Meet Our Rider: Dr. Michelle Morges (USA)
by Heather Wallace
All Gobi Desert Cup riders have something in common, despite being from multiple disciplines and countries around the globe. They all love horses and adventure.
This is certainly the truth with American veterinarian Dr. Michelle Morges. She is a veterinary oncology and medical acupuncturist living in New Jersey. While in veterinary school in Colorado she rode endurance, but while on the East Coast she primarily rides hunter/jumper.
Name: Michelle Morges
Country of Residence: United States
How long have you been riding horses?: Since I was in elementary school and have never stopped.
Do you own horses? Tell us about them!: One day!
Why are you competing in the Gobi Desert Cup? : I love to travel and immerse myself in other cultures. I love adventure and pushing myself to reach new goals- physically and mentally. And of course- because I love horse.
What is your equestrian discipline? How do you feel that will help you with horsemanship in Mongolia?: I ride hunter/jumper. Since I do not own my own horses, I have the benefit of taking lessons and riding a wide variety of horses (and ponies) at all kinds of levels. This has taught me to be a very adaptable rider and I can adjust my riding style to what the horse needs. I think this will help me the most in Mongolia.
What are your long-term goals in the sport? : I will always keep riding. If I love endurance riding then I am sure I will sign up for more races in the future but it will be hard to top this race and this experience from what I'm told!
What do you feel are your main strengths in competing for the Gobi Desert Cup? : I am determined to succeed, a little stubborn, and have a strong drive for competition.
What do you fear most about the race? : Bad weather- I hate being wet and cold.
What are you looking forward to most in Mongolia? : Meeting new people, learning a new culture, and experiencing new things.
What do you need to improve before the race? : My packing skills- I tend to overpack. And I need to get back into endurance racing- I have not done any endurance riding for about 6 years.
What is your training plan? : I plan to do some online training and then find a local endurance rider to train with. My plan is to complete at least three 20-30 mile rides before the race. In addition to riding I am an avid yoga practitioner and swimmer (pool and open water). I try to swim at least 1-2 miles per week which will help with stamina. I also plan to spend more time biking to get used to being in a sitting position for long periods of time.
Why should others sign up for the Gobi Desert Cup?: I think everyone should do something that scares them- to push themselves and to take advantage of an opportunity to see other parts of the world.
What would you consider a successful ride? : It will be successful as long as you are having fun, and learning about the horse and yourself.