their nomad ger tent.

Morning milking on the Mongolian steppe

Morning milking on the Mongolian steppe

Dolgormaa milking a cow whilst chatting with a friend.

Sawing logs outside the family ger

Sawing logs outside the family ger

Baak Tulge uses a chainsaw to saw logs outside the family ger tent. Baak's family travel with Baak's older brother, Batjarjra. Both families move location four or five times each year, depending on the season.

Checking the livestock

Checking the livestock

Brothers Baak and Batjarjral check the livestock as one sheep leaps into the air.

Mongolian nomad on the wide, open steppe.

Mongolian nomad on the wide, open steppe.

Baak Tulge has always led a nomadic life, moving his home several times each year, taking his family and livestock with him.

Rounding up horses

Rounding up horses

Baak, an expert horseman, uses a noose on the end of a long stick to catch and corral his family's ponies.

Breaking-in horses

Breaking-in horses

The Mongolian nomads are expert horsemen but breaking-in a wild horse can sometimes be a painful process.

Corralling the horses

Corralling the horses

Tuul Tulge helps to corral the horses at the end of the day, bringing them back from grazing pasture to the safety of a corral near the family's ger tent home.

Tsatrl, a Mongolian nomad is also a policeman.

Tsatrl, a Mongolian nomad is also a policeman.

Tsatrl is a policeman but also keeps livestock and still leads a traditional nomadic life.

Inside the ger

Inside the ger

Grandfather Batjarjral Tulge plays with his granddaughter in the warmth of the interior of the family ger tent whilst grandmother Dolgormaa prepares the evening meal.

Preparing fermented mare's milk

Preparing fermented mare's milk

Batjatjral prepares fermented mare's milk, which is a staple part of the Mongolian nomadic diet. The surplus is sold, together with cheese, goatskins and sheepskins to supplement the family income.

Mongolian horse tethered outside the family ger

Mongolian horse tethered outside the family ger

The horse is still the preferred mode of transport for Mongolian nomad families, especially over shorter distances.

Traditional saddle

Traditional saddle

A Mongolian saddle is simple and designed to allow the rider maximum mobility. Most riders are comfortable riding without their hands on the reins.

Coming home

Coming home

Batjarjral Tulga returning to the family ger at the end of the day.

Starlit night on the steppe

Starlit night on the steppe

With no light pollution, the remote ger offers a great view of the stars.

Early morning

Early morning

In the morning, Batjarjral Tulge and his family rise early and begin the day's chores; milking cows and mares, caring for the goats and sheep, fetching water from the stream and preparing food for the day's meals.