I’ve posted about the Mongol Rally before. That’s the road race that begins in London and runs all the way to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. But as that country continues to emerge as one of the top adventure destinations in the world, even more people flock to its remote interiors, looking for an adventure of their own.
Take the 26 riders taking part in the Mongol Derby for instance. They set out on Sunday to ride nearly 1000 km (620 miles) across the Mongolian high plains on horseback in a unique race that is more of a testament to the skill and endurance of the rider, rather than the speed of the horses that will carry them.
They’ll follow a route that was established by Genghis Khan and used as part of his postal system, delivering messages from throughout the empire. The race got underway from Kharkhorin, and the riders must report to a series of horse stations called Urtuus, which are situated about 40 km apart throughout the countryside. At these stations, the riders will change out their horses in favor of a new one, and be able to pick up supplies and other equipment.
The course has been designed from the ground up to keep the horse’s health in mind. Not only are the riders forced to change ou their horses at each Urtuus, vets on hand at each station will also ensure that the animals are being well cared for before they rider is issued a new one. In addition to that, the trail wanders through regions with plenty of water, making sure that the horse, and rider, are never far from a drink.
This modern day, long distance horse race looks like it’s a lot of fun, and what an amazing way to see the countryside. Be sure to check on the website regularly for progress on the riders and to see what kind of adventures they’ve come across in their journey.
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