In Kyrgyzstan, horses are an essential part of everyday life. They are a means of transport, a source of milk and meat, hard co-workers on the fields, and good friends, too. Naturally, kids in the countryside learn to ride a horse very early in life. If you have ever seen a three- or four-year-old next to a horse, you can easily imagine, that the horses are way too tall and strong – even if you have a very gentle horse as your teacher, it is just too dangerous. That is why many children start riding donkeys instead! I was so surprised to see a little child on a donkey roaming around the mountains close to the yurt where the family is living during summer. The child looked so happy and it all seemed so natural. In these moments, the simple life in rural Kyrgyzstan seemed so peaceful and appealing and made me long for those endless summer days in the past, when all you had to worry about was being back home in time for dinner.
Fun fact: Donkeys are often described as stubborn or lazy. But did you know that is actually not the case? The reason they sometimes just won’t move any further is that they are just very cautious. If they do not trust you completely and they spot something suspicious along the way, they will refuse to pass until they are convinced it is safe.