Catching animals: a complex form of collaboration between the "lasso-pole horse" (uurgach mor') and its rider among the Mongolian herders
Paper short abstract:
Mongolian herders usually catch their horses with a lasso-pole (a wooden pole ending in a leather loop). Using the lasso-pole while riding requires the use of an other horse, specially trained to assist its rider. This case-study highlights a form of complex collaboration between human and horse.
Paper long abstract:
In an almost fenceless environment, Mongolian herders often catch their animals with a lasso or, more frequently, with a lasso-pole. The lasso-pole ("uurga" in Mongolian) is a three to seven metre-long wooden pole with a leather noose at the end. In theory, the lasso-pole can be used to catch all kinds of domestic animals (horses, camels, cattle, sheep an goats) but in practice it is especially used to catch horses. The catcher can use the lasso-pole on foot or on horseback. Catching a horse while riding requires the use of another horse that is specially trained to assist its rider. While the rider concentrates on holding the lasso-pole and inserting the loop over the horse's head, his "lasso-pole horse" ("uurgach mor'" in Mongolian) follows the horse his rider is trying to catch and "makes a sitting" as soon as the rider starts to pull on the lasso-pole in order to stop the captured horse. In their herding practices Mongols give their animals, especially horses, a high degree of autonomy. When riding, herders encourage the horse to take initiatives and they rely on the horse's agency. A study of the coordination of a rider and his "lasso-pole horse" highlights a form of complex collaboration between human and horse.
The meaning of horses: perspectives on intra-species communicative becoming