Confession: Often people wonder how a timid rider like myself ended up in Mongolia, not once but twice.
It does seem a bit odd, doesn’t it? After all, I am a timid rider. Obviously there would be some who would question how a timid person such as myself became involved with an endurance horse race on the other side of the world. I come from the hunter/jumper world in the midst of horse racing country on the East Coast of the United States. I didn’t know the first thing about endurance, Mongolia, or the nomadic lifestyle. So here is a brief overview for the curious!
It Helps To Know People
A little tongue in cheek for sure. While somewhat newer to the equestrian scene I have had much opportunity to interact with bloggers, media, and great horsemen and horsewomen around the world through my blog, The Timid Rider. It was through one of these contacts, equestrian photographer Mary Katherine Morris, who saw a Facebook ad seeking a blogger and photographer for The Gobi Desert Cup. She, sadly was unable to apply due to previous engagements, but tagged me and a few others in on the post. This was the first time that I’d even heard of a horse race in Mongolia.
I was intrigued enough to visit their website to learn more and decided I’d apply. #beBold!
Take a Risk
There were so many things that went beyond my comfort level. How do I count the ways:
- Travel across the world to a non-English speaking country.
- Know no one whom I’d be working along side.
- Live in a tent without electricity or plumbing for 2 weeks.
- Photograph endurance riding.
- Provide social media throughout the event without electricity or internet access).
The list goes on. I’m not sure if you’ve met me or seen photos but I’m not exactly a low maintenance girl. I’m friendly and love adventure but I also love a good massage session, food delivered to my door, luxury travel, and so much more. I am definitely used to the finer things in life. The prospect of bringing one suitcase for two weeks and going without a shower for the same was daunting to say the least.
My application was well received and I interviewed over Skype with founder, Camille Champagne. We hit it off immediately and I was offered the position with three months to prepare. I’m a planner and over thinker. Spontaneity does not come easy to me at all. The very fact I applied in the first place was a challenge to myself.
But I knew that it would change my life forever, I just didn’t know how.
The details of the race and my travels are incredible and so much fun to recount. This truly became a personal journey to me and tested me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I learned things about myself and returning home to my family after my experience was an adjustment in and of itself.
I knew that so many of my family, friends, and followers were interested in my experience so I chose to write my memories and adventures down in Girl Forward: A Tale of One Woman’s Unlikely Adventure in Mongolia. Anyone who is curious about Mongolia or want to follow a personal journey story will enjoy it. The beautiful thing is you don’t even need to know anything about horses!
I don’t dive into the details of the race as I was an official rather than a participant. But I DID get to ride a Mongolian horse!
To read my story and follow my journey, buy a signed copy here or purchase on Amazon. I hope that you have the chance to experience such an amazing and ancient culture through my eyes. I’m so proud that I was bold and challenged myself. I met amazing people and as an added benefit my book won the 2019 WINNIE award for Personal Journey story from the Equus Film Festival! As if that wasn’t amazing enough my book was one of many literary entries featured under glass at the Kentucky Horse Park!