Australians in the Mongol Derby

Jesse Byrne & Sarah Brown crossing finish line with riders from NZ & Netherlands. (Sarah Farnsworth)

Australians in the Mongol Derby

Meet the Western Australians who took on the Mongol Derby, the world's toughest horse race

Posted on 06.09.2019

It is known as the longest and toughest horse race on Earth, but for two Western Australians who just returned from competing in the Mongol Derby, it was one of the best experiences of their lives.

Jesse Byrne and Sarah Brown finished third in a field of 40 riders after racing across 1,000 kilometres of vast Mongolian landscapes mounted on semi-wild racing ponies.

The annual adventure race follows the world’s first long-distance postal transmission route, laid down by Genghis Khan in 1224.

Sturdy Mongolian horses, used to life on the steppes where temperatures range from minus 40 degrees Celsius in winter to 30 degrees Celsius in summer, carry the entrants on the course.

The object of the event is to ride a series of horses along the route, swapping your mount every 40 kilometres at stations crewed by teams of veterinarians.

It is not a challenge for the faint-hearted but the Aussie duo has returned home in one piece with just a couple of sore knees between them.

Applying for world’s toughest horse race

Ms Brown has worked closely with horses for most of her life and is currently the farm manager at one of WA’s major horse racing facilities.

The 34-year-old had been thinking about competing in the famed Mongol Derby for a few years but was not sure what was involved, or if she could commit to such a challenge.

“One day I decided I had to at least apply,” she said.

She approached friend and local horse trainer Jesse Byrne and together they made it through the rigorous application process ensuring they had the skills to handle semi-wild Mongolian ponies.

After a few months of intense gym sessions, GPS navigation training, and riding as many horses as they could get their hands on, it was off to Mongolia to gather at the start and meet the other 38 riders who would be vying for a spot on the podium … read more

Ellie Honeybone
ABC News





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