Meet Our Rider: Cele Stone (Australia)
Your name, country of residence, and age?
Cecilia Stone, Australia
50 now, 51 for the race.
How long have you been riding horses for?
Since I was about 4.
How many horses do you own?
2 horses – a Quarter Horse and a Brumby, both from the NT.
3 mini ponies – 2 are therapy ponies and 1 is a rescue paddock ornament.
What are your main motivations for entering The Gobi Desert Cup?
For the challenge.
My decision to enter was born in the lost space of grief after losing my best friend, husband & partner, Michael. After months of inability, depression, helplessness, endless and mindless tv series, bad food and too much wine I knew I needed to change. I needed something big enough and scary enough to get me off the couch and back into the world of the living. I didn’t dare dream I would be accepted and invited to ride in either race, let alone both. However, the universe in its wisdom decided to offer me both and I accepted. These races are for Michael, the adventurer I loved with all my heart, the funniest person I’ve ever known, the free spirit, my lovest.
What have been your major highlights/achievements in endurance riding/equestrian sports?
My major highlights are learning new things and becoming a better horseperson.
My major highlight is that I’m now an open endurance rider. When I entered the race I’d never done endurance. I’ve been lucky to be loaned some lovely horses and I’ve learned so much from the people I’ve ridden for.
What are your long-term goals in the sport?
Now I’ve started endurance, I’d like to be competing for the next 10 years.
What do you fear the most about the race?
Cold desert nights.
List your current personal best in equestrian sports - other sports?
No PB’s to share. (Editor's note: Cele is riding in the Mongol Derby directly before she races in The Gobi Desert Cup this year!)
What do you feel are your main strengths for The Gobi Desert Cup?
Laughter and inner resilience.
Being open to whatever comes my way and ready to find the humour in any situation.
What areas do you feel that you need improvement in before the race?
Do you currently do any other kind of training besides riding horses? If yes, provide details.
Swimming twice a week and gym four times a week.
Gym and riding
How much are you riding in preparation for the race, what is your training plan?
Aiming for five times a week and endurance rides as much as possible between now and Mongolia. My endurance horse blew a hoof and I’ve only just found another one to loan. I’m also doing cattle work, playing in working equitation and throwing in some riding lessons to make sure I’m doing all I can to be a better rider.
Not as much as I should. My horse a bit, the neighbours or friends horses and endurance rides when I can get them.
Why do you think people need to sign up to ride The Gobi Desert Cup with you this year?
Finally, what would be a successful ride for you?
New friends, completing the ride, learning, laughing and riding a camel.
*Note: Cele just finished the Mongol Derby and is competing in The Gobi Desert Cup directly after!
By Heather Wallace