British Horse Society Challenge Rides: journey to Mongolia
PUBLISHED: 13:47 10 July 2017
Each year, the British Horse Society holds Challenge Rides across the globe to raise money for its equine welfare work in the UK. Here, BHS regional manager Andrea Jackman discusses her ‘journey of a lifetime’ ride in Mongolia
What attracted you to Mongolia?
I’ve always been fascinated by Mongolia and its nomadic culture – the opportunity to see this first hand was too good to pass up.
How did you prepare?
Unfortunately my horse is retired, so I borrowed a friend’s and hacked out as much as possible – I wanted to make sure I was as prepared as I could be.
How did you find the ride?
Even if you ride regularly, this is still a challenge as there’s lots of cantering and galloping. You spend many more hours in the saddle than you would normally. The longest time I spent on horseback was seven hours in one day – but we did get plenty of rests. In total I spent 48 hours riding over nine days.
How was the group spirit?
My group were great – we all got along really well. We supported each other, which made the experience a lot easier. Only two people in the group knew each other before the ride but we all left as friends. Lots of people stay lifelong friends after the rides.
How did the locals receive you?
They were lovely. The Mongolian people are warm, friendly and funny. They all live and breathe horses – it’s great to see.
What was your favourite moment of the trip?
If I had to pick one moment, I think it would have to be galloping across the Mongolia steppe. We could see herds of wild horses. It really was a once in a lifetime experience.
What were the sleeping arrangements?
For the first two nights we slept in two-man tents and we had a home ger – which is a bit like a yurt. In the evenings we’d eat our meals and chat in the ger. We dismantled our camp each morning and loaded all our equipment on to camels, which would transport it to the next camp. For the last two nights we slept in a ger, just like the nomads.
What would you say to anyone considering a challenge ride?
You won’t regret it! It’s an amazing experience. Yes, you’ll be stiff and sore from so long in the saddle, but you won’t think about that when you’re enjoying the scenery, horses and local culture.
To find out more about BHS Challenge Rides, visit bhs.org.uk/challengerides