My second world record was set after completing the world’s longest horse race of 1000kms across Mongolia on semi wild horses. The adventure, which Guinness World Records have confirmed is the longest horse race in the world, tested my nerve, fitness, endurance and riding ability to the limit. From the start, at Kharkhorin, the ancient capital of the great Mongolian empire, I raced to the finish line more than 1000km away in just 9 days, changing horse every 40km in a format inspired by Genghis Khan’s ancient postal system of horse messengers which crossed Mongolia to Europe.
I spent up to 13 hours in the saddle everyday, navigating through the Mongolian steppe in temperatures fluctuating from 35 degrees to sub-zero. It was gruelling at times, especially overcoming a hazardous night in the mountains without water, losing one of my steeds and recovered another from sinking in a bog. I shed all of my modern equipment along the way to lighten my load and to experience the real Mongolian culture, eating only mutton and goat, drinking fermented mare’s milk and sleeping in local Mongolian gers.
The Mongol Derby was a truly awesome adventure. I experienced Mongolia in a very unique way, riding in vast wildernesses with total freedom. Literally where the eye can see, you can go.
I rode 25 semi-wild Mongolian horses in total, an extremely tough breed that has changed little since the Mongol hordes swept across Asia in the early thirteenth century. 800 unshod horses were lined up for the race, with a team of international vets stringently checking their heart rates after each section, before allowing us, the riders, to continue.
I am happy to report that this was not my first go at riding horses! I started riding somewhere around the time I started walking and have successfully competed in British Eventing for many years and represented England in the Amateur Nations Cup in Ireland.
My principal sponsor for this adventure was IT hosting company, Memset. Kate Craig-Wood founder of Memset.com was also part of the team who skydived with me over Mount Everest and she jumped at the chance to support me on my next quest. “Holly is an inspiration to all female adventurers and I really hope our support will help get through this gruelling challenge.”