Catching Up With the Mongol Derby

The excitement continues with the 2023 Mongol Derby as equestrians from around the world navigate Mongolia’s terrain, weather, and feral horses. Catch up on the action here, and follow along with the live race tracker.

There are constant updates flooding in from what seems to be an absolutely epic Derby this year. Action packed, with some impressive spills, but also some incredible navigation and horsemanship, I can’t seem to take my eye off of the Mongol Derby socials. As riders are reaching the half-way point in the race, let’s take a peek at what they’ve been up to.

Matthew Perella had lost his horse and gear, riding off of borrowed equipment, before being reunited with his belongings. Big storms have hit hard and made navigation increasingly challenging. Elizabeth Bailey had a close encounter of the horse-hoof, and Hilaire Blythe had a “human lawn dart” moment the other day, resulting in a fractured finger. Both Elizabeth and Hilaire have been cleared to continue in the adventure category.

I’m watching this all unfold from the comfort of my own home, as riders cope with intense storms, swarms of bugs, lost horses, missing gear, and a few kicks and tumbles along the way.

While that might be enough to deter many “normal” people from diving into an adventure such as this, it seems to fuel the excitement of horse people as we cheer on the participants facing these hurdles. Uniting under a shared enthusiasm, love of the horse, and sense of adventure, riders face a network and community of support, despite them racing individually.

Madliene Haim gave jacket-less Ashlin O’Connell one of hers. Derby vets have been providing assistance to herding families in their down time. The medics have assisted along their way following the race. And 2022 Mongol Derby August edition winner Erdene-Ochir has provided amazing hospitality for the 2023 riders at Horse Station 14, offering a feast fit for royalty and ice-cold Coca Cola.


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Team work has seemed to serve the riders well in the first half of the race, and we saw “the fantastic four”, consisting of Linda Herman, Xavier Ferrer, Trinity Nelzen, and Judith Jaeckle riding out front. As the race continues, Linda Herman has pulled out front to be leading the race going into the second half of the Derby.

Similarly, a four-member team from Pakistan had been pooling their resources to take advantage of good, solid team work. “Team Pak” had been strategizing to maximize efficiency and minimize time: one team member heads to get food while the others sort gear and get ready to choose and saddle horses. Their work served them well, and with their consistency in their riding, they moved up the field quickly. However, the team has recently needed to split, as two members will race on while two sit and wait for Fahad Jamil’s penalty to end.

As teams split, we see individual competitors using their skills and resources to make this a competitive race.

Hear from the race crew and riders in the Derby’s video updates to hear about conditions firsthand, and continue to track the race live here as you never know what’s coming up next. Ride on, adventure equestrians! We’re all rooting for you!