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2015 Mongol Derby: the world's toughest race

Mongol Derby: A long and arduous trek

Stuff.co.nz - Full Article

Cambridge man Patrick Sells said the toughest horse race in the world was an experience of a lifetime

A broken toe, several damaged joints and 1000km later, Cambridge vet Patrick Sells is back after completing the toughest horse race in the world.

Sells was one of four New Zealanders to finish in the top seven and he made a record on the way - completing a 34km leg of the race, over two mountains, in just 78 minutes.

The race saw more than 30 competitors race across the Mongolian desert on the backs of half-wild steppe ponies.

"The risk of death was very real. I'm really surprised no one has died in the derby yet. It lived up to its billing as one of the world's hardest endurance races ... it was extremely tough, physically and mentally," he said...

Read more here

The Hunger Games on horseback: Five ways to survive the Mongol Derby

CA.News.yahoo.com - Full Article

By Liz Brown | Daily Brew – Wed, 2 Sep, 2015

Attempting the longest, toughest horse race on earth is not an effort to be taken lightly. The Mongol Derby is a 1,000-kilometre race starting east of Ulaanbaatar and ending near Lake Hovsgol in Siberia – at least that was the route this year - aboard semi-wild horses. Each year around 40 international riders gather in Mongolia to try their skills and luck at the event. Up to 40 per cent won’t finish due to injury and exhaustion. I was one of the lucky ones, crossing the finish line after riding 28 different horses for nine straight days.

My journey began 12 months previous, when I came to the conclusion I needed an adventure to break the tedium in my life (working as a copy editor, I’m more desk jockey, then, well, real jockey). For the next year I dedicated my life to training for the race and raising the funds to pay the $17,000 entry fee. I grew up on a farm and have been riding since I was five years old, so I figured I had enough horse knowledge to see me through the challenge. I knew the race would be tough, but nothing could prepare me for what the Derby threw at me. By Day 3, after heat stroke, wild dog attacks and nasty falls from our wild mounts, we’d nicknamed the race The Hunger Games on Horseback...

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Byeronie Epstein Wins the 2015 Mongol Derby

Theadventurists.com - Full Article

August 11 2015

South African, Byeronie Epstein has just won the Mongol Derby in spectacular fashion. Beginning the day 5 stations from the finish it looked like the race would certainly go into the 8th Day. Byeronie and Elise Poitrinal had other ideas though and reaching HS 27 with less than 3 hours until the course closed reached the decision to ride on.

Given that the changeover would take half an hour this was a brave tactic; arriving at the finish line half an hour after the course closes would give them a 3 hour penalty. Even if they finished in time, presenting a horse with heart rate over 56 bpm after an hour would cost them a penalty too.

Byeronie picked a spectacular horse from the last Urtuu though which carried her much of the stage at 24 kph, meaning a later riding penalty was never a question. She couldn't have chosen better horse, which boasted an unrivaled 21 Nadaam medals (top 5 finishes in seasonal equine festivals).

The horse delivered her to the finish just 30 seconds before Elise but it's heart rate stabilised within just 15 minutes. Our head vet Helen declaring it has the strongest heart she'd ever heard "This horse is a freak; a Mongolian Secretariat. No wonder Elise's horse looks more tired"...

Read more here:

Winning the Mongol Derby - Interview

Theadventurists.com - Full Article

August 11 2015

How does it feel to win the Mongol Derby?

It's quite surreal at the moment, I'm relieved and excited. I'm glad the training has paid off, I've had a phenomenal time, it was a great adventure. I've aches and pains all over my body, on day 3 I blew out my left knee, since then I've been trying to strap it up and have been going through a lot of pain, but it's been worth it.

At what point did you think you might win?

It was very uncertain, it was constantly changing between the six of us who was in the lead. Then at the last checkpoint Elise and I galloped about half the last stretch, and until about 3 km before the finish I had no idea if I would win. I happened to have the faster horse, but Elise was a great competitor.

How do these horses compare with the ones back home?

These horses are phenomenal. I realised that back home we pamper our horses, we worry about what terrain we ride them on, but the derby horses are like machines, over any terrain, it's incredible, I did get a few which wouldn't move and the guys around me helped me, but I got some which were absolute rockstars. They would just go and not stop literally canter the whole way. They were incredible...

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Tucson's Tanaka finishes third in Mongol Derby

Tucson horseback rider finishes third in Mongol Derby

Bloodied but not bowed, Dubai student completes brutal Mongol Derby

Kiwis lose Mongol Derby after last ditch surge - Stuff.co.nz

Kiwi riders finish in top group of 1000km race - Radionz.co.nz

Mongol Derby 2015 - Race Report Day 8

Theadventurists.com - Full Article

August 12 2015

Five more riders finished the derby today. Michele Tanaka, Maxim Van Lierde and Ben Wilks chose to cross the line together, just before 11 am. These guys have enjoyed every minute of the derby and have brought a smile to everyone they've come into contact with.

Braden Cameron and Patrick Stills also rode in at different points through the afternoon, looking like they had a tougher time of it than the five up front but still standing tall. this result gives New Zealand 3 riders in the top 7.

The weather on the course has changed markedly from the first half of the race and our medical crew have gone from treating heat stroke to mild hypothermia...

Read more at http://www.theadventurists.com/the-jibber/2015/8/12/mongol-derby-2015-race-report-day-8

Kiwi man rides like a Mongolian warlord

Stuff.co.nz - Full Article

August 11 2015

Wellington building director Braden Cameron is one of the riders in the lead crossing wild Mongolian plains and mountains in the world's longest horseback race.

The 41-year old is one of three Kiwis leading group of six riders at the end of the sixth day of the gruelling Mongol Derby.

Wife Kezna Cameron said she had not heard from her husband since he started on 5 August.

"They're out in the middle of nowhere and they're having satellite issues," she said.

"Basically they use all their survival skills to stay out and look after themselves..."

Read more here:

Mongol Derby 2015 - Race Report Day 6

Theadventurists.com - Full Article

August 10 2015

At the front of the field Byeronie Epstein and Elise Pointrinal began this morning out on the steppe between HS 19 & 20.

Their riding companions since day 1; Michele Tanaka, Braden Cameron, Ben Wilks and Maxim Van Lierde were half a leg behind, overnighting at HS 19.

Just before midday Byeronie and Elise reached PS1. With Elise due a 2 hour vet penalty and Byeronie free to ride it was unclear if Byerone would wait for the girl she'd ridden so well with so far.

Determined to seize any advantage available though, she pushed on. Elise - somewhat unlucky to get a veterinary penalty when the 5 she was riding with didn't - was left waiting, while the chasing four caught up.

By the time Michele, Braden, Ben and Maxim passed through HS21 Elise's penalty was nearly done and ten minutes later set off in pursuit on a speedy looking paint horse. Chloe reports she was very calm but focused on catching up with the lead...

Read more here:

Mongol Derby 2015 - Race Report Day 5

Theadventurists.com - Full Article

August 9 2015

Early this morning the lead six rode off from HS15 purposefully like knights into battle (BW, BE, EP, BCM, ML & MT).

The chasing pack (PSK, KW, SK, UM & CP) though two stations behind began following at an even greater speed with Sara Klymkowsky clocking an impressive 20 kpm. On arrival at HS14 Patrick was looking euphoric declaring "I've just ridden the best horse in Mongolia".

Meanwhile the going wasn't so good for Devan Horn at HS12. She had made some recovery overnight but not enough to ride on. This is a devastating blow for the young Texan who has been working towards victory here for two years.

A pattern seems to be developing on the steppe this summer. In the cool of the morning the riders push on at a considerable lick, making some impressive miles and having a lot of fun while they're at it. Then it gets to mid-day and in the heat of the sun things start getting tough. Rider begin to tire and start to make mistakes...

Read more here:

Kiwi riders in leading pack in 1000km race

Stuff.co.nz - Full Article

Last updated 19:47, August 10 2015

Three Kiwis, including one from New Plymouth, are in the leading group of six riders at the beginning of the sixth day of the gruelling Mongel Derby.

Maxim Van Lierde, 25, son of New Plymouth sculptor Renate Verbrugge, Braden Cameron from Wellington and Ben Wilks from Katikati were in the leading pack at the end of Day 5 of the 1000 kilometre horse race across the Mongolian Steppe.

The derby website reports there has been a break by the front six at the start of Day 6.

"At the pointy end of the field there's finally been a breakaway from the lead six. Eloise Pointrinal and Byeronie Epstien have peeled away from Michele Tanaka, Ben Wilks, Braden Cameron, and Maxim Van Lierde. So now the battle for the lead is: France/ South Africa followed by USA/ New Zealand/ New Zealand/ New Zealand."

About 30 riders are competing in the race, which follows a route once taken by Genghis Khan. Each day they ride about 100km and change horses every 40km.

The riders are battling weather conditions, unfamiliar terrain and the constant threat of dehydration...

Read more here:

Tucsonan among leaders at Mongol Derby

Tucson.com - Full Article

August 07, 2015 10:50 am • Arizona Daily Star

Michelle Tanaka, the Tucson-born, NYU-educated horsewoman looking to accomplish one of the world's strangest sports feats, isn't just surviving the Mongol Derby. She's leading.

Tanaka is listed among the Day 3 leaders at the event, which traces the mail route of Genghis Khan across the Mongolian steppe. Race organizers say the field, which includes international adventurists and outdoorsmen, will begin to separate in the next few days...

Read more here:

Mongol Derby 2015 - Race Report Day 4

Theadventurists.com - Full Article

August 8 2015

A day on the Mongol Derby is a long time, even this morning the field was very close together with any of 15 riders in contention. Now the top 6 have finally broken away and are 2 stations ahead of the chasing pack.

The leaders (Elise Poitrinal, Bruce Cameron, Michele Tanaka, Byeronie Epstein, Maxim Van Lierde and Ben Wilks) are riding at a tremendous pace and (for now) are riding as a team. So far only Elise is carrying a vet penalty into PS2 (station 21), it remains to be seen if they will split there, before or ride on together until the finish line is within sniffing distance. With a lead of around 70 Km, it's looking less likely the chasing pack will reach them.

Devan Horn has had another attritional day on the steppe. After sitting her penalty this morning she seemed determined to make up time and set of to HS12 like a rocket. Unfortunately she didn't make it much further before falling victim once again to the heat. She hit the 'help' button on her tracker and took refuge with a nearby family while she waited for backup. She was taken back to Station 12 where she's back under medical observation...

Read more here:

Mongol Derby 2015 - Race Report Day 3

Theadventurists.com - Full Article

Day 3 and the cracks are beginning to show. While most have had a good ride in the cool of the morning, by the time the sun reached full strength a lot of them were starting to struggle.

The travails began early for two of the boys camped out. Will Graham lost his horse to a passing herd while saddling up in the morning and had to walk back to HS7 to find a new horse and friendly local to help him recover the wayward steed. Our team on the ground report he took off in pursuit, bareback along with a local on a bike armed with a lasso pole. By not taking assistance from the crew he saved himself a penalty (no penalty given for local help), but did drop 16 places in the field.

Thomas Ellingsen lost his horse in a near identical manner, with his horse running back to HS6. Event Manager Chloe set off to find Thomas and bring him back to his steed. Unfortunately this warrants a 1 hour penalty, but he reports the field dressing on his unmentionables is holding up...

Read more here:

Mongol Derby 2015 - Race Report Day 2

Theadventurists.com - Full Article

August 6, 2015 Mongol Derby

It's been one of the hottest days ever on the Mongol Derby with temperatures around 37c for most of the day. Quite a few of the riders have been treated for heat-stroke and exhaustion but impressively we've had no retirements. That's not to say it's been an easy day though.

All riders who overnighted on the steppe found their horses where they found them and delivered them to the next stations well fed and watered.

There have been a few spills today though. Bruce Chernoff (BCH) had a crunching fall about 10 km after HS4. After being dragged behind his horse for a while he lost it and pressed the 'help' button on his tracker for assistance to recover it. He was saved the further pain of a penalty though as he recovered the horse himself before assistance arrived.

Between HS3 & 4 Simon Pearse (SP) was bucked rodeo-style and was also dragged behind his mount, this time for considerably further, picking up a few lacerations in the process...

Read more here:

Mongol Derby 2015 - Race Report Day 1

Theadventurists.com - Full Article

August 5, 2015
Mongol Derby

After 12 months of preparation for riders and Derby HQ alike the 2015 Derby has launched. For the first time in recent years the start went smoothly and the full field crossed the line. The only cloud on the clearest of horizons was for Jensie Engisch (JE), who's horse disagreed with her bulky saddlebags.

The horse - previously picked by Derby chief Katy as the best of the start line - was reluctant to start with Jensie and her fancy baggage. JE was offered both a new horse and the opportunity to repack. She refused both and despite being one of the last to cross the line, caught up with the pack in about 500 metres, justifying Katy's faith in the horse.

Devan Horn (DH) picked up the 2015 Derby at the same blistering pace her 2013 campaign ended, occupying the front of the field with Uma Mencia (UM) and Catriona Paterson (CP) . She was first through the veterinary check at Urtuu 3 and despite a big fall on the previous leg she decided to kick on...

Read more here:

The start of the Mongol Derby!

Katikati's Ben Wilks started Mongolian Derby

NZHerald.co.nz - Full Article

Thursday Aug 6, 2015

Katikati's Ben Wilks set off on the adventures of a lifetime at 7am yesterday, to compete in the Mongol Derby - the longest and toughest horse race in the world.

During the next 1000 km the 24-year-old will be strapping himself to 28 different horses, riding each for about 40km, riding about 130 km a day.

Some days he will do more, some less.

Earlier this year the Bay of Plenty Times caught up with him on the trip...

Read more at: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11492861

Belgian woman embarks on 1,000 km horse race in Mongolia

Brusselstimes.com - Full Article

05 August 2015
Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)

On Wednesday, Sophie Wilford, a Belgian-French vet, will set off on this year’s Mongol Derby, the longest horse race in the world, 10 days and 1,000 kilometres through the Mongolian steppe. At 10:00 am local time (3:00 am CET), 38 riders will set off for Erdenesant, 200 kilometres west of Ulan Bator. The race comprises 25 sections, each 40 km long, and the riders will be travelling on a different “semi-wild” Mongol horse for each of these stages.

“There is scope for a lot of different potential injuries because this is a very dangerous race, not to be undertaken on a whim,” said Sophie Wilford in a press release. Sophie has teamed up with Sian, a 34-year-old English paramedic, forming the “Steppe Sisters”. The two met in 2014 when they were both part of the Derby ground-team...

read more here:

Mongol Derby: the 2015 Course

Theadventurists.com - Full Article

August 4, 2015
Mongol Derby

The 2015 Mongol Derby start gun fires at 10am (local time). This is the course they'll be racing To balance out the tougher technical ride we're giving the riders a racing line this year

- An extra 3 Urtuus (horse stations) through the hills
- An extra day's racing, winner expected after 8 days
- All new racing line to take the focus from navigation to riding
- A linear course offering more varied terrain ending further north

We wanted to mix things up a bit for the 2015 Derby and our new course looks and feels a world different.

The linear course ending up in the north by Lake Khovsgol should be cooler than in previous years. There will also be a lot more hilly terrain for the second half of the race. Because of the additional demands of the mountains the Urtuus will be closer together.

The additional horse stations together with a longer route are expected to add an extra day to the course. The champion is expected to finish within 8 days (possibly by the evening of the 7th) and the course will close on day 10...

Read more here:

And I'm Off! - Liz Brown

Horse-canada.com - Desk To Derby Blog

by Liz Brown
July 27 2015

Almost 11 months of preparation has brought me here – as you read this I’ll be in the air somewhere over Europe enroute to Beijing and then, after a 16-hour layover, on to Ulaanbaatar.

It’s been another hectic week as I got back to Canada and immediately went about doing the boring Mongol Derby housekeeping stuff – paying my final entry fee installment, squaring away insurance and shopping for the final odds and ends I need (nothing says adventure like battling Toronto crowds as you shop for duct tape and Imodium).

To maintain all the fitness I built up in Moab I went for runs, worked out at the gym and snuck in two rides when I drove back to Brantford to visit my family. Fittingly, my final ride on Canadian soil was on my Canadian Sport Horse Nero, who’s gotten quite fat over the summer. It’s probably the first time I’ve ever been fitter than he is...

Read more here:

Tucsonan's wanderlust leads her to Mongol Derby

Tucson.com - Full Article

July 26 2015
By Jon Gold

In this dog-eats-dog-then-campaigns-for-its-corner-office world, maybe we should be celebrating the wild ones, the carefree ones, the ones who value experience as much as stuff.

World, meet Tucson’s Michelle Tanaka.

Michelle Tanaka, meet world. Oh, you’ve already met.

Michelle has seen the far reaches of the globe, traveled the Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia, planted trees in Australia, fended off creeping hands in dank, dark trains in India and slept under stars, a billion flickering lightbulbs in a black sky.

And now, the 25-year-old will embark on her grandest adventure yet: the Mongol Derby. Between Aug. 5-15, she will trek 600 miles across the wooded plains and sandy dunes of the Mongolian steppe. Michelle will ride 25 semi-wild horses with long tails and thick manes that remain uncut. The arduous journey covers the sophisticated mail route that was created by the great Genghis Khan.

She leaves Sunday...

Read more here:

Dubai horse rider challenges herself to longest endurance race in world: the Mongol Derby
TheNational.ae - Full Article

Nick Webster
July 22, 2015

DUBAI // A Dubai resident is going to be one of only 40 people who next month will take part in one of the world’s most gruelling events.

If not risking life, American University of Dubai finance graduate Uma Mencia will definitely be risking limb as she navigates 1000 kilometres of Mongolian wilderness with just her wits, her horse and possibly a GPS in the Mongol Derby.

Started in 2009, the equestrian endurance test is modelled on the world’s first long-distance postal route established by Genghis Khan more than 700 years ago.

Khan’s delivery system used a network of horse stations spread out through the vast Mongolian Steppe, and the Derby incorporates stops at 25 horse stations 40km apart.

It is there that Spaniard Ms Mencia, who has been living in the UAE for seven years, faces an additional challenge to the distance endurance aspect of the trek...

Read more here:

Local racer hopes to turn small donations into giant Steppe
Tucson.com - Full Article

July 18, 2015 7:58 pm • By Jon Gold

So it turns out the trek of the lifetime takes a little planning.

Later this month, Tucson horsewoman Michelle Tanaka, 25, will take on the Mongol Derby, a brutal journey that traces the mail route of Genghis Khan. The longest of its kind in the world, the race will take her more than 600 miles over the Mongolian Steppe.

The journey to get there might be even harder.

Early on, Tanaka — new to a job at Summit Hut in Tucson and a little too timid to boast about her ambition — left people in the dark about her plans. She puts it simply: “I didn’t want to be that kid.”

But money needed to be raised, particularly for the Canyon del Oro High grad’s two causes — the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Cool Earth, a UK-based organization for rain forest protection — at least enough to meet the fundraising minimum of $1,560...

Read more here:

The Final Countdown
Horse-canada.com - Full Story

Desk to Derby | July 20, 2015
by Liz Brown

The last two weeks have zoomed past and today I realize that in seven days I leave for Mongolia. It’s a bit surreal that my departure is so close now, having spent the last 11 months completely focused on this one goal.

This past week I met another Derby rider – Michelle Tanaka – who drove nine hours from Arizona to come ride with me in Moab. On the first day of her stay, she got kitted out in her Derby gear (giant helmet visor, camelback, and photographer vest OVER the camelback) and hopped aboard a green broke Arabian named Ozi that Meryl and I have been training. Ozi was a bit freaked out, having never encountered a rider resembling the hunchback of Notre Dame and proceeded to scoot and canter laps in the round pen as Michelle tried to calm him.After only a few minutes she said she was ready to hit the trail.

This girl is a lot braver than I, who bailed from Ozi just a week earlier when he did a big spook and bolt at a man in the neighbourhood who was pushing a bucket and pulling weeds from his driveway.

Her gear preparation is also well ahead of mine. She can pack her saddlebag in seven minutes and seems to have prepared for every eventuality...

Read more here:

Tracking Ghengis Khan, 1000km on horseback
NZHerald.co.nz - Full Article and Video

Sunday Jul 19, 2015

Whether it's sky diving or spur-of-the-moment camps in the bush, Katikati man Ben Wilks has always been one to follow his sense of adventure.

Now the 24-year-old plans, quite literally, to follow the tracks of Ghengis Khan in a ten-day, 1000km horse ride across the vast Mongolian steppe.

Completing what is regarded as the world's longest and toughest horse race - and hopefully winning it - could prove the highlight of his life.

Mr Wilks, a life-long rider who trains horses at a Tauranga racing stables, heard about the Mongol Derby from a friend from Northland who managed it two years ago.

His give-it-a-go outlook led him to apply, and he was surprised to find that he and a mate from Taranaki had been chosen as one of 30 riders to contest the challenge...

More here:

Devan Horn, Mongol Derby Veteran, Returns for 'Round Two'

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
July 16 2015

It wasn't in her plans, but Texan Devan Horn will return to Mongolia to contest the 7th renewal of the Mongol Derby on August 5-15. Billed as "the longest and toughest horse race in the world," it traverses the Mongolian Steppe, following part of Genghis Khan's 13th century relay postal system (think the US Pony Express on super steroids), with riders navigating by map and GPS, and changing horses every 40 km at Urtuus, or stations, eating and sleeping with locals in their gers, or eating and camping out in the open. The Mongolian ponies are billed as "semi-wild." Danger and hardships are guaranteed; so is an incredible experience of a lifetime.

The Adventurists, who put on the Mongol Derby, put out a call only weeks earlier to veteran Mongol Derby riders, hoping to fill spots after several dropouts for this year's Derby. "After some hard thinking, some meditation, a couple of cocktails, and some of the most rigorous fitness testing I've ever put my body through, I've decided it's time to pick up the proverbial sword again," Horn said.

It was the 2013 Mongol Derby, where Horn crossed the finish line first after riding a ‘near immaculate race’, but received a 2 hour penalty when her horse did not pulse down in the required time, which gave the victory to Britain Lara Prior-Palmer, second over the finish line an hour later.

Despite the short notice, Devan is ready to have another go. "In 2013, I rode with all my heart and all my strength. This year, my heart and my strength are far greater, and I mean to ride as best I can."

Mongol Derby participants are required to raise money for charity, and Horn's chosen charity is the Houston SPCA, a place near and dear to her heart.

Over 20 riders from around the world (USA, United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Sweden, Netherlands, France, Canada, Norway, South Africa) are expected to participate.

Mongol Derby Prep: A Bad Break
Horse-canada.com - Full Article

Desk to Derby Blog - Liz Brown
July 7 2015

While training for the Mongol Derby I’ve continuously tried to find the balance between pushing myself and keeping my body intact so I arrive at the start line as healthy and fit as can be. All that went to hell last week as I had a minor accident that left me with an injury that’s going to hinder me in Mongolia and is making my training in Utah significantly more painful and difficult.

On Wednesday, Christoph, Meryl (the French intern) and I trailered three horses to the mountains to do some altitude and incline training to get these horses ready for Tevis (a famous 100-mile endurance ride in the southwest U.S.). It was meant to be a fast 40 kilometre ride, snaking up a mountain and back down again.

I was riding Dunny, a Quarter Horse Arab mare with lots of go who likes to pull. We had just started, only three kilometers in, and were trotting along a rocky incline. Dunny was focused on the horses ahead of her and was pulling a little. I was just about to half halt her back when she tripped over a rock and almost did a face plant on the trail. As she lurched forward, I instinctively put out my left hand to prevent myself from flying over her head, but at the moment I stuck my hand out, she regained her footing and shot back up, her neck flying back into my outstretched hand. I heard a pop and then felt the pain. She’d jammed my baby finger back...

Read more here:

New Zealand: Cambridge horsemen to ride Derby
Stuff.co.nz - Full Article

Last updated 14:25, June 30 2015

The Mongol Derby is the longest and most dangerous horse race in the world, and two Cambridge men are preparing to take it on.

In August, Maxim van Lierde and Patrick Sells are taking on the challenge that will see them cover 1000km in 10 days on the backs of half wild mongolian steppe ponies.

The event, organised by a group called The Adventurists, doubles as a fundraiser for charity.

Each competitor must raise at least $1000 for a charity of their choice and another $1000 for Cool Earth, a charity that works with villages to stop rainforest destruction.

Van Lierde has chosen to raise money for the Waikato branch of Riding for the Disabled because he had seen first-hand the joy it give people.

He was looking forward to the challenge, and said: "Every 40km we get a new horse, so that keeps the horses fresh and they have to pass a vet check at each station..."

Read more here:

New Zealand: Maxim says sponsorship will help him win the Mongol Derby
Stuff.co.nz - Full Article

Last updated 16:23, June 15 2015

Maxim Van Lierde has taken his sponsorship from horse feed company MaxWin as an omen for success in one of the world's toughest horse races.

The former New Plymouth man is putting the final preparations in place for his race in the Mongol Derby – a 1000 kilometre race across the Mongolian Steppe in August.

Van Lierde, 25, son of New Plymouth sculptor Renate Verbrugge, has received sponsorship from Thailand-based horse feed company MaxWin, which will cover the majority of his expenses.

He sees MaxWin's support as a good omen because he intends going over there to win, just like the name of his sponsor suggests...

Read more here:

New Zealand: Hamilton woman given last minute chance to ride in the Mongol Derby
Stuff.co.nz - Full Article

Last updated 19:02, June 3 2015

A Hamilton woman has been given a last minute chance to take part in the world's longest horse race, but she needs a leg-up to get there.

Isabella Campbell made a late entry to the Mongol Derby, a 1000 km race across the wild Mongolian steppe following Genghis Khan's postal route. She found out she was accepted last week as one of 40 other riders from around the world.

"Generally just over half the people make it over the finish line, so making it over that finish line is a massive goal, it's basically my life dream..."

Read more here:

World’s toughest race back for seventh year
Horseandcountry.tv - Full Article

By Charlotte Ricca-Smith on 28th-May-2015

The world’s toughest and longest race is back for its seventh year, with 41 riders from 14 countries riding 1000km across Mongolia on semi-wild horses.

Range of riders

As well attracting equestrian professionals, this year’s Mongol Derby features a range of competitors from paramedics to personal assistants.

This year’s race has seven Brits and one Irish rider, in the guise of amateur jockey Paddy Woods (51) from Julianstown, who rode in the derby in 2013, but failed to finish the ride.

The oldest Brit taking part is Iain Hayter (62) from Lymington. He broke his neck riding and was told he should have died, but says he wants to do the Derby “because it’s there”.

The youngest British rider is Sarah Cooksey (30) from Lincoln, who will be racing alongside her fiancé Daniel Reeds (34)...

Read more here:

Great Britain: Engaged Lincoln couple risk horrific saddle sores like this in the world's toughest horse race
Lincolnshireecho.co.uk - Full Article

By CJHall_LE | Posted: May 03, 2015

Experienced horsewoman Sarah Cooksey has persuaded her fiance Daniel Reeds to compete in the world's toughest horse race.

But novice Daniel would be forgiven for being hesitant about the 1,000-kilometre Mongol Derby - because he'll be riding a succession of semi-wild horses and risking serious injury.

The couple, who are engaged and live on Drury Lane in uphill Lincoln, also run the massive risk of horrific saddle sores which could severely hamper their chances of winning the event due to take place in August.

"It's in the Guinness Book of Records for being the world's longest horse race; travelling across 620 miles of Mongolian steppe," said Daniel, 34, who runs New Chapter Marketing and PR based in the city...

Read more: http://www.lincolnshireecho.co.uk/Engaged-Lincoln-couple-risk-saddle-sores-like/story-26435069-detail/story.html#ixzz3ZNOScgTD

Mongol Derby: Young grazier signs up for toughest horse race in the world
17 April, 2015 Bogantungan grazier William Graham at his property west of Emerald, central Queensland. He will compete in the Mongol Derby in August. (Alice Roberts - ABC Local)

A young Queensland grazier is about to embark on the longest and toughest endurance horse race in the world all in the name of charity.

Bogantungan grazier William Graham says he is preparing for the adventure of a lifetime in the form of the Mongol Derby in August; a race that will see him travel 1,000 kilometres in 10 days through the Mongolian Steppe on horseback.

The experienced rider uses horses on his property, west of Emerald in central Queensland, on a daily basis but says nothing will fully prepare him for the challenges of navigating the terrain in Mongolia.

"I'd say I've got a bit of an advantage, I know how to navigate around the bush and can ride for hours," he said.

The track competitors follow is based on the postal route established by Genghis Khan, which saw the mail delivered via a number of horse stations across the country up until the 1940s.

Apart from the distance, riders will also have to battle the rough terrain, semi-wild Mongol horses and an unfamiliar diet of Mongolian local cuisine.

Many riders don't complete the race due to injury or illness.

But William says that's all part of the adventure.

"It might be painful for a while I suppose but the experience and the sense of adventure and the desire to win [will keep me going]," he said.

He says he expects the race to be mentally and physically challenging.

"You're only allowed to ride between the hours of 8.30am and 7.30pm, which is a fair stretch," he said.

"Then you camp with the local tribe wherever you get to and you eat their tucker, so I'm looking forward to a bit of mutton.

"Apparently you have to have a few drinks with them at night time, I don't know what we'll talk about but I suppose we'll find something," he added with a laugh.

The race is run by a United Kingdom-based adventure company, which ensures each horse is only ridden for about 40 kilometres a day before the riders are instructed to swap for another at each station.

Participants have to pay a large sum to take part in the race to cover the cost of the animals, food and support personnel but William is using the adventure to also raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor's Service through donations.

"They've given me a couple of rides over the years and they need a lot of money to keep that outfit running," he said.

"We're not even isolated but for a lot of people the RFDS is a vital service for the bush."

The Mongol Derby will run from August 2 to 16.

If you would like to donate to the RFDS through William's ride, please email the ABC.

[Full story]

Canadians to Contest to the Mongol Derby
Horse-canada.com - Full Article

March 23, 2015
by: Mongol Derby

This is the 7th Mongol Derby, featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest and toughest horse race. The 2015 race features 41 riders from 14 countries – including three Canadians – riding 1,000km across Mongolia on semi-wild horses.

It’s hard, it’s risky, people get injured. But people still come back for more.

The race has seen everyone from MP’s to stunt riders compete – so why do people enter?

Entries for 2015 include phrases such as:

“I want to ride across the fatherland of equine evolution.”

“I believe that The Mongol Derby is a positive event to join as it supports the Mongol horse culture and way of life.”

“I read that the 2014 winner almost pooped in her pants. If it is the price to pay for riding in the Mongol Derby I am in for it.”

As well as the usual smattering of equestrian professionals this year’s line-up features a diverse cocktail of the human race – from solicitors to firemen to nomads…

See the 2015 riders:...

Read more here:

The Mongol Derby is the longest and toughest horse race in the world. The 1000km course recreates Chinggis Khaan's legendary empire-busting postal system, with riders changing horse every 40km, and living with herders or camping under the stars.

Each year around 30 professional, semi-professional and enthusiastic amateur riders compete against each other for the derby crown. To stand a chance of finishing riders must balance survival skills and horsemanship and to stand a chance of winning an extra level of determination and no small amount of luck is required.

Enduring the elements, semi-wild horses as well as unfamiliar food and terrain, completing the derby is an achievement few can boast.

In 1224 man of the millennium Chinggis Khaan set up the world's first long-distance postal transmission system. Using a massive network of horse stations - morin urtuus in Mongolian - his hardy messengers could gallop from Kharkhorin to the Caspian sea in a number of days.

For ten days each August, the Mongol Derby recreates this legendary system, building a network of urtuus at 40km intervals along the entire thousand kilometre course.

Each urtuu will consist of a small collection of gers (canvas and felt tents which the herders live in), a supply of fresh horses, a vet team and a few herders. While you don't by any means have to stay at the urtuus each night, this is a chance, should you want to take it, to get some rest, hang out with the herders, imbibe some airag (mare's milk) and eat an awful lot of mutton.

If you want to streak ahead and sleep wherever you find yourself at moonrise, then the steppe is your oyster and you and your horse can enjoy a romantic night out under the diamond-studded vault.

This is no guided tour, or pony trek. There is no marked course, no packed lunches, no shower block, no stabling. That’s the whole point. It's just you, your team of horses and a thousand kilometres of Mongolian wilderness. And possibly a GPS. The course consists of 25 Urtuus, or horse-stations where you swap horse and refuel. You must change horses at every station and deliver your mounts to their destination in mint condition. But how you navigate between them is where your adventure begins.

We spend many months designing and testing the Mongol Derby un-route, making sure there is enough water available for the horses, enough goosebumps for the riders, and that it will deliver the greatest equine adventure in the world.

While the exact course changes each year, it is likely to encompass the following variety of terrain; High passes, green open valleys, wooded hills, river crossings, wetland and floodplains, sandy semi-arid dunes, rolling hills, dry riverbeds and of course open steppe.