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Katherine Blocksdorf

The Mongol Derby - Have Your Say

By July 27, 2009

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A few weeks ago, I learned about a horse race that is to take place on August 22, 2009. Called the Mongol Derby, riders from around the world will be riding Mongolian native horses in a race of 1000 km (600 mi.) over the steppes. Again today, I've received more information in my email inbox. While this long distance horse race may sound romantic and adventurous to some, it could mean injury or death to riders or horses. Many experienced horse-persons and organizations are protesting this event. One such organization, The Long Riders Guild, is providing background information that includes links to the Mongol Derby website, comments from outraged horse enthusiasts, and statements from experienced endurance riders. There is also an online petition protesting the race.

In an email appeal, Linda Tellington-Jones asks that all animal lovers “consider speaking out for the spirit of these hardy Mongolian horses and help prevent this race from taking place August 22.” After reading as much information as I am able to, and coming from a background in distance riding I decided to add my name to the petition. Please consider adding your name to the petition to stop this inhumane race.


July 29, 2009 at 5:20 am
(1) Scrapiron says:

I diagree wif you about the endurance race yr protesting,Im 74yrs young and have worked horses all my life and Ive riden muls and Arabs (my own)and there pampered better then my wife no body in there right mind will jump on a horse of any kind and attempt to ride it 600miles let alone 6 miles the training and regime of an indurance horse is all to gether differnt then any other type of event and I would emagine thes little mogelan pony are tuffer the you would believe do to the envirment they live in so don’t judge them like you would our own horses OK

July 29, 2009 at 7:28 am
(2) Katherine says:

While I am sure the native ponies are tough, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve all of the advantages we give our own endurance horses. From what I have read, and what I know about endurance riding (a provincial championship ride is being held this weekend at my sister’s farm and she is attempting to qualify for the WEG on my mother’s Anglo Arab, so I am pretty aware of what it takes to develop and maintain a distance horse–I also have a ‘top ten’ buckle from years ago.) I am concerned about the welfare of these horses.

July 30, 2009 at 11:01 pm
(3) BC says:

How long has this type of ride been going on? Years and Years? Those ponies are tough. They have to be in the areas they live in and same with the people. they don’t pamper their horses like they do here in the U.S. Those people and horses are nomads – they are use to the travel and conditions. U.S. pampered long distance horses probably woudn’t last 10 miles in that race – no matter the training they went through. Those horses there are used for work, hard work and long hours of work. Why are we constantly sticking our noses where it does not belong? I could see if they beat the horses, or starved them or other really cruel acts – I don’t see you screaming about the horses races here where you constantly hear about these 1 & 2 yr old TB’s breaking their legs or necks. I don’t see you screaming to Europe on their gruling runs and jumps! I think it is horrible that TB’s are out racing when they are barely 1 & 2 yrs old!! You should be screaming about that!!

August 6, 2009 at 9:38 am
(4) JJ says:

The Mongolians have been riding horses for THOUSANDS of years. Mongolian horses (which outnumber Mongolian people) are frugal, arduous, and tread safely in rough terrain. In Mongolia, most animals are kept roaming free, and only a small number of riding animals get caught and tethered. Once the animal has become familiarized with carrying a rider, it will be calm, friendly, and very reliable.
A better ‘horses life’ than living in a stable.

Why not fix the fence in your own back yard first: Ban the Grand National!

August 7, 2009 at 10:15 am
(5) Anon says:

Lot of the people commenting on here have clearly never been to Mongolia, let alone sat on a horse in Mongolia. If they had, they wouldn’t make such ill informed comments about the horses and their welfare. This race is a tragic affair, and anyone that can suggest there will be 800 horses able to race 40km with heavy western riders is a fool. Just look at how many horses died in the Mongolian Naadam races this year, and those are race horses, not 800 horses dragged out to carry these westerners around who have paid a western tour company lots of money. What a stupid, stupid race.

September 29, 2009 at 4:53 am
(6) Dave says:

I’d just like to say thanks to those that stuck up for the Mongolian horses and the Mongol Derby. I rode in the race and it was so depressing to realise how many gipsy’s there are in the horse community. I can’t stand people who try and shut something down they know nothing about. Those people who say, ‘how can you comment have you ever been to Mongolia’ it’s all a joke! I have been riding my whole life and like to think I know my four legged creature and these Mongolian horse’s are tough not to mention incredibly fit. When I say tough you better multiply that by 100 of your standards. We had a number of vets check over each horse before and after each leg and they couldn’t believe the level of fitness. No horse traveled further than 50km MAX. There was a huge selecting process for the horses and the lucky 800 horses were very well looked after. The owner of each horse was there by your side with advice and a face full of pride. One kid paid for his whole education by having two amazing horses that passed the selection process, only one ended up racing but they still got paid. Next thing I wanted to bring up was horse size. I am a big guy 6 foot (skinny!) and I didn’t have a horse under 5.2. You were only aloud to select a horse that suited you size. The further East we went the bigger and stronger the horses were. For future races please don’t criticise something unless you know what you are talking about, it seems the world is spiralling out of control. The Mongolian horse will have a place in my heart for the rest of my life and over large distances, leave any other horse dead in its tracks. Dave

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