The Mongol Derby is the longest, toughest horse race in the world. It’s the Khaan’s mother of equine adventures, a 1000 km multi-horse race across the epic wilderness of the Mongolian steppe. Its mammoth network of horse stations is a recreation of Chinggis Khaan’s legendary empire-busting postal system.
The planet’s toughest equine adventure across Mongolia with 26 riders and 700 horses has set a new and ground breaking benchmark! Recreating the network of horse stations Chinggis Khaan used to deliver messages across continents to facilitate a 1000 kilometre multi-horse race has raised many an eyebrow in the equine world.
Brüttisellen, 17.9.09 (mk) On 22nd August 26 riders saddled up to take on the wild and stunning Mongolian steppe, swapping horses and undergoing a veterinary inspection at each of the 23 horse stations positioned 20-40 km apart along the course. Well within the two weeks allowed the pioneering riders from around the world, including one Mongolian rider, made adventuring history.
Just over 7 days after the start from the Great Khaan’s ancient capital, Kharkorin, the first two riders completed what many thought was impossible.
South African architect Charles van Wyk, 28, was joint winner along with Mongolian rider Shiravsambo Galbadrakh, reaching the finish line in Dadal on Saturday 29th
Charles said: “The hospitality and welcome of the Mongolian people was amazing. We have been brought into their homes and looked after like members of their family, it felt like being at home. Overall it has been a great experience to live in the steppe and ride Mongolian horses”.
The two winning riders beat a field of26 highly experien- ced equestrians from ten different countries round the world including Argentina, Spain, USA and the UK. There we brilliant idea for an adventure and the horses were awesome. Some of the horses were pretty wild and feisty … but they were really fun to ride. “At the finish line if you’d have said ‘off you go, ride back 1000 km’ I would have done it, definitely! And it wasn’t just me – there were a few people that said that.”
27 year old Annelie Simmons from London, UK said at the end of the race: “I was consistently amazed and overwhelmed by the strength and tenacity of the Mongolian horses; they were tough,hardy and strong. There was never a single point whereby I felt we were asking too much of them, if anything we could have ridden harder and faster but I treated each horse as if it was my own – with care and respect.”
Two riders unfortunately suffered concussion and one of those also sustained back injuries after falling off their horses in the first stages of the race so they had to withdraw. Champion jockey Richard Dunwoody rode the first two legs of the race before returning to the UK due to prior commitments. A further rider received medical attention after a fall but was deemed fit and healthy to continue.
That left 23 riders in the Derby after two days of racing and they were all reunited when the final three riders crossed the finish line together on Wednesday September 2nd, just in time for the rescheduled party. The arrival ceremony and celebrations were brought forward after the riders finished the race faster than everyone expected.
All the other riders were on the finish line to welcome the final three in and witnessed the completion of an outstandingly successful first edition of the Mongol Derby.
Jenny Weston, an FEI accredited 4* endurance vet was one of the team of world class foreign vets flown into Mongolia to oversee the extensive horse welfare and veterinary provi- sions for the race. There were no equine emergencies during the Mongol Derby and all the vets involved had much posi- tive feedback for the organisers after the race.
“FIGHT TO MAKE THE WORLD LESS BORING” the adventurist
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