Meet Our Rider: Tania Orlov (Australia)
Your name, country of residence, and age?
Anglesea, Vic, Australia.
43 years of age
How long have you been riding horses? How many horses do you own?
I have always had horses, my dad had one horse before I was born, however, my mum has always been afraid of horses. I attended Pony Club and used to just enjoy riding with my friends growing up. I now own three horses.
What are your main motivations for entering The Gobi Desert Cup?
Ruth (Benney) and I went trail riding at Merrijig with Tru Blue Trail Rides (the area The Man From Snowy River, an Australian movie was made). After the ride Ruth came to me and said she would like to not just ride, but race through the Gobi Desert. I had very little Idea what it was, so came home and Googled and loved the idea so joined in.
What have been your major highlights/achievements in endurance riding/equestrian sports?
So much has changed in the last three months. I have recently completed two 80km endurance rides and absolutely loved them.
My first 80km I drove interstate from Victoria to NSW and my ride started at 4 am with head torches in the dark. I have never ridden in the dark, so it was different and exciting for me. The sunrise was beautiful.
What are your long-term goals in the sport?
Just to always enjoy it. You never stop learning no matter what you do in life, so to keep learning to improve my horse knowledge/skills as well.
What do you fear the most about the race?
Getting Lost! Something I am very good at!
List your current personal best in equestrian sports? Other sports?
I really wanted to jump higher and used to be afraid, but I got there and went on one hunt. My goal was not to miss one jump (on a hunt you can choose to jump or go around some jumps).
I walked Kokoda and my group was absolutely brilliant, The Papua New Guinea guides on the track are just amazing and I was so fascinated by them and their talent. I would not change one thing about this trip, even though I personally felt I didn’t get enough cultural experience, my Australian tour guide Andrew Bews and the doctor on this trip told me about Ali Island trips ran by Travis McCombe which is not a fancy tourist trip. You live with the New Guinea people on their Island, so I got in touch with Travis and returned to Papua New Guinea to visit Ali Island and I 100% got the cultural experience, It was amazing for me.
That is what excites me about the Gobi Desert Cup, as we get the cultural experience as well as a horse race across the Gobi Desert.
What do you feel are your main strengths for The Gobi Desert Cup?
I’m new to Endurance, so can’t boast about past experiences, I am guessing my have a go attitude is a strength. I’m normally a pretty laid back personality and I love traveling, meeting people and learning about other cultures.
What areas do you feel that you need improvement in before the race?
My fitness and time in the saddle on long rides. But I can only do what I can do, as I am busy between working and being a parent to my children.
Do you currently do any other kind of training beside riding horses? If yes, provide details.
In the last 3 months, I had a brainwave! Not having enough time to ride and exercise because of being busy running my children around as a mum needs to, I decided to join in on my children’s sport. I now attend Muay Thai martial art three times a week with my children.
I ride as much as I can fit in, but mainly 30 minutes or an hour ride which vary from three to five times a week.
How much are you riding in preparation for the race, what is your training plan?
I wish I could drop everything and focus on Mongolia and just ride more. However, realistically I can’t, so I just fit in what I can, with any spare time I will fit in a ride.
Generally, I ride three to five times a week from a 30-minute ride to an hour ride.
Why do you think people need to sign up to ride The Gobi Desert Cup with you this year?
If you love a challenge that you will help you grow from the experience; meeting people from all over the world, and learning about Mongolia and their culture will be amazing. Mongolian horses also sound amazing from what I have read about them.
Finally, what would be a successful ride for you?
Finishing the Race with NO vet outs.
By Heather Wallace