It’s hard to think of nomads apart from their horse. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Mongolians are born and die on horseback. Horses are loved much more than other livestock. Horsemeat is rarely eaten, but airag, the drink produced from horse milk is widely consumed.
A person with many horses or with a very fast horse is considered to have a higher status than his peers.
Horse races, betting on horse races and horse auctions are widespread. No animal except the horse is embellished with priceless decorations. Mongolians like to present horses to honorary foreign guests, statesmen and fast breed foals to children of relatives and friends. But the guest should know that the horse presented as a gift should not be taken away from the herd, and therefore leaves the newly presented gift with its previous owner. The horse, however, takes part in races with the name of its new owner. Currently, Mongolia’s wealthy businessmen appear to have become interested in revitalizing the interest in horses with many starting to collect selected fast breeds. They give their masters joy and pride when they win and become the focus of attention. At the finish line, the audience rushes after the winning horse to swipe a drop of its sweat to put onto one's forehead, which is beleived to bringing good luck.