Sunday, March 2, 2014
Central Asian Gobi Desert and its horse fodder
today a quick jump over to Central Asia :)
I have in my possession this great book by Mr Gladtiz Horse Breeding in the Medieval World (1997), and in there, amongst the mountains of facts and stories, the author gives information on the flora suitable for horse within the dry steppes of the Gobi.
So allow me to quote some of his research, as in my opinion it is interesting and enriching our knowledge on possible horse environments of Eurasia etc:
Trans Altai Gobi - without life until the coming of summer rains, and its fodder consists of saltworts, bor-budurgan, Gobi feathergrass and onion. Here the horses can dig in the salt-brine pans and then drink the water that gathers there. Then they feed on tamarisk, wormwood (artemsia incana) feather grass (both stipa capillata and stipa gobica), deris (lasiagorstis splendens) white roots of rhubarb, varios bulbs such as tulipa uniflora, anabasis (anabasis brevifolia - used to fatten camels), caragana pygmaea, Rheum leucorhizum, zygophyllum xanthoxylon, Reaumuria soongorica (but this one is of little value to horses), and also stipa orientalis where conditions permit. In the steppe that borders Trans Altai Gobi the foodstuffs for horses might include Stipa Capillata and stipa gobica, couch-grass (Agropyrum cristatum) feather-grass, motley grass, in more desert steppe Gobi feather-grass and onions (Allium polyrrhizum, Alllium mongolicum), sheep's fescue or baglur (Anabasis brevifolia).
Wild horses lived there, and from the medieval sources we learn that in the X century Kansu Uigurs hunted them, so the wild horse is listed as the part of the list of products of these territories.
Wild asses or Khulans of Mongolia
I used Kmuser and Schreiber map from wikipedia..