In the words of a herder who lives outside Ulaanbataar, Mongolia’s capital, “We Mongols respect horse as our companion of night and day. The horse is the source of joy and pride of a Mongolian herder. And we are nothing without our horses.”
Beyond Ulaanbataar, the horse is still the main means of transportation. Mongolian children learn to ride when they are as young as three years old. Horse racing is a favorite sport, and young children are often the jockeys, as the Mongolians believe the race tests the horse’s ability, not the rider’s.
If you saw the tension-filled, unedited, almost 13-minute performance of Rigolo Swiss Nouveau Cirque artist Maedir Eugster on Japanese television a few weeks ago — and if you haven’t, you should — then this will look familiar: Balance is a short film by photographer/director Tobias Hutzler, inspired by Eugster’s performance. The edits remove some of the suspense of the act, but tell the story a bit more succinctly.