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2018 Gobi Desert Cup
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Days 1 & 2


4 & 5

2018 Gobi Desert Cup Overall Point Winner: Christoph Schork

The 2018 Gobi Desert Cup was one for the record books. All our riders completed and all horses are healthy and injury free. The riders, officials, and herdsmen came together, United by their love of horses and adventure. We worked together and while some were tested physically, others were tested mentally. Please join us in congratulating our amazing riders: In order of points:

Christoph Schork 

Elodie Maillard

Jeff Stuart

Tania Orlov

Bob Gauthier

Ruth Benney

Allan Horn

Kasmira Graham

Claire McManus

Michael Shaw

Mathilde Schwartz

Stephanie Scott

Jon Heeboll

Amy Eighteen

Cecilia Stone

Howard Kent

Lorie Duff
Wonderful job by all! We could not have asked for a better group.


We are so proud of our teams! The overall team placings are as follows:
1. Team USA with Bob Gauthier, Allan Horn, Christoph Schork, and Jeffrey L. Stuart
2. The Leftovers with Ruth Rm Benney, Tania Orlov, Howard Kent, and Cele Stone.
3. Team New Zealand with Stephanie Scott, Kasmira Graham, and Mathilde Schwartz
4. The Independents with Lorie Duff, Amy Eighteen, Elodie Maillard, and Jon Heeboll.
Fantastic job guys and we couldn’t be prouder!


Day 6 results (the final race!)

Ruth came in at a gallop but slowed just before the finish line, good thing because her fender broke just afterward!

Tied: Bob, Christoph, and Jeff 

Allan walked his horse in with Mathilde who accompanied him for fun since her horse went lame at the 40km mark.

Tied: Elodie, Michael, and Claire

Tied: Stephanie and Kasmira

Tied: Amy, Jon, Peter, and Tania.
Lorie Duff withdrew in course st the 40km due to her previous knee injury and Cele chose not to ride as well.

Gobi Desert Cup: Day 4 & 5

August 29 2018

Day 4:
We are here finishing the fourth day of the Gobi Desert Cup! Today has been the fastest ride yet and all 18 have stuck together through the day with all crossing the finish line within moments of each other.

We had a wonderful day in the national park with the riders enjoying the scenery, which included boulders and camels.

There was a slight hiccup when Stephanie Scott’s rein loosened and she had to go with a single rein for a few kilometers but she did it with a laugh and grace as usual.

Just before the finish line the riders broke apart and went for the finish line and the points. Sadly, we had a few vet out due to heart rate because of this, including the first place finisher Mathilde S.

After getting the placing a for today are as follows:















Vetted out due to heart rate:
Mathilde, Allan, and Pete.

The award for Best Managed Horse on Day 4 is Elodie Maillard! She had a very forward horse that would have galloped the entire track, however she managed to keep her horse at a stable pace and keep him healthy throughout. Congratulations on some great horsemanship!

Day 4 winner of the Best Sportsmanship award is Stephanie Scott! Stephanie had shown throughout the entire ride that she is positive no matter the pace, willing to help other riders, and today while losing a rein, laughed it off and patiently rode on while waiting for us to fix it on track. Congratulations!

Day 5:
Halfway update: we had some excitement this morning, when the horse ridden by Amy Eighteen came up lame on track before the 15km and had to withdraw on track. Not long afterward Cele Stone withdrew because her knees were bothering her again. It was determined that Amy would ride Cele’s horse after vetting through and she would not compete for points.

Just afterward Bob Gauthier’s horse, who was well in the lead, hit soft footing and came up lame, pulling them out at the 30km marker.

The vets have been very happy with how these horses are managed by our riders, and sadly the lameness is not uncommon because of the footing and the Mongolian horses’ conformation and bare feet.

All other riders are traveling well so stay tuned!

Our first riders are in across the finish line! In a gallop to the end Jeff Stuart (US) edged out Elodie Maillard (FR) and Amy Eighteen (AUS) by a nose! We had a hot day over open terrain here in Mongolia, with a nice view of the Trans-Siberian Railroad! We had 15 riders over the finish line today, with one withdrawal on course due to sore knees and one vet out due to lameness. All horses and riders will be okay, and lots of smiles all around!

Congratulations to Claire McManus on winning Best Managed Horse for Day 5! Claire has shown she always puts her horse first over the course of this week and please join us in congratulating her!

Many congratulations to Lorie Duff on winning Best Sportsmanship on Day 5! Lorie is not an endurance rider, and has done many things outside her comfort zone this week, including powering through a sore knee to ride and raise money for the CHEO Foundation at home. All with a smile on her face and no complaints. Congratulations Lorie!

Gobi Desert Cup: Day 3

August 26 2018

The riders are all in for Day 3! What an exciting day for all.

The day started cold and raining but by the time we began, a rainbow promised good luck to the riders.

At the 15km mark, Cele Stone was having knee problems and Howard Kent had a slow horse keeping them in the back. Cele decided to withdraw and the officials made the decision to switch horses for Howard, so he trotted off happily.

Until his horse decided he didn’t want to go forward anymore and he had to withdraw at the 30km.

With two riders out we checked in at the halfway point with the other riders to find the US team member Bob Gauthier had a fall when his horse tripped and rolled. Bob was okay but when taking the reins to mount his horse spun and kicked him in the abdomen. He mounted and continued to the checkpoint where the doctor examined him and approved him to continue. Sore but determined, Bob powered through to finish in 4th place.

Unable to complete the course yesterday, Tania Orlov stuck with the leading group of riders and came whooping across the finish line wit arms outspread at a gallop.

She was quickly followed by the remaining riders to take their places.

Once part of the lead group of riders, Peter Breidahl walked his horse 12km after being thrown off and met with Michael Shaw and Ruth Benney on their horses. Traveling together to the end, they all tied. But then there had to convince their horses to trot again for the vet check.

Leading up to the 55km checkpoint, one of the herdsman working with the Gobi Desert Cup met up with slower riders Stephanie Scott, Kasmira Graham, and Amy Eighteen on the horse ridden by both Cecilia Stone and Howard Kent, and showed us all how Mongolians ha dale horses effortlessly. They continued to ride together to the end of the course tying for last place.

The final placing are as follows:
Tania Orlov

Allan Horn

Mathilde Schwartz
Bob Gauthier

Jon Heeboll

Jeff Stuart

Christoph Schork
Elodie Maillard
Claire McManus

Tie: Michael Shaw, Ruth Benney, and Peter Breidahl
Tie: Stephanie Scott, Kasmira Graham, and Amy Eighteen

Gobi Desert Cup: Days 1 and 2

August 25 2018

18 riders started The Gobi Desert Cup on August 22. The 480-km endurance race across the Gobi Desert covers 80 kilometers a day.

Here's an update from The Gobi Desert Cup on Facebook

The moment you’ve all been waiting for: the Day 1 finishers!

Tied in first place are: Christoph Schork (US), Howard Kent (US), Allan Horn (US), Bob Gauthier (US), Peter Breidahl (NZ), and Mathilde Schwartz (NZ)

Next over the line was a tie as well for Tania Orlov (AUS) and Jon Heeboll (Denmark/ Sweden) both award winners for day 1 for Best Managed and Best Sportsmanship! Congratulations!

Next was a tie for Lorie Duff (CAN) and Amy Eighteen.(AUS) followed by:

Jeff Stuart (US)
Cecilia Stone (AUS)
Michael Shaw (AUS)
Kashmira Graham and Stephanie Scott (NZ)
Elodie Maillard (FRA)
Ruth Benney (AUS)
Claire McManus (AUS)

Unfortunately Stephanie Scott’s horse vetted out for heart rate and although she completed the course, she received no points for Day 1. Her horse was treated by vets and happily resting today. Bad luck as all the horses were managed very well by the riders all day and the vets were extremely happy!

While all riders and horses finished well, unfortunately both Howard Kent and Lorie Duff were dehydrated and showed mild symptoms of heat exhaustion by not drinking enough water and electrolytes on course. They were treated by our doctor and given Tailwind Electrolytes to restore their systems.

The doctor has cleared them for riding and while Howard has chosen to rest today, Lorie is determined to ride the course for the CHEO foundation. Don’t worry, we’ll be keeping a close eye on her and she’s happy to go at her own pace.


Day 2

Our first rider is over the finish line on Day 2! Congratulations to Cele Stone!

Our second group has finished Day 2 with a tie of 10 riders! Congratulations to Bob Gauthier, Jeff Stuart, Peter Breidahl, Allan Horn, Mathilde Schwartz, Elodie Maillard, Stephanie Chase, Michael Shaw, and Kashmira Graham!

All our riders are home safe at camp! Our last two riders, Amy Eighteen and Clare McManus, arrived together an hour ago to much applause from the other riders and officials.

They rode slowly and safely at the back of the pack but came in well under the time limit. Great job ladies!

Unfortunately a few riders did not make it to the 40k checkpoint today: Lorie Duff pulled out at 5k due to a sore knee, while Jon had bad luck on the track with not one but two horses. His first horse had some bleeding in the mouth at 5k while his second went lame on track at 10k and he had to walk him into the checkpoint. His horse got loose on the way but with the help of a local family was able to catch his horse and find the track again to be picked up.

On their way also was our Australian moms, Tania and Ruth who took too long to the 40k check point and were unable to continue.

All riders and horses are safe and sound at camp awaiting the rest of the riders at end of day.

Gobi Desert Cup Gets Underway

August 22 2018

The second annual Gobi Desert Cup is underway today. The 480-km multi-stage endurance race through the Gobi Desert on Mongolian horses over a marked course runs August 22-29.

Horses and riders cover 80 kilometers a day, starting every morning at 7 AM. Two vet checks are held each day, one at 40 km and one at the finish.

Each night riders have a chef's prepared meal during the next day's ride briefing and the day's awards before retiring to comfortable tents for the night.

Riders from Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, France, Canada, and the USA are riding in this year's event.

You can track the riders here: https://huufe.page.link/Gobi

More than an endurance race, a cultural experience.

A 480km stage by stage, international endurance race.

Ride Mongolian horses to challenge your horsemanship.

Six days, riding 80km a day to test your endurance.

Welcome to The Gobi Desert Cup, with a 480 kilometre multi-stage endurance ride through the Gobi Desert, riding Mongolian horses everyday for 6 days over 80 kilometre. Riders from the four corners of the world come to compete in The Gobi Desert Cup.

Following a marked course, starting every morning at 7AM, riders must complete the course before 7 PM. Two vet checks are held a day; one at 40 km and one at the end of the 80km. When entering the vetting area, riders will have 30 min to get their horse's heart rate to 64bpm or below. At each vet check, the horses will be trotted out under saddle and checked for lameness. After passing the vet check, a compulsory vet hold of 40min will allow both riders and horses to rest, eat and drink.

The horses selected for the cup qualify based on age, health, quietness, experience and ability to cover long distances. Once qualified, the horses go to our training centre to be trained and conditioned for the race.

Riders will be camping each night in a traditional Mongolian camp and discover the Nomadic lifestyle. A starting and closing ceremony, presentation for the first 3 riders and the first 3 teams ( teams of 4 riders) with the most points will be decorated . You will attend two days training before the race, where you will discover the horses, the rules and officials. This will also be the time to fit and try your gear.

Your nomination is all inclusive from pick up to drop off in Ulan Bataar the capital of Mongolia from the 22nd -31st of August (food, transport, accomodation, training and a support crew). A 10 days adventure, secluded from the rest of the world, living with nomadic people, riding endurance trained Mongolian horses, travelling 480 kilometre to test your endurance and test your horsemanship through an international endurance race.

Anglesea women Tania Orlov and Ruth Benney prepare for Gobi Desert Cup

DailyTelegraph.com.au - Full Article

Jaimee Wilkens, Geelong Advertiser
August 2, 2018 8:25pm

TWO Anglesea mums are giddying up for a trip of a lifetime, travelling to Mongolia this month for a six-day endurance horse race through the Gobi Desert.

The Gobi Desert Cup is a 480km ride through some of the most unforgiving terrain on the planet, requiring riders to complete an 80km course each day.

It will test both the mental and physical strength of the riders, with only 20 people from across the globe entering each year.

But confessed horse-loving mothers Tania Orlov and Ruth Benney think they’re up for the challenge...

Read more here:

Newfoundland equestrian competing in Gobi Desert Cup

TheWesternStar.com - Full Article

Sadie-Rae Werner
Published: July 26 2018

For Lorie Duff, horses have always been a way of life, taking her from the dairy farm in Topsail where she grew up, to Ottawa, and soon, to Mongolia where she will compete in the Gobi Desert Cup.

Duff started riding at Avalon Equestrian Centre and would go out with her friends on the weekends for trail rides. She went on to be the representative for Newfoundland and Labrador at Equestrian Canada, and now owns Liberty Lane Farm in the nation’s capital, where she teaches Liberty training and horsemanship.

Liberty Lane Farm was named for a construction project she had done in with her father in Newfoundland.

Duff’s relationship with equestrianism changed dramatically in 2014 when she awoke to find the right side of her body paralyzed. After having emergency neck surgery due to degenerating discs, Duff spent one and a half years recovering. During this time, she started looking at horsemanship in a different light.

She began doing more work on base foundation and liberty training, where horses are unrestrained by saddles and bridles and the emphasis is on building trust between human and horse. She has also been spending more time lecturing and speaking about her philosophies on how horsemanship can translate into other aspects of our lives.

Duff is currently preparing for the Road to the Horse colt starting competition in Lexington, Kentucky in March 2019. If she is accepted, she will be the first Canadian woman to compete in the world championship event.

While at the Equus Film Festival in New York City in November, with the premier of her short documentary, “Humble and Kind,” she met someone who told her that the Gobi Desert Cup was looking for Canadian representatives...

Read more here:

The Timid Rider Takes Mongolia


Equestrian Author and Photographer to Attend the Gobi Desert Cup

[Red Bank, New Jersey July 9, 2018] Small business owner Heather Wallace is known as an animal massage therapist, author, equestrian blogger at The Timid Rider, and photographer. With a varied skill set and strong work ethic, she is most recently known for her best-selling book, Confessions of a Timid Rider, which is an Amazon bestseller in three categories.

While no stranger to hard work, Heather will be challenging herself this August as the Media Consultant for the second annual Gobi Desert Cup taking place this August in Mongolia. Serving as a writer and photographer to document the journey, she is also acting as liaison for international riders and the global press.

Co-founded in 2017 by FEI 3* Endurance Rider, Camille Champagne and leading Mongolian veterinarian Naranbataar Adiya, the Gobi Desert Cup is a 480 kilometer multi-stage endurance race through the Gobi Desert, riding Mongolian horses every day for 6 days over 80 kilometers (approximately 50 miles). This challenge is the only one of its kind to combine endurance while positively supporting Mongolian culture and their horses.

To follow her journey or learn more about the Gobi Desert Cup, contact Heather Wallace at 1+732-784-7195; email heather@timidrider.com; or https://www.timidrider.com.

Lorie Duff to Represent Canada in the Gobi Desert Cup

Horse-canada.com - Full Article

June 28, 2018
by: The Gobi Desert Cup

Lorie Duff of Lorie Duff Horsemanship has been invited to represent Team Canada for The Gobi Desert Cup in Mongolia August 22-31. Born and raised in Newfoundland, Duff is a professional horsemanship coach and trainer now based at Liberty Lane Farm in Ottawa, Ontario.

Duff was the first western performer at the RCMP sunset ceremonies in Ottawa to showcase Liberty Horsemanship. She has been a featured demonstrator at the Can-Am Horse Expo; a guest performer at the Calgary Stampede; and recipient of the NEA Showmanship and NEA Sportsmanship Award...

Read more here:

Mongolia: The Gobi Desert Cup challenges riders, body and soul

Endurance-world.com - Full Article

4 June 2018

Race Preview made with the assistance of Heather Wallace.
Photo Credit: The Gobi Desert Cup.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. 4 May 2018. The Gobi Desert Cup is a 480 kilometer endurance ride beginning outside Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. The challenge is focused on teamwork, horsemanship and immersion in the Mongolian culture as well as completing the marked course safely.

Now in its second year, this life-changing experience accepts no more than 20 riders from around the world to compete from 22 to 31 August 2018.

Each participant arrives at camp and is trained for two days on the tack and horses in preparation for the race to begin. This also gives the participants the opportunity to meet officials and discuss the rules and safety guidelines. Each rider has six horses for the length of the trip, one per day. Ride Director and Co-founder Camille Champagne notes: “The challenge focuses on testing your endurance and horsemanship by managing the horses over 80 km in one day.” Throughout the course there are two veterinary exams: one at 40 kilometers and the second at the end of the day’s ride, at approximately 80 kilometers.

“You may have what it takes, but it will take everything you’ve got.” Camille Champagne...

Read more here:

Gobi Desert Cup: Endurance horse-trek the brainchild of western Queensland rider

ABC.net.au - Full Article

ABC North West Qld By Zara Margolis and Harriet Tatham
Posted Tue at 12:58pm

After competing in the world's longest equestrian race in Mongolia, adventurer Camille Champagne Bargenquast thought she would create her very own endurance event.

In 2015, Ms Champagne Bargenquast spent $30,000 representing Australia in the Mongol Derby; a 10-day, 1,000-kilometre endurance race that she said many competitors failed to compete.

"It was very scary at times. I remember a particular time I was fearing for my life in the race — it's tough," Ms Champagne Bargenquast said.

Undeterred by the challenge Ms Champagne Bargenquast, who lives on Linda Downs station, 220 kilometres south-west of Mount Isa and 8,000 kilometres from Mongolia, will launch the inaugural Gobi Desert Cup on September 6.

The event is a six-day, 480-kilometre, multi-stage endurance race.

"I met wonderful people there,'' she said of her fist endurance ride in Mongolia.

"Together we decided to organise an endurance event which would allow people who did not want to go through the roughness of the event to participate on quiet horses..."

Read more here: