Many countries who rely on horses for work and transportation also use them for nourishment. In fact, mankind has probably been drinking horse milk longer than they have cow milk.
Very few western cultures drink horse milk, but further East it’s fairly common. The Mongol culture has long been dependent on their equines for nourishment & the custom is also practiced in neighboring countries of the Central Asian steppes.
Interestingly enough around 85% of the people in these Central Asian steppes are lactose intolerant. Mare’s milk has almost 40% more lactose than cow’s milk, which means that in it’s unfermented state it makes a great laxative.
These cultures who milk mares generally use it to make kumis which is a mildly alcoholic fermented drink.
Fermentation of horse milk converts the lactose and makes it an accessible source of nourishment. The process can take a few hours to a few days and consists of agitating raw milk in hide bags.
The result is a carbonated and mildly alcoholic beverage that is light in body compared to most dairy drinks with a slightly sour flavor.
Kumis has a low level of alcohol but can also be strengthened through freeze distillation into a spirit called araka or arkhi.
All I Have To Say Is…
Even though people have been doing it for hundreds of years, it’s still strange to see a horse doing a cow’s job.