Here is a post from the Tricycle blog that runs an archive piece from Sienna Craig, author of Horses Like Lightning.
Midsummer in Mustang is bright days and early starts. We’d been riding since dawn. Too many stops for tea the day before had slowed us, yet we needed to reach Jomosom from Lo Monthang in two days and intended to move quickly south. Chandra’s rhakpa, a charcoal-colored mare, was pregnant. She had been trying to keep up all day. Though well-fed and muscle-toned, she struggled up the morning’s passes and was panting by noon, sweat trickling between her ears. The mare was about a quarter of the way through her gestation period, according to Gyatso. A local doctor (amji), he has treated many a horse and was attuned to signs of this new life, half formed, shifting inside her.
The kingdom of Mustang, Nepal – or “Lo” as Mustang is called in Tibetan – is high-altitude steppe and desert, a geography akin to the Tibetan plains to the north. Though closed to foreigners until 1992, Lo has been a trade route and pilgrimage site for centuries. The present king of Lo is twenty-fifth in a lineage of monarchs dating to the fourteenth century. Like people across the Tibetan plateau, Loba (“people from Lo”) rely on trade, agriculture, and animal husbandry to survive. As in other enclaves of Tibetan civilization, the horse in Mustang is at once an indispensable means of transportation, a symbol of wealth, and a religious icon. This region’s rugged terrain, its expanses of wasted, sandy plains, and Lo’s comparatively meager fodder supplies demand that riding horses – more delicate and expensive than yak, sheep, goat, even other porter horses – be guarded against as much hardship as is possible in this difficult landscape.