Let us introduce you to Mongolia. Our next equestrian adventure is 27 August - 6 September, 2019.
Now accepting applications for our 2020 ride, 19th August to 28th August!
Welcome to The Gobi Desert Cup, with a 480-kilometer multi-stage endurance race through the Gobi Desert. Riders from the four corners of the world come to compete and ride Mongolian horses 80 kilometers a day for 6 days.
Ride through multiple terrains, navigating grassland, sand dunes, and rocky ground as you cross a desert unlike any other, on horses unchanged for thousands of years.
The Монголын адуу болон нүүдэлчдийн сан (Mongolian Horse and Nomad Foundation) based in Mongolia is a Non-Government Organization founded to make a difference in the nomadic community. Through our annual event, The Gobi Desert Cup, we provide a sustainable wage for our 90% local Mongolian staff to support their families, pay for schooling, and provide proper nutrition and veterinary attention for their horses. We provide the most competitive wage and the unique endurance race brings global attention to this dwindling lifestyle.
Compete against international equestrians from all disciplines while learning and supporting Mongolian Horsemanship.
THIS COULD BE YOU…
The Mongolian Horse
Mongolian horses are semi-wild and handled differently then the horses you are used to riding. Sturdy and strong with a lot of heart, they will teach you and test you. The horses selected for the cup qualify based on age, health, quietness, experience and ability to cover long distances. Once qualified, the horses go to our training center to be trained and conditioned for the race. Our herdsmen will be on hand every day to help you and support you as you navigate the course.
Following a marked course, starting every morning at 7AM, riders must complete the course before 7 PM. Two vet checks are held a day; one at 40 km and one at the end of the 80km. When entering the vetting area, riders will have maximum 30 minutes to get their horse's heart rate to 64bpm or below. At each vet check, the horses will be trotted out under saddle and checked for lameness. After passing the vet check, a compulsory vet hold of 40min will allow both riders and horses to rest, eat and drink.
If your horse comes lame or vets out you lose points for the day. However, you are not out of the adventure!
Away from the modern world, GET BACK TO BASICS.
Riders will be camping in tents each night in a traditional Mongolian camp. You will wake up each morning to the herders bringing in the horses to the horse line as the sun rises over the horizon. Leave your modern amenities behind because without electricity you will learn to live as the herders have since the time of Ghenghis Khan.
But no open fires here, you will be immersed in the nomadic lifestyle while enjoying catered food prepared by our chef and his team.
The itinerary includes a half day briefing with officials in Ulaanbaatar at the hotel. You will then be picked up the following morning at the hotel to travel to base camp where you will receive two days of training before the race; discovering the horses, the rules, and try your gear. Then the race begins after a Starting Ceremony! Each night awards will be present for Best Managed Horse and Best Sportsmanship. At the end of six days and 480 kilometers, the Individual Winner, Overall Best Managed, and Team winners will be announced, following by a Closing Ceremony.
CO-FOUNDER AND RIDE DIRECTOR
Camila is an elite international endurance rider and highly respected natural horsemanship trainer. She has trained Australia's best endurance horses including the three-time Tom Quilty winner Brookleigh Excalibur and placed in the most prestigious races, including the Tom Quilty and Walvis Bay. Known as an adventurist, Camila has completed the longest and toughest horse races in the world and regularly competes at the FEI***level internationally.
CO-FOUNDER, VET, AND HERDSMAN
A Mongolian veterinarian who grew up on the Kentti plain, the birthplace of Genghis Khan. He lived in Ireland where he spent four years specializing in reproduction and lameness. Summers are spent preparing and conditioning horses for the GDC. During the winter you will find him at the University in Ulan Bataar, doing research or giving lectures. Nara works together with the Ride Director, Camila, to provide the horses and design the course.
DR. ANN LAMMENS
HEAD VETERINARIAN, FEI 3*
Ann is passionate about Mongolia and endurance riding. Ann regularly vets in France at the biggest and most prestigious endurance races as well as being an Equine Reproduction Specialist. Sweet but firm is what Ann is all about! She is always happy to help, listen and answer questions to assist you through your journey and keep your horses in their best shape possible.
We have created a unique equestrian adventure across a vast and ancient land where a special bond and true horsemanship will be required. Riding each horse to the best of their abilities and keeping them fit for 80 kilometers that day will be what gets you through. You will learn to get on each horse and put your heart in their hoof. You will discover a whole new level of trust. Join us and change your life.
We are thankful to our sponsors for supporting our efforts to support sustain the local nomadic, Mongolian community through our annual race.