Kyrgyzstan and the Jailoo: Four Rides in the Mountains of Heaven by Sue Bathurst

  • Horse & Hound is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Learn more
  • Kyrgyzstan and the Jailoo: Four Rides in the Mountains of Heaven



    Price as reviewed:

    £45.00 for hardback

    Title: Kyrgyzstan and the Jailoo: Four Rides in the Mountains of Heaven
    Author: Sue Bathurst
    Published: 14 November, 2023
    Available as hardback

    View now at amazon.co.uk

    About Kyrgyzstan and the Jailoo

    In 2013 Sue Bathurst went to Kyrgyzstan to ride a horse in the jailoo – the nomads’ mountain pastures. She fell in love with the country, sometimes described as the most beautiful country in the world, and with its people. In this book she not only describes Kyrgyzstan, as it was and is, but tells of four of these horse rides in the Tien Shan and Talas Mountains, travelled with English and Kyrgyz friends.

    During those rides they covered 500 miles by horse; crossed 20 passes, most between 9,000 feet and 13,000 feet; negotiated precipitous gorges and boulder strewn rivers of cascading snowmelt. In 2017 they rode for over 150 miles down the no-go zone, once the frontier between the USSR and China, and still the Kyrgyz/Chinese border. Everywhere they were welcomed by the shepherds and their families.

    This is not only about a beautiful country, illustrated with over 200 colour photographs, 4 graphs and a colour map. It is about traversing challengingly tricky terrain, far from the possibility of helicopter rescue, and seeing, along the way, how the smallest country in Central Asia is rebuilding itself after 115 years of Russian rule.


    This book provides a fascinating insight into the lives of the Kyrgyz nomads for whom the Jailoo is home – and the author who chose to ride hundreds of miles across the incredibly challenging terrain of Kyrgyzstan, far away from any chance of rescue should an injury occur, while in her late 60s and early 70s.

    While taking us along during her four different rides across epic landscapes that the less well-travelled can enjoy a glimpse of through the pictures in the book, the author does a good job of explaining the political background to the country and how this influences those living in the region.

    There were a few places in the book where the passage of time was not entirely clear, as the writer jumped ahead to the following day without explanation, causing me to go back and reread the previous section to see if I’d missed something, but despite that I found the book an interesting and enjoyable read.

    Equestrian readers should also be aware that the horses in the book do undergo moments of hardship, which needs to be considered in the context of the lives lived by the Kyrgyz nomads, so it might not be the ideal choice of relaxing reading for those of a more sensitive disposition.


    A great coffee table book for aspiring adventurers and those who enjoy traversing the routes less travelled.

    View now at amazon.co.uk

    You might also like:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...