Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Great Britain: Why an international horse-racing legend will be in North Devon next month - Full Article

By NDJLaura | Posted: August 24, 2016

A horse racing legend will be in North Devon next month to present prizes to winners of a popular equine endurance challenge.

Riders at this year's annual Equitrek, being held on Exmoor next month, could have the honour of meeting equine VIP Bob Champion, who has agreed to support the event and will be presenting the prizes.

Bob was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 31 in 1979 and doctors initially gave him only eight months to live. He faced extreme challenges – undergoing surgery, feeling suicidal and developing life-threatening septicaemia...


Australia: Australia: 2016 Shahzada Day 3

August 24 2016

On Day 3 of the 5-day 400-km Shahzada, Lightweight Melissa McCullough and Forbes View Sienna continue to lead with an overall time of 21:10. Lightweight Melissa Longhurst and Pioneer Park Wings of Sudan are 22 minutes behind.

45 started the ride on Day 1. With 2 more eliminated or retiring on Day 3, that leaves 32 still in the ride, with 2 more days to go.

Nicolle Brown and Kie-Al Nasarian lead with a total time of 7:00. 103 started, with 21 pulls so far.

Results are at:

Australia: Mackillop College student Tahnaya Mercieca to take part in the Tom Quilty endurance ride in October - Full Article

Bradley Jurd
24 Aug 2016

When October 7 comes around, Tahnaya Mercieca will become one of the youngest riders in the Tom Quilty endurance ride.

The 12-year-old MacKillop College student will be riding Malleegrove Qaarma, her 15-year-old pure-breed Arabian gelding, during the 160-kilometre race.

The Tom Quilty, which will be held in the granite mountains of Victoria, is considered the pinnacle of Australian endurance rides.

Qaarma, as Tahnaya refers to him, may not be her fastest horse, with the family owning seven in total, but she loves him just as much.

“He’s just a special horse, I love his characteristics,” Tahnaya said. “He loves attention and he’ll let you know when he wants some...”

Read more here:

Australia: Two Table Top horses prepare for World Endurance Championships - Full Article

23 Aug 2016

TWO Table Top horses leave Australia on Wednesday for a journey that will end at next month’s World Endurance Championships in Slovakia.

The pair will help their trainer Amanda Kettlewell, of Oso Arabians, achieve a longstanding goal.

“You’re competing for your country, you don’t get much bigger than this,” she said.

It would be fantastic to get a medal for the team, but I think the biggest thing will be getting two happy, healthy horses around, completing the course
- Amanda Kettlewell...

Read more here:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Australia: 2016 Shahzada Day 2

August 23 2016

On Day 2 of the 5-day 400-km Shahzada, Lightweight Melissa McCullough and Forbes View Sienna have the lead with an overall time of 13:16. Lightweight Melissa Longhurst and Pioneer Park Wings of Sudan are 7 minutes behind.

45 started the ride on Day 1. 4 more riders were eliminated on day 2, leaving 38 still riding on.

The 3-day 120-km Mini Marathon began today, with 103 starting and 13 eliminated. Two riders are tied for the lead with a time of 3:35: Andrew Jonkers and Girilambone Comet, and Kylie Jonkers riding Girilambone Venus.

Unofficial results are here:

and here:

Follow along at:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Portugal: Meydan FEI European Endurance Championship for Young Riders & Juniors 2016

From 2 to 4 of September
The FEI European Endurance Championship for Young Riders and Juniors is organized every two years. It is one of the most important European competitions, leading to the discovery of promising young Endurance riders.

Particularly directed for riders between 14 and 21 years, its an important foundation of future professional Endurance riders.

The last edition was in 2014, in Verona, Italy.

This year, for the first time, this competition will take place in Portugal, in the Rio Frio Equestrian pole, from 2 to 4 of September. Over 20 countries are expected to bring over 100 riders and a total of 400 participants.

It’s a 120km competition in several counter clock phases, where the rider’s ability to manage the horse’s effort is tested, along with the horse’s speed and resistance. At the end of each phase, a veterinary inspection takes place.

Endurance is becoming a popular discipline throughout the world, and is nowadays, not only the second biggest equestrian discipline in competition number and participants, but the highest growing. According to FEI, more than 900 Endurance competitions are held every year, and the discipline has more than 6000 riders and 10000 horses registered.

Follow the ride at:

Australia: 2016 Shahzada is Underway

The 36th annual Shahzada has begun in St Albans, New South Wales. It runs August 22 through August 26th.

Shahzada is the ultimate test for horse and rider of 400km over five days up and down the beautiful mountains surrounding the picturesque Macdonald Valley, sometimes three times in the one day.

For those on younger, less experienced horses, the Mini Marathon of 120km over three days starts today, Tuesday, and runs through Thursday.

45 were entered for the 400 km, with 42 finishing day 1. Lightweight Melissa Longhurst and Pioneer Park Wings of Sudan have the overall lead, finishing the 80 km in 6:27.

Unofficial Results from Day 1 400 km are here:

Follow the ride at

Meet your USA Team for the 2016 World Endurance Championship in Slovakia

2016 WEC on

Tom Hagis and Indian Reinman, from Fries, Virginia, Ellen Olson and Bey Gibby, from La Motte, Iowa, and Dr Meg Sleeper and Shyrocco Rimbaud, from Frenchtown, New Jersey, will be traveling to Samorin, Slovakia for the 2016 World Endurance Championship on September 15-16.

All three riders are raising money in various ways to help cover expenses, and they each have a GoFundMe page set up for those who want to contribute.

Tom says:
My 10 year old Arabian gelding Indian Reinman and I have been chosen the represent the USA at the World Endurance Championship in Samorin, Slovakia next month. To help offset the tremendous cost of sending Reinman, Gina and a crew to the venue I am asking my friends to help. If we can spread the cost burden amoung the several hundred friends that we all have, this will be a reality. I am honored and humbled by this experience. The ride was originally scheduled for Dec. in the UAE but has been moved to Sept. in Slovakia. That doesn't leave us much time but with all your help I will proudly represent you and the USA. Welcome to Team Hagis and Team USA. I thank you all!!

See more on Tom at:

Ellen says:
Gibbys going to Slovokia for the Endurance World Championships!! Due to the change in location and short timeframe we are looking for support with the cost of shipping him over! Gibby is 16 and this is his second World Championship and last hurrah" per say overseas! Gibby has had a fantastic year and worked soo hard to participate in the WEC! So we are looking for help in supporting Gibbs! We ship out in ONE MONTH!!! gooooo Gibbs!!!

See more on Ellen at:

Meg Sleeper says:
We are organizing for the trip to Slovakia for the world championship and there are so many loose ends to tie up!! I am rarely on FB, but posts get forwarded so I think I have read them all. I apologize for not responding to each one, but it is impossible for me to express how much the generous donations and the well wishes mean to me!! It makes me realize how fortunate I have been…not only am I able to compete in a sport that is my passion, but I work in a profession I love and have so many remarkable friends!! Thank each and everyone one of you! In particular, I need to thank Robyn, who set up the gofundme site ( and has been absolutely leaving no stone unturned in her attempt to help raise funds for this event! She even reached out to Bill Gates!! Thanks to Triple Crown and Southern States Feed- not only for making fabulous products that have helped us get here, but also for helping with travel support. Thanks to OmegaAlpha for nutritional supplements that support top level equine athletes (and dogs and humans too!).
I will try to send updates periodically as we prepare, and as frequently as possible once we start the journey. I usually send out an email blog, but I will post it on FB and the gofundme site as well. The horses will leave from JFK on September thth following a 6 hour quarantine and land in Frankfurt on the 5th. They will then van to Samorin, Slovakia and arrive at the venue on the 6th. Opening ceremonies are on September 15th at 8pm, first inspection is on the 16th and the ride starts on September 17th at 6 am. For anyone interested, here is the link for the event website: The venue looks gorgeous and there should be live streaming during the event.

See more on Meg at:

Stay tuned for more information and stories from the 2016 WEC here:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

French riders sweep HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival-supported Belgian endurance ride - Full Article

Source: HH SH Mansoor Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival / Satya Narayan
Photo: Morhaf Al Assaf

Brussels, Belgium - It was a French 1-2-3 led by Vincent Gaudriot on 9-year-old Tahar Du Barthas in the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival-supported Brussels Equestrian Endurance Masters (BEEM) 160-km ride on Thursday, August 18, at the Sonian forest region near the city of Brussels.

Gaudriot who was fourth in penultimate stage of the five-stage 160-km ride, finished first with a time of 9 hours 8 minutes and 26 seconds recording an average time of 17.50kmph.

It was a reversal of the fourth stage placing as Julien Goachet on Ulyssa De Coat Fritty who was third at the penultimate finished second while second-placed Virginie Atger on Quersane Des Pins, second going into the final loop, was pushed to third place.

The 160-km ride was the first of the three-day Brussels Equestrian Endurance Masters (BEEM), the result of a three-year pact between the Royal Belgian Federation of Equestrian Sports (FRBSE-KBRSF) and the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival...

Read more here:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Underlying defect likely to have caused Mongol Derby horse death - Full Article

Sarah Radford 10:56 - 15 August, 2016

Post mortem results have revealed an underlying defect was probably behind the death of a pony in this year’s Mongol Derby.

The mount of British dressage rider Tatiana Mountbatten died suddenly on day seven of the 1,000km horse race (August 10]), between urtuus (horse stations) 23 and 24.

Investigating vet Dr Jeremy Hubert found a massive diaphragmatic rupture, which he attributed to either a congenital defect or the legacy of an old kick injury.

“He found it unlikely that the rupture could have been the result of strenuous exercise. There is no evidence to suggest that anything Tatiana did while under saddle caused the rupture,” said Katy Willings in a statement from organisers The Adventurists HQ...


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Entry Forms Available for Canadian Endurance Championship

Entry forms are available for the Canadian Endurance Championship which will be held on August 25-28 at Spruce Woods Provincial Park in Manitoba.

The events are Saturday 20/40/80/120 km and Sunday 20/40/80/120/160 km.
All the 80/120/160 km events both days are FEI also.

The electronic forms are available here:

Late fees apply after August 20.

For information on the Canadian Endurance Championship please go to

South Africa: Sandymount Express 1000 FAQ

1. How long is the race?
The Race is 1000 kilometers, or 625 miles.

2. When/Where is the race?
Kickoff is October 1st, 2016! The race is held annually in Sandymount Park, a wildlife reserve in South Africa.

3. How many days do you have to complete?
The race is split into 120 kilometers a day (75 miles) each day, for a total of 8 days.

4. How many horses do you ride?
Each rider gets a string of 5-8 horse. Each day is split into 3 legs of 40 kilometers (25 miles). Each rider will rotate through horses, effectively meaning each horse will do a total of 200 kilometers (125 miles) over the course of the event.

5. Are there vet checks?
Yes! At the end of each leg, if the horse does not meet criteria, the leg will not count and the rider must repeat the distance in order to finish.

6. Does that mean the race is more than 1000 kilometers?
Yes, quite possibly!

7. So…how do you WIN?
Rider’s time will begin at the same time each morning, and stop when they pass their third and final vet check of the day. The rider with the lowest elapsed time over 8 days wins.

8. How can I FOLLOW?
By LIKING the SMEX1000 Facebook Page, or by following American rider Devan Horn, who will be competing this year!

Monday, August 15, 2016

United Arab Emirates and Great Britain Triumph In Fourth Euston Park Endurance Ride - Full Article

13 August 2016

The last of the four Longines presented Euston Park Endurance Rides, supported by Emirates Airlines, was the largest to date, with 81 riders starting this morning’s ride (Saturday August 13). The four classes saw three wins for the UAE and one for Great Britain in what was the final of four rides and the HH Sh. Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Endurance Cup Festival.

Great Britain’s Kate Atkinson (19) from Clitheroe, Lancashire riding Tannasg Psyches Realm put in an amazing performance in her first ride in the popular Young Rider’s CEI2* 120km, which had a starting line-up of 15 riders. The Brit put in a steady performance with consistently fast times meaning she was ahead on each loop and finished first in almost exactly six hours, with an average speed of 19.95kph and a qualification for next year’s Junior World Championships in Italy, as well as scooping top prize in the Best Condition Award.

“I’ve never done that in my life!” said Kate of her average speed. “I’m still in shock. I really didn’t expect to win. I just aimed to complete and qualify for the Worlds. It’s my Mum’s horse and she let me have a ride on it! I knew when I went out on the last loop I was in first place but even then the qualification was more important than the place. But then I thought ‘this is too good to not try’. It’s just…. Wow!”

The FEI ride drew entries from 17 nations including Australia, France, Pakistan and Sweden and once again comprised four classes: the CEI1* 80km, CEI2* 120km (Young Rider and senior classes) and the CEI3* 160km. As riders set off in staggered start times from 06:45 the weather looked promising with warm sunshine, a strong breeze and plenty of cloud cover. It didn’t disappoint. Conditions remained consistent all day and the organisers’ decision to drop the yellow loop was proven totally vindicated as the rest of the course rode extremely well...

Read more here:

New Mexico rider ties for first in Mongol Derby - Full Article

Aug 12, 2016.
By Staci Matlock
The New Mexican

New Mexico endurance rider Marcia Hefker-Miles tied with two other competitors for first place in the 621-mile Mongol Derby horse race at 9:31 a.m. Thursday. That was Mongolian time, when many in New Mexico were just finishing Wednesday’s dinner.
The derby, which follows the ancient postal route established by Genghis Khan across the rugged Mongolian steppes, is billed by organizers at The Adventurists as the longest, toughest endurance horse race in the world.

Hefker-Miles, 45, grew up on a ranch in Carrizozo and works now as a nurse practitioner in Raton. She linked hands with Will “Dingo” Comiskey, an Australian rancher, and Canadian lawyer Heidi Telstad as they crossed the finish line together.

The three completed the race in seven days. Two dozen riders were still behind them. It was the first time a three-way, first-place tie occurred in the race, said Liz Ampairee, spokeswoman for the Mongol Derby. “It’s a lovely thing I think that they chose to all win together rather than make a charge for the line,” Ampairee said...

Read more here:

Great Britain: £250 allowance offered to Euston Park endurance entrants - Full Article

Eleanor Jones
06:58 - 12 August, 2016

ANYONE who entered the last of this summer’s endurance rides at Euston Park on Sunday (13 August) was to be offered “a raft of enhanced incentives” – including the chance to win a holiday to Dubai.

“To celebrate the final ride of four”, organisers, and the sponsors of the HH Sheikh Mohammed Endurance Festival, offered each British entrant a £250 allowance to cover entry fees and travel costs, plus free local hotel accommodation.

This was boosted to £400 for those who entered by 7 August, while overseas entrants were offered £800...


Thursday, August 11, 2016

THREE riders cross the line together to win the 2016 Mongol Derby!

Richard Dunwoody photo

At 9.51am local time, Will Comiskey from Australia, Marcia Hefker-Miles from New Mexico and Heidi Telstad crossed the line, arms together, to take a triple dead heat in the 2016 Mongol Derby, the world’s longest and toughest horse race.

They gave thanks to the horses, herders and people of Mongolia for an incredible experience and said they wanted to share the experience of winning as a team just as they had shared the experience of the trail. 

Will Comiskey, 28, ‘Dingo’, a cattle rancher from Longreach , said:
“There were slow ones, there were wild ones, but ****, we had fun!!
Marcia Hefker-Miles, 45, from New Mexico, said her most memorable memory was:
“Riding through a high mountain pass, past a boy and a girl both herding goats; making eye contact with them and waving. I saw myself in that little girl...”
Heidi Telstad, 43, a lawyer from British Colombia, said hers was:
“Camping one night with a poor family; they gave everything they had to spare to me and my horse and treated me as one of their own.”

Next to finish in the Mongol Derby were Tatiana Mountbatten and Venetia Philipps, from the UK and Courtney Kizer from Texas.   Other riders will finish shortly…

You can still follow the race via twitter or if you use the + arrows on the tracker you can home in and hover your mouse over the blue dots so you can see exactly where the riders all are and how far they have travelled

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

2016 Mongol Derby: Day 7

Richard Dunwoody photo

Day 7 is over. Tonight, Heidi Telstad, William Comiskey and Marcia Hefker-Miles are at Urtuu 27. They have only one leg to go. It'll all be decided tomorrow.

Every single person in the field is riding fantastically well:

"All these riders are absolute troopers. It's easy to forget that everyone left in the race is doing 120-150kms in a day. Fantastic riders and great horses." - Katy, Race Chief

Tonight, USA rider Marie Griffis is without her steed. She dismounted for a toilet break in the woods and her horse trotted off without her, taking all her belongings. She looked for three hours in a steep sided valley between Urtuu 22 and 23 before admitting defeat and requesting help from our event teams. The verdict from the horse's owner? "Ah. Yes, he's done this before." If only she'd known.

"Its such a shame, she's been so competent. We're hoping the horse will turn up in the morning as they often do. We're pretty sure we can kit her up to ride on, after she's served the penalty for the help. Rubbish luck, but fair." - Katy, Race Chief

Venetia Philips and Tatiana Mountbatten are tonight camping between Urtuu 26 and 27 after a devastating day: the sudden death of Tatiana's horse between Urtuus. A post mortem examination has concluded. The vet identified a massive diaphragmatic rupture, which he believes to be a congenital defect or legacy of an old kick injury. The horse had been cleared by vets on leaving Urtuu 23, and there is nothing to indicate that the rupture was caused by strenuous exercise or Tatiana's riding. The horse's owner is Jamiyanmyadag. He has been informed, compensated and will receive our ongoing support. If you'd like to read more, there is a full statement here.
The rest of the field saw some rider retirements from Krista Donnelly and returning veteran, Anna Christina De Jonquieres. Both riders are this evening in good spirits but the wear and tear of the race has defeated them. Chips Broughton has also re-retired. He had a fall on Day 5, rejoined the race on Day 6 and has today decided to retire and allow his injuries heal comfortably.

Finally, a comment from one of yesterday's retirees, Cochetta Crowley: "The mountain passes in the Blood Wagon [support vehicle] were far scarier than they would be on a horse." Mongolia is better by horse.

Follow @MongolDerbyLive on Twitter for live commentary on Day 8. The course opens at 7am.

All the riders are being tracked live. Find out all the ways you can follow the race on the Live Tracking Dashboard.

We'll be back on Wednesday 10th August with the best photo and updates from Day 7. Until then, here's the Day 7 Leaderboard. and a reminder of the Derby penalty system.

Mongol Derby 2016 set for a nailbiting finish!

Richard Dunwoody @Mongol Derby photo

August 10 2016

The 2016 Mongol Derby, certainly this year living up to its name as the world’s longest and toughest horse race (“and it’s raining again….”) is set for a nail biting finish with any of five riders in a position to take the title.
At horse station 27, the last station before the finish, are William Comiskey, nicknamed ‘Dingo’, a cattle rancher from Australia, alongside Canada’s Heidi Telstad, a lawyer – and these two have been riding together for most of the race. With them is New Mexican cowgirl,  Marcia Hefker-Miles. 

Closely following are Courtney Kizer, a Texan showjumper and UK ‘Riding for Rangers’ team Tatiana Mountbatten, a professional dressage rider and 499th in line to the throne, and her team mate, Kenyan based Venetia Phillips who have stuck together like an Olympic duo throughout the race.
Behind these and also set for a top 10 finish are Shannon Nott, an Aussie bush doctor, UK rider and Qatar Racing’s David Redvers who has made steady progress as the race has progressed, and two more Brits, Alice Newling and Alexandra Hardham.
The race is set to finish tomorrow – with the leaders having just 40kms to go.

Of the 41 riders who set out, 14 have now retired due to injury and general knackered-ness. Some of those hospitalised earlier on in the week are currently en route to cheer on their team mates at the finish.
Team Household Cavalry (was 5, one in hospital, so now 4) perhaps summed up the race yesterday with this:
“600kms ridden and a combined count of 20 falls, 4 days to go.”

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

2016 Mongol Derby: Day 6

Richard Dunwoody photo

At the close of Day 6, the leaders have ridden four Urtuu's in one day. All five of the front runners are within reach of the finish tomorrow. The question still remains who will get there first.

Tonight's leaders are Venetia Philips, Tatiana Mountbatten and Marcia Hefker-Miles. They are only ten kilometers in front of William Comiskey and Heidi Telstad, who are only ten kilometers ahead Courtney Kizer. With five Urtuus to go and six more vet checks, that's not a decisive lead for anyone.

In the back of the field, Chips Broughton has un-retired. He was out on Day 5 after a fall and retired on medical grounds. A good nights sleep later, he was much improved and requested a remount. After satisfying the Derby Medics, he was cleared to continue and tonight, he's made it to Urtuu 18. A rather impressive showing.

Today saw a retirement from Julie Stewart after a fall. She's on her way to UlaanBaatar for assessment for an injured hip. Also out the Derby is Australian rider Cochetta Crowley. She finished yesterday at U13, and with over half the course to go, declared herself defeated.

Follow @MongolDerbyLive on Twitter for live commentary on Day 7. The course opens at 7am UTC.

All the riders are being tracked live. Find out all the ways you can follow the race on the Live Tracking Dashboard.

We'll be back on Wednesday 10th August with the best photo and updates from Day 7. Until then, here's the Day 6 Leaderboard and a reminder of the Derby penalty system. Any penalties picked up by the leaders from now on will be served at the station incurred - which could have decisive consequences.

Monday, August 08, 2016

2016 Mongol Derby: Day 5

Richard Dunwoody photo

At the close of Day 5, the front thirteen riders have solidified their lead. Clustered between U17 and U18, the Derby title could be claimed by any of them.

In Urtuu 18 tonight are the front pack: Venetia Philips, William Comiskey, Tatiana Mountbatten, Courtney Kizer, Heidi Telstad and Marcia Hefker-Miles. Of those, Courtney Kizer is currently carrying a 2 hour vet penalty. If the other five don't pick up any further penalties, she alone will be held at Urtuu 21.

Shortly behind them, camping on the steppe is Australian rider Shannon Nott. He began the day with Courtney Kizer and Marcia Hefker-Miles but was delayed when he lost his horse. He requested Derby assistance to retrieve it and rode on with the hour's penalty. He finished the day with an astounding 9 minute turnaround at Urtuu 19 before riding on. Clearly he's determined to catch up.

Bedding down at Urtuu 17 tonight, are the trailing pack of six: Camille Champagne Bargenquast, Alice Newling, David Redvers, Alexandra Hardham, Peter Molony and Marie Griffis. With the Urtuus only 40kms apart, if any of the leading thirteen riders pick up vet penalties from now onwards. It could push them out of the final top ten.

In the back of the field, Day 5 saw some retirements. Babs Ketelaar was retired on medical grounds after showing no improvement on yesterday. Chase Becker is also out. She had a tricky fifth day chasing after an escapee horse at Urtuu 11, but a troublesome ankle injury has worsened. Fahad Al Thani has retired. He's received two carry forwards, each have a 3 hour penalty meaning he's well out of the running for the Race Class. After a bruising fall today, he has decided to call time on his Derby at Urtuu 11.

Day 5 has proved to be exceptionally unlucky, as a further three riders are retiring on medical grounds. Household Cavalry team-member Tom Alden is out after a fall near Urtuu 11. He's been evacuated for assessment in hospital in Ulaanbataar. Adam Casey has retired at Urtuu 12. He endured three brutal falls yesterday and after a short ride today, he's also on his way to UB this evening for a thorough medical evaluation. Finally, Veteran jockey, Chips Broughton has also retired. 20kms after Urtuu 14 he suffered a crunching fall and sought shelter in a local house. He's been assessed by Derby medical teams and he's unfit to ride onwards.

Day 5 finished with a Race Hold at imposed at 6.45pm. Any riders who came into an Urtuu in the final 1 hour and 45 minutes were held there as medical teams were engaged and couldn't guarantee cover for the field. We expect to open the course again Tuesday at the usual time of 7am UTC.

All the riders are being tracked live. Find out all the ways you can follow the race on the Live Tracking Dashboard.

We'll be back on Tuesday 9th August with the best photo and updates from Day 6. Until then, here's the Day 5 Leaderboard and a reminder of the 2016 course.