Tackling Mongolian horseback adventure

A lifetime of horsemanship is about to be put to the test for a woman taking part in the longest, toughest horse race in the world.
Michelle Jarvis, along with friend and fellow Clevedon resident Alison Wilson, is riding in the Mongol Derby, a 1000km race across Mongolia on semi-wild horses.
The course recreates Mongolian warrior Genghis Khan's postal system, where riders changed horses every 40km and lived with herders or camped under the stars.
Competitors are allowed just 5kg of supplies for the 10-day adventure and are given a GPS tracking device and rudimentary map to help them find their way.
Jarvis says she took one look at the derby and knew it was something she wanted to do.
"I just love adventure and I like challenging myself," she says.
The veterinary anaesthetist has ridden horses all her life and has been training solidly for the derby for about four months.
She has gone out riding most days and has been mountainbiking, doing yoga and running as well.
Jarvis says the Mongolian horses are going to be a big challenge.
They are not trained or used to being ridden the same way as horses in New Zealand.
She is expecting some sore joints and strains on her body, especially with riding 10 to 12 hours each day across the vast Mongolian terrain. The limited luggage is also a bit of a concern, with only one change of clothes, a water purifier and a sleeping bag among her sparse supplies.
Jarvis says the race will be one of the hardest things she will ever do but she is ready to get going.
"I just want to get over there and experience it," she says.
Forty-six other riders from around the world are taking part and all are fundraising for Cool Earth, a charity that works alongside indigenous villages to stop rainforest destruction.
Each person is also fundraising for their own chosen charities.
Jarvis is raising money for World Animal Protection, formerly the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
The Mongol Derby is from August 3 to 16.
Michelle Jarvis
UNUSUAL ADVENTURE: Clevedon resident Michelle Jarvis is taking part in the Mongol Derby, a 1000km horse ride through Mongolia on wild horses.


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