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Saturday 14th to Sunday 29th September 2024


We are very excited to invite you to join us on our 2024 Learning Wild trip to Mongolia to observe and learn about the iconic takhi (Equus ferus ssp.Przewalskii). This once in a lifetime experience offers a rare and immersive journey through a wonderful country and an opportunity to directly study and learn from and about the world’s last truly wild horse.


Just over three decades ago, in 1992, the fierce hearted, ochre hued primordial takhi were returned to their historical home in the Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area (Gobi SPA) which is in the Mongolian Dzungarian Gobi desert. These equines had been raised on the other side of the world, but they quickly adapted to life on the Steppe and thrived in this wilderness, which is, after all, their natural habitat. Living alongside wolves, khulan (Asiatic wild ass, equus hemionus kulan), goitered gazelles and many other native Mongolian species they soon became integrated within the area and reclaimed their place in the ecosystem they have evolved to inhabit. 


Our Learning Wild courses are designed to provide a unique experience for adventurers from around the world offering opportunities to explore the role of free-living equids in cultures, environments, and histories in a variety of international locations. We attract participants from a wide range of careers and backgrounds which allows us to engage in conversations that take place at all levels. These immersive experiences create unique opportunities to engage with the local peoples and to learn about the needs of the horses who inhabit the land. We firmly believe that, by providing a space in which people can learn about the unique traits of the horses we are visiting, they can better understand the role these horses play in the history of the landscape, the local culture, and the environment and we can find inspiration and ideas to move forward in a more authentic and sustainable way wherever we are in the world. 

This low impact educational travel opportunity to Mongolia will stimulate and satisfy your mind, heart, and soul. We invite you to connect with, and better understand, the local communities who help protect and support this very special ecosystem and its wildlife.

You will have the opportunity to stay in the guest gers (yurts) of nomadic families as they live their everyday life. Your support will help bring desperately needed economic stability to the people who are directly connected to and living alongside the wild takhi.

You will be taken on exclusively guided tours through the protected area and the adjacent buffer zone where you will see the unique biodiversity in this arid landscape and witness the co-existence of wild and domestic animals and their keepers.

Join Dr. Emily Kieson as she conducts research in the social lives of horses and explores applications to domestic equine welfare and developing stronger friendships with our own horses.


Share the experience and enthusiasm for the observational study of free-living horses with Bonny Mealand who is passionate about enabling others to learn from the richness of this perspective. In addition there will be local experts and representatives from relevant organisations.

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Our project partner -  International Takhi Group - who work tirelessly to protect the Gobi B reserve and its inhabitants, will introduce us to the local area, and teach us about their important work. Each Learning Wild booking will support the vital work of this charity. 

Read their latest newsletter


Here's a short video about their work...

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Together we will travel from Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar, to Great Gobi B SPA, a strictly protected area and UNESCO biosphere reserve. The diverse landscape of the area provides a stunning backdrop for our Learning Wild course, with wide Gobi steppe, canyons, and mountains surrounding us as we learn.

Once in the Great Gobi B SPA, we will immerse ourselves in the lives and culture of local herders. Nomadic herders co-exist and share resources with the wildlife of the area. Their culture is rooted in nomadic tradition, where herders migrate between spending the winter in the Gobi plains and the pastures of the Altai mountains in the summer.


We will visit their summer camps to learn first-hand about the daily routine of the herders. Activities will include shadowing herders as they tend goats and sheep, milking livestock, and preparing milk products. We will visit a domestic horse breeder and learn about traditional methods of keeping horses in Mongolia. Here, the domestic horses are also allowed to roam free.

The main focus of our Learning Wild experience will be studying and observing the wild life of takhi and you will also have the opportunity to spend time with the people who are responsible for protecting and studying this population. With over 20 years of records and observations the biologists and conservationists have a wealth of information and experience to share - experience based on their deep connection and enthusiasm for the takhi themselves.

You will be taken on field trips and also have the rare privilege of spending some nights camping at two different oases where you will observe wild horses and khulan at sunrise and sunset. This special place is the only area where you can see both takhi and khulan, together in the same wild habitat. At each oasis animals come to drink and forage on different nutritious vegetation in this sparse environment. It is a bird haven and if you are lucky you may see wolves.


You will be able to become involved in the research which involves techniques such as tracking and observing wildlife, setting camera traps, analysing data, and shadowing local rangers. Studying equines will be our focus, but we will also be able to see the other fauna in this biodiverse area when the opportunity arises. The area is home to several other rare large mammals, such as Siberian ibex, snow leopard, grey wolf, Eurasian lynx and goitered gazelle.

  • Home to the takhi once extinct in the wild and reintroduced back to Great Gobi “B” SPA where they were last seen in the wild in the 1960s.

  • Second global stronghold of the Asiatic wild ass (khulan) another member of the wild horse family. GGBSPA is the only area where you can see these two members of the wild horse family in the same habitat.

  • Breath-taking scenery with small green oases on the golden Gobi plains against the background of the Altai mountains in a true wilderness setting.

  • Home to several other rare large mammals: Argali wild sheep, Siberian ibex, goitered gazelle, grey wolf, snow leopard, Eurasian lynx, pallas cat, red fox and corsac fox.

  • Large diversity of small mammals and birds.

  • Many endemic plant species can be observed along with the Dzungarian Saxaul.

  • Home to a nomadic herding culture still very much rooted in a nomadic tradition where herders migrate between the Gobi plains where they spend the winter and the lush summer pastures in the Altai mountains.

  • The area is also home to a minority of traditional Kazakh herders with their differently shaped and elaborately decorated gers.

  • No paved roads, powerlines, light pollution or other signs of modern civilisation - not even airplanes fly over this region.

  • The night sky is almost unbelievable, and with no light pollution and a vast panorama you’ll want to stay up all night!


The Mongolia Experience 2023


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Dalaitseren (Dalai) Sukhbaatar
holds a MSc and BSc in Zoology from the National University of Mongolia. Since 2017, he has been working as a Takhi researcher.

His father was a former director of this protected area and Dalai grew up with the wild horses. He is proud to play an important role in the survival of this species.

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Dagvasuren (Dagvaa) Gerelchuluun
is a ranger of the Great Gobi B SPA.
He grew up in a herder household in the wide Gobi steppe. He loves riding his domestic horses and exploring the unique wilderness.

Dagvaa is enthusiastic about observing wildlife every day and he will share many insights about this region and its inhabitant with you.

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We recommend that, if possible, you arrive a day early and leave a day late so that you have a buffer either side of the course dates as travel around Mongolia can sometimes be disrupted. This also gives you some additional time to take a look around friendly and fascinating Ulaanbaatar.


Departure from Frankfurt

Friday, 13th September

Saturday, 14th September

DAY 1: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar and transfer to hotel. Afternoon: enjoy greetings lunch and short city tour taking in the National History Museum and Sukhbaatar Square. Overnight in a hotel.

DAY 2: Transfer to Khovd

Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to airport for domestic flight to Khovd. Departure time: 11:05
Arrival time in Khovd: 12:05
Upon arrival transfer to hotel. Overnight in a hotel.

Sunday, 15th September

Monday, 16th September

DAY 3: Takhiin Tal

Breakfast at the hotel and drive to Takhiin tal. Picnic lunch on the way. Arrive in Takhiin Tal.

DAY 4 - DAY 12:

Takhiin Tal
Observation, study,
and experience!

Tuesday, 17th September to Wednesday, 25th September

Thursday, 26th September

DAY 13: Transfer to Khovd

Drive to Khovd through Bodonch canyon. Upon arrival transfer to hotel. Overnight in a hotel.

DAY 14: Ulaanbaatar

Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to airport for domestic flight to Ulaanbaatar.
Departure time: – 12:45
Arrival time in Ulaanbaatar: 15:30
Upon arrival transfer to hotel.
Dinner and overnight in a hotel.

Friday, 27th September

Saturday, 28th September

DAY 15: Ulaanbaatar

Breakfast at the hotel and full day city tour including Gandan Monastery, Choijin Lhama Temple Museum, Bogd Khan Winter Palace, Zaisan Memorial Hill, shopping opportunity at Gobi cashmere Factory Store, and folklore show. Overnight in a hotel.


Breakfast at the hotel
and transfer for departure.

Sunday, 29th September

(9 days field workshop in the GGB SPA and
7 days journeying and exploring Mongolia)

This is currently a flexible schedule which will be confirmed closer to the trip.

Follow this link to read about the experience of a participant of the 2023 Learning Wild trip to Mongolia - Living History: Saving the world’s last wild horse

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Bonny Mealand (Touching Wild) qualified as an Equine Podiatrist in 2005 and has been committed to understanding, implementing and promoting a whole horse approach to health and well-being ever since. Bonny specialises in working with wild, free-living equines and “difficult” domestic equines by building trust and helping them learn to be handled in a low stress way.


A short clip of Bonny working with some Takhi (equus prezwalski) can be
viewed here -
BBC Inside the Zoo.

Bonny is committed to constantly learning as much about and from equines as possible and believes that it is possible to define what a life of quality looks like at both a species and individual level. She then uses this perspective to implement a high standard of welfare into their domesticated lives. She is also a retained Firefighter, Somatic Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher, and BHS Welfare Advisor and is a MSc student at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies) studying  Equine Science.


She is also a retained Firefighter, Somatic Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher and BHS Welfare Advisor and is a MSc student at the Dick vet (University of Edinburgh) studying  Equine Science.


To learn more about Bonny’s
work please click here:

Touching Wild  |  Facebook  |  Instagram


She is also the UK representative
of the world renown Equine Ethologist Lucy Rees


Emily Kieson (Equine International) holds a PhD in Comparative Psychology, a MS in Psychology, and a graduate degree in Equine Science.


Her research focuses on equine behavioural psychology, equine welfare, and horse-human interactions as they apply to both horse owners and equine-assisted activities and learning programs. Her current research focuses on equine affiliative behaviours to study how horses create and maintain social bonds and how those can overlap with human affiliative behaviours to create authentic lasting friendships between horses and humans.


She also has a passion for supporting sustainable systems of horse management and husbandry that promote physical and psychological welfare of the horse while simultaneously supporting sustainable ecosystem practices on small and large scales (for both feral and domestic equids).


To learn more about Emily and Equine International please click here:
Equine International

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The whole experience costs £5450 per person

Secure your place with a non refundable deposit



Payment of the remainder balance of £4675 to be paid by 12th August 2024 (1 month before the trip)

International flights and visas are not included.
See below for full details.

Maximum Participants - 12


INCLUDED in the Course Cost

The following costs are included in
the price of the experience:

  • All accommodation during the trip - Simple hotels (in Ulaanbaatar & Khovd). Sleeping in traditional Mongolian yurts or tents in the camp in Takhiin Tal.

  • All the educational teaching and materials.

  • All meals during the trip. 3 meals/day and snacks full board with our own cook. Water/tea/coffee. Typical Mongolian kitchen (vegetarian dishes on request). Meals cooked by a local herder family. Water in sufficient quantity.

  • All domestic transfer services (flight, car, etc.). Cars and drivers are organised by the tour operator

  • Border certificate for the border region

  • Drivers with all-terrain car

  • Entrance fee Great Gobi B

  • Project contribution Great Gobi B

NOT INCLUDED in the Course Cost

The following costs are not included in
the price of the workshop:



The management of GGB SPA and
ITG point out that no emergency evacuation can be carried out by
the GGB SPA team.

It is advisable to take out international
health insurance and accident insurance.

The logistical arrangements in Mongolia are organised the the local tour operator:

MonDiscovery Tours


Collaboration between Touching Wild with Bonny Mealand and
Equine International with Dr Emily Kieson
International Takhi Group and Great Gobi B Spa

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Learning Wild courses are kept small to allow for higher levels of participation by atendees. Once a spot has been paid and reserved, it is no longer available for other potential participants and we oten have to turn people away. As a result, we have strict cancellation policies. For UK-based events participants wishing to cancel can get 50% of their paid amount refunded if they cancel before 30 days prior to the event. There is no refund given if participants cancel within 30 days of the event.

Any participant wishing to cancel may request that their non-refundable payments be carried over to a later Learning Wild course. The location and date of the Learning Wild course to which the credit can be transferred does not have to be declared at the time of cancellation. Individuals wishing to apply credit to a Learning Wild course should contact the course schedulers as soon as they know what course to which they would like to apply the credit. Learning Wild does not reserve spots in courses for any participant there are no guarantees of spots for people holding credit.

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