The Mongol Derby: the world's most gruelling horse race - Telegraph
Geege Schuman stashed this in Out of Doors
I'm reading "All the Jittery Horses", a story in the May 2013 issue of Outside Magazine, hard copy. The story is not yet available online.
Here's the tagline: "The ponies that carried Genghis Khan's warriors are small, tough, and skittish as hell, making the prospect of riding them for 1,000 kilometers seem downright insane. American cowboy WILL GRANT couldn't resist, so he entered the Mongol Derby - the longest, hardest horse race in the world - determined not just to finish but to win."
Wanting more, went online and found this Nov 2011 Telegraph story: Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and his wife did not play safe. On a whim – their children called it “midlife crisis” – they took part in a 1,000-kilometre race for charity, across the desolate steppes of Mongolia on semi-wild horses.
“The worst leg of each day was the last one,” says Rose. “If we missed the ger (Mongolian for yurt) we would have spent the night outside, with no food or drink, taking turns to hold onto the ponies.”
So prone were the ponies to wander, that they could not even get off to pee between pony swap stops. If the animals had bolted, the couple would have lost everything, including their passports.
Bleached bones dotted the steppes, and the landscape was pitted with marmot holes in which the ponies could break their legs. “We were constantly attacked by packs of dogs. At one point the ponies bolted and we galloped flat out for miles, knowing that if we fell off the dogs would eat us,” says Rose.