This past Sunday, a group of 25 riders set out on a unique adventure across the Mongolian Steppe that will have them following in the ancient footsteps of Marco Polo and the fabled horsemen that roamed that region centuries ago, as they raise money for a variety of charities in the country.
The Mongol Derby is the latest idea from the same group that brought us the Mongol Rally. In this case, it pits the entrants on a long distance horse race through some of the most remote areas on the planet as they make the journey from Kharkhorin to Ulaanbaatar following a series of routes that were created as a postal system by Genghis Khan back in 1234 AD. The race directors caution that this isn’t about the speed of the horse however, but more of a test of the skill and stamina of the riders themselves.
Along the route, the riders will have to check into a series of horse stations called Urtuus, where they will be forced to change out their mounts for fresh ones. Veterinarians will also be on hand to ensure that the horses are being well cared for, and not pushed to their limits. The course designers have also taken great pains to design a route that will pass by multiple water sources, meaning the riders and horses won’t have to go far to find a drink.
The website will offer updates on the progress of the riders as well as live tracking of their current locations. There is also a long FAQ that answers a lot of questions about the event as well. So if driving to Mongolia by a very slow car isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps you’d prefer to explore it via horseback instead, either way, the Adventurists have you covered.