Mongolia Monday- Explorers and Travelers: Owen Lattimore On How To Ride A Camel

My first camel ride in Mongolia, September 2006. No, I didn't fall off.

My first camel ride in Mongolia, September 2006. No, I didn’t fall off.

Owen Lattimore’s books are filled with information and lore about all kinds of things that one would encounter traveling with Mongols back in the 1920s, including the fine art of riding a bactrian (two-humped) camel.

“I have never been thrown by a camel when I was really trying to stick on unless the girth gave. Camels are too awkwardly built to do any fancy bucking, but when they do their best they can almost always burst the girth, because it is a healthy principle of camel-riding that the girth should always be weak. If the rider should be caught with a foot jammed in the stirrup when thrown or when the camel has managed to sling the saddle around under its belly it would be very serious. It is better to have the girth part and to be thrown clear, even though the fall is much higher than from a horse. As a matter of fact, the greater fall seems to let you hit the ground with muscles relaxed. I do not remember feeling badly shaken when falling from a camel, and the Mongols say: “Fall from a camel-nothing to worry about; fall from a donkey-break your leg.”

From Mongol Journeys

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