Monday, 15 November 2010

1000 miles across Kazakhstan

I am woefully behind with my posts due to one thing and another, so the first thing to say is that on Monday October 11th, in spite of all my earlier setbacks, I successfully reached my 2010 aim of Kyzlorda. The following day I rode Zorbee on to his winter quarters at Terenozek, 50 kms further along my route. This not only means I have ridden 1000 miles from the Chinese border, but it puts me about halfway across Kazakhstan and nearly halfway to London!
Being Kazakhstan, I suppose it was inevitable that we would not finish without a parting setback, and so it proved. Bakhram had not realised his registration papers were out of date, and he was detained and served with a deportation order by the immigration police. He spent a miserable night locked up in a detention room with a variety of offenders, and was only let out late the following evening after his court appearance. It was not so much of a problem for me as it was the penultimate day of riding and the wonderful Sandy Moir, who is the British embassy 'warden' for the Kyzlorda area, came to my rescue, sorting out overnight accomodation for Zorbee outside Kyzlorda and fetching me in his car.
However it was not such good news for Bakhram as it means he will not be allowed back into Kazakhstan for 5 years. This is what a Kazakhstan deportation stamp looks like ....

Sandy also provided me with a fantastic flat with all mod cons, although after over a week on the road it was the hot shower which was my priority! Here we are in the kitchen...

The last week's riding across the flat steppe was somewhat monotonous and I went through my whole limited repertoire of songs including nursery rhymes ...

though occasionally there was a subtle change of scenery ....

The big excitement was seeing the great Syr Darya or Jaxartes for the first time. Here is Zorbee perusing it from a bridge over an irrigation watercourse leading off the main river. Pony Club children please note this is a demonstration of how NOT to tie up a horse. Zorbee is wintering with Ahmed Davletpayeva, the parent of one of Sandy's Kazakh interpreters - here I am with Ahmed and his wife outside their typical Kazakh house at Terenozek. You may just be able to see Zorbee in a pen at the back of the yard behind us.


  1. I've been meaning to ask, who/what/when/how the nick out of Zorbee's right ear? You weren't THAT hungry, were you?
    Also, you said that you're 1000 miles from the Chinese border (wow!) so how many miles so far, total? Give or take.
    Happy you're home or in Australia or hither and yon. I must admit, riding Zorbee has you looking fit as a fiddle. Glam photos for the book . . . ?

  2. The nicks out of Zorbee's ear are identification marks. Horses are so numerous in Kazakhstan, and horse stealing is common, so identification marking is common, mostly in the form of branding. Zorbee has a rather uninteresting straight line branded on his left flank,(you can just see it in the photo above of him by the Syr Darya) but other horses may have a letter or logo.