You may have heard of the Mongol Derby, aka the world’s longest and toughest horse race, aka a 1,000 kilometre equestrian adventure across Mongolia atop several semi-wild beasts.
Well, The Adventurists, the company that dreamed up that race in 2009, has created an off-shoot company called The Equestrianists, whose team has been tasked with creating an entire world series of horse races that will test the limits of riders and celebrate the varied horse cultures around the planet.
For each new race created, competitors will be asked to raise funds to support NGOs that work with local horse communities. The Mongol Derby now supports Steppe and Hoof, which helps Mongolian herders in accessing medical assistance for themselves and veterinary assistance for their animals.
“Climate change, urbanization and lack of central government policy are contributing to the rapid disappearance of one of the world’s last traditional equine nomadic lifestyles,” says Shatra Galbadrah, Steppe and Hoof founder. “The organization is fighting to preserve the unique culture and traditions found only here in Mongolia.”
“Horse people look after horse people, especially with these new NGO partnerships,” adds Erik Cooper, event manager for the Equestrianists.
The expansion into other countries and continents has already begun, with the inaugural Gaucho Derby held in early 2020. The race ended just as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world in March.
Next up the Equestrianists will be unveiling a race that will take place in North America with an expected launch in 2022. The team is tight-lipped about details, with locations as varied as Kentucky, the Canadian Rockies and Mexico being thrown around. In the coming years, the Equestrianists aim to scout and plan races in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well.
“These races will be a great way for riders to flex their skills, while supporting horsemen and women around the world,” says Cooper.
With all of us who love travelling having been grounded for almost a year now, these races are a bright spot to look forward to as a COVID-19 vaccine is distributed and an end to the pandemic is in sight.