‘Big Dreams on a little Pony’

‘Big Dreams on a little Pony’

Acknowledge: Randlab randlab@randlab.com.au

‘Frrom racecourses to CPD courses, plenty to get your heart racing’.

Featured Image: ‘Big Dreams on a little Pony’ (Randlab) ‘Marieke’s Mongolian Odyssey’

See also: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/ride-for-a-cure-mongolian-derby/

Marieke Schnebeli has been dreaming of riding in the Mongol Derby since she first heard of the race 15 years ago. She was thrilled to find out last year that she had been selected for this year’s race. It costs about $30K in entrance fees (US$16K), airfares, lightweight camping gear, provisions, etc to ride in the race. Randlab is one of Marieke’s sponsors for her 2023 Mongolian Odyssey.

The Mongol Derby is the world’s most enduring race. The race is run annually in August covers 1000km in ten days through a variety of remote and unmarked terrains. Competitors ride for 10-14 hours per day. The route changes annually.

The race was first run in 2009 and mimics the famous postal route based on a network of horse stations established by Genghis Khan in 1224. The Derby attracts an international select cast of 44 riders and nearly 500 support crew. Not to mention 1500 Mongolian horses. Only half the riders will complete the event.

The Mongol horse is little changed from the days of Genghis Khan. They are pony sized, standing 12-14hh and weigh between 224-275Kg, 220kg of which is attitude. Mongol horses (4.1M) outnumber the Mongolian human population (3.4M). Horses live outdoors throughout the year surviving temperatures from -40°C to 30°C. Some winters up to a third of the herd may be lost. It is truly survival of the fittest.

The horses are semi-broken and owned by the nomadic tribesmen of the region. The herders do not name their horses, which are identified by their coat colour. There are over 500 different coat colours described, more than any other breed.

Riders swap horses every ~35-40km. The horses must then undergo a veterinary examination at each of these check points and must be returned in “good condition” with a normal heart rate, not dehydrated or lame, etc or riders risk incurring a 2-hour time penalty.

Each horse is limited to a 85kg payload, including rider and a maximum of 5kg of luggage. The race is more a battle of strategy, stamina and strength than riding ability. A psychological tripwire against yourself, the environment, the elements (wolves, bears, marauding tribesmen, unstable weather) and the other contestants.

Marieke will also be raising money for the Steppe and Hoof charity which helps herders and animals in Mongolia.

Randlab is proud to be one of Marieke’s sponsors. You can also be part of Marieke’s journey by donating to her Gofundme page by clicking here