Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Wildest Horse Race
The Mongol Derby is the world’s toughest horse race. A feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the people of Genghis Khan, competitors ride 25 horses across a distance of 1000km. Many riders don’t make it to the finish line.
In 2013 Lara Prior-Palmer – nineteen, underprepared but seeking the great unknown – decided to enter the race. Driven by h...more
Image from The Adventurists
Many of the people I’ll meet on the steppe hold horses as sacred. There are more love songs about horses than about women in Mongolia—for example, ponies come last in races are sung commiseration songs because no one wants them to feel bad. Your horse is an extension of you. A Mongol without a horse is like a bird without wings—goes the proverb. Even horses’ skulls are sacred. They’re made into musical instruments, whose sounds comfort mourning souls.What has 25 l ...more
There are vivid descriptions of the Mongolian steppes, many allusions and quotes from Genghis Kahn. We meet dome of t ...more
there is a 1,000 kilometer horse race in mongolia called the mongol derby with the reputation of being “the world’s longest, toughest horse race.” human riders mount a series of 25 wild ponies, swapping ‘em out every 40 kilometers “to ensure the endurance [falls] on the humans, not the horses.” participants train rigorously, obtain sponsorships to offset the enormous entrance fees, prepare themselves for the physical and psychological hardships of being on horseback for more than ...more
Impulsivity is an intimate friend of the teenager. This emotional siren lures newly-minted adolescents into making rash decisions, most stereotypically taking the form of raucous parties and torrid love affairs. And though we all go through our own form of the teenage phase, most of us wouldn't, on a whim, choose to ride the world's longest and most demanding horse race to assert our individuality. But it seems someone had to be first.
The Mongol ...more
In a nutshell: spoiled rich English girl (the family seat of Appleshaw in ...more
The writer’s style is hit and miss. A little too cursory, too eager to float into lines of poetry when action is needed.
My biggest beef is turning the author’s main competition, another young woman and first time racer, into a villain after barely laying eyes on her. This woman’s chief sin being that she arrived prepared, co ...more
Put aside the fact that the outcome of this race is known before Lara Prior-Palmer begins her story, here is proof positive that it is the journey, not the arrival, that is most important. How Lara, a woefully under prepared 19-year-old decides to participate in a horserace that traces the Mongolian course of Genghis Khan's pony express, 1,000 kilometers with no preplanned route, is the stuff of almost myth ...more
Lara Prior-Palmer entered the competition on a whim in 2013, having finished school and with no travel plans (or sponsor) and ended up participating in the race as the youngest ever participant at 19 years old.
The style and short, snappy chapters of this memoir mimic th ...more
What an odd little book. In a perfect world, this would have been one of my top reads of the year. It has everything I love: travel, horses, and traveling with horses. However, the writing style just didn't click with me and I never truly felt engaged with the narrative. Don't get me wrong, there are some gems of passages in here. They are, however, the exception and not the rule.
One such example is when Lara starts ruminating on why, historically and evolutionary, th ...more
I loved the incorporation of Mongolian culture and history. "The prophet in Mongolia is often called an uzmerch, 'someone who sees'.”
Before entering the race, Lara didn't have it all figured out but felt this desire within ...more
Her race began in 2009, and there are around 30 to 40 entries each year to ...more
What a thrill, what a journey! Prior-Palmer writes with the galloping speed of a restless somebody and the unyielding ambition of a true underdog. By turns a tale of tribulation and trium ...more
Given Ms Prior-Palmer's self-deprecation of her performance in school, you don't really expect such a wonderfully descriptive, and achingly evocative narrative. Lara enters the world's toughest horse race on a whim, as she seems to do most things in her short life. Her fellow competitors have been preparing for a year, she barely has a month. She's not even a born horsewoman, although she has ridden a bit, at ...more
The Mongol Derby has only been around since 2009, but it immediately garnered and continues to hold the reputation of being the most grueling long-distance horse race on the planet. Following the route of the postal service that Genghis Khan established in 1224, riders traverse 1,000 kilometers across the sparsely populated Central Asian steppes, swapping their semi-wild horses every 40 kilometers and sleeping a ...more
With the motion of a carefree spinning of a globe and haphazardly pointing to the next place to find adventure, 19 year-old Lara Prior-Palmer clicked on the “flashing” pick me Google tab and applied to enter the “world’s longest and toughest horse race”.
The Mongol Derby is a race of endurance run over 1,000 kilometers (621.371 miles) on 25 different semi-wild hors ...more
Arriving with little more knowledge than what is printed above, it isn’t long before she gets a taste of ju ...more
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