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[RC] Regarding the Mongol Derby - Jay Randle

I am not a supported of this event, just because I think it's a pretty stupid thing to do.  However other people who wish to do stupid things like this seem to think it is a great idea!
Here are a few comments from Katy Willings, who is entered in this Derby, and who has a blog on the Horse and Hound website.  She rode with a lady named Karen this past weekend, and Karen has previously ridden in Mongolia over part of the Derby course.  Here are Katy's comments:
"Maggie had arranged for me to ride with another of her On the Hoof Distance Training protégées, Karen, who has a small dynasty of very beautiful Arabs, and several thousand acres of Forestry Commission land on her doorstep. Even better, she has herself just returned from Mongolia where she completed the Brook Animal Hospital charity ride, which covered part of the Derby course, and so was able of offer a wealth of useful information about the horses, the riding, equipment and environment.


We did a 3¼ hour training ride together, as ever looking for the optimal rhythm in which the horse can flow forwards in balance and conserve energy. Karen's horses go beautifully, always thinking forwards and concentrating on the lie of the land in front of them. I was also lucky to ride Kelly in a Barefoot saddle, which is what we have been provided with for the Derby. They are treeless saddles, and incredibly lightweight and flexible, and I found this one fantastically comfortable which is a huge relief. We come back fresh as a daisy.


Karen was very encouraging about the Mongol horses. Having been fed a few horror stories about ribby little ponies buckling under the weight of hefty Westerners and all their electrical gubbins it was a relief to hear her account of fit, workmanlike and enthusiastic (and yes, little) horses, who really were as tough as their formidable reputation would indicate. They are intelligent enough to rest, eat, drink and get comfortable when they are not working, but always ready to work when commissioned into service. She found that some were happier in a swinging trot, whilst others preferred to be in canter, but that the principles of good riding applied there as anywhere else in the world, and they went well for a rider with feel who could work with what they were sitting on. She was quite starry-eyed when talking about her trip, which I always think is a good sign. "

Best regards

Jay Randle

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