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Teenager ties himself to horse and survives four days in Kazakh steppe

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Dulat Myrzagaliyev survived four days in Kazakh steppe with no food or water. ©TengrinewsDulat Myrzagaliyev survived four days in Kazakh steppe with no food or water. ©TengrinewsA teenager from a remote village near Aktobe in western Kazakhstan has spent four days out in the steppe with no food or water alone with only a horse for company. Dulat Myrzagaliyev spent most of this time tied to the horseback, tengrinews reports.

This is a story that sounds like an old nomad fairy tale: a boy tries to tame a bucking bronco but the horse gallops away with him on its back. The youngster struggles to survive and returns a hero several days later, exhausted but alive, shaken but stronger than before. With no food or water supplies, he still makes it in the steppe full of wolves.

Myrzagaliyev disappeared on Sunday morning on November 9, according to the Department of Internal Affairs of Aktobe Oblast. The police launched a three-day search operation to find the boy.

The son of a school janitor and a deceased cattleman, 16 year old Dulat grew up in a large family in a remote village named Mamyr. It is so far from the Oblast center, that there is no cellphone network around there.

The boy decided to tame a bronco. He successfully straddled the horse. But the bronco did not give in just then. It sped away carrying the boy on its back into the endless flat of the steppe sprawling to the horizon with little to none direction marks.

"The teenager lives in the village Mamyr in Irgiz district, this is one of the most remote districts (in Aktobe Oblast). To find him, we mobilized police forces, employees of the local administration and Okhotzooprom (governmental wildlife protection organisation) staff," said the head of the press service of Aktobe Oblast Department of Internal Affairs Ardager Uaydin.

While the bronco was carrying the boy aimlessly through the steppe the boy had to tie himself to the horse not to fall down if he doses off to sleep. Tying himself to a horse was probably a life-saving decision for the teenager. Loosing the horse in the middle of nowhere would have meant a sure death not only because of the huge distances but also because the place is crawling with wolves. A horse is obviously better at fleeing from a pack of wolves, then a man on his own two legs. Dulat later said that he was afraid wolves would attack him.   

Besides, the horse offered him some protection from the cold. There was no snow in the first decade of November, but the days were rainy and the nights were cold. The rains probably saved him from dying of thirst, but left him wet in the chilling wind, so the warm horseback felt very welcome in the harsh conditions of the Kazakh steppe.

The boy had to hope that the horse would sooner or later bring him to people and that this would happen before he becomes too weak from hunger and thirst to keep himself in the saddle. Besides, being on a horse improved his chances of being found by search parties  - it is easier to spot a horseman than a person on foot.

The schoolboy was found only on the evening of 13 November. He was noticed by the police officers, who were combing the area together with local shepherds on a tractor near the border with Kostanay Oblast.

"We had a hard time catching that bronco! It did not allow us to approach until we stopped the engine of the tractor. The teenager, surprisingly, was really at home on horseback the whole time," press secretary Uaydin said.

Dulat truly has the blood of nomads running through his veins!

He didn’t panic but carefully calculated his actions during the ordeal. He was afraid to be eaten by wolves and had nothing to eat, but he realised that he had to keep the horse alive and well, too.

"During the day he periodically dismounted, put fetterlock on the horse and allowed it to graze. At night, he made a mat and slept on the ground, as did batyrs (heroes) in olden times," Akim (Governor) of Irgiz District Meyirkhan Duanbekov said.

According to the Governor the boy found people by following fresh tracks of a sheep herd.

A shepherd family recently moved down from a summer pasture and drove their herd to a neighbouring village. Following the tracks the teen caught up with the shepherd’s tractor.

Dulat is now studying in his final year at school. Next year he wants to go to one of Aktobe colleges and study to become an electrician.

November 25 2014, 14:18

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