Mane ‘n Tail and SmartPak are sponsoring Practical Horseman’s Associate Editor Jocelyn Pierce as she contests the Mongol Derby, touted as the longest and toughest horse race in the world. Come Aug. 1, Jocelyn will fly 6,500 miles from Washington, D.C., to the nation that lies between Russia and China and is known for rugged expanses and a nomadic culture. She will have three days of pre-race training. Then on Aug. 8, the 620-mile adventure will begin.
Competitors ride 25–28 different semi-wild horses—on loan from local herders—for roughly 25 miles apiece as they cover each day’s route of between 75 and 100 miles. There is no trail or marked course and riders use their own navigation to hit 25–28 horse stations/checkpoints over seven to 10 days. The Derby is inspired by the “pony express” system created under Genghis Khan in 1224 which was instrumental in the expansion of the largest contiguous empire in history.
Along with 39 other international competitors, Jocelyn will be tested in many ways, but can’t think of a better way to pursue her three passions: horses, travel and exploring the outdoors. At age 30, she’s already hiked the Alps while studying in Europe and made a solo seven-week journey across the United States to experience all that the country’s National Parks have to offer. Now she is eager to immerse herself in one of the last surviving nomadic cultures on the planet—one with a profound connection to and dependence on the horse.
As they did in the 13th century, modern-day Mongolians rely on horses for their livelihood, using them for travel, herding, hunting and racing. Small in stature but sturdy and resilient, Mongol horses are said to have remained largely unchanged since Genghis Khan’s time. They live off the land in huge feral herds in harsh conditions year-round. Ridden infrequently, they become nearly wild and must be caught and broken each time they are to wear a saddle.
Whatever challenges the horses present to their riders in the Mongol Derby, their welfare is paramount. Each one must pass a vet check before a rider can move on, and time penalties will be imposed when a horse has an elevated heart rate, shows signs of lameness, is overridden or on course beyond the prescribed time for each phase of the race. A rider who incurs sufficient penalties will be pulled from the Derby. In addition, all riders must comply with a weight limit and may carry only 11 pounds of gear so the horses aren’t overtaxed.
Proceeds from the Derby’s entry fee help support both the Mongolian families who help make the race possible and the official race charity, Cool Earth, which works in partnership with indigenous communities to end rain-forest destruction.
Traditionally, only half of those who start the Mongol Derby finish. So there are lots of things for Jocelyn to consider as she gets ready—her physical fitness, the clothing she’ll wear and the equipment she’ll pack to name just a few. Jocelyn is sharing her experiences as she prepares for and participates in this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Follow her progress in Practical Horsemanas well as at www.PracticalHorsemanMag.com.
About Straight Arrow Products, Inc.
Straight Arrow Products, Inc., since 1970, continues to create and provide exclusive hair and skin care products renowned for quality and performance in both the Equestrian and Personal Care markets. We’ve honed our roots by initially producing under the brand names Mane ‘n Tail, Hoofmaker, and Mineral Ice. Naturally expanding to accommodate people, as the equestrian audience discovered a valuable ‘secret’, that the products they were using on their horses, created remarkable results when used on themselves, as well. Mane ‘n Tail is now a leading brand in the personal hair and skin care world. Straight Arrow continues to manufacture all products right here in the USA, adhering to strict quality assurances, guidelines and consistently meeting a high-performance standard. As our business has continued to grow, we have expanded our variety of equine products to include the brands Cowboy Magic and Exhibitor’s. Our credo is to “Satisfy the Customer” which has been our company’s tradition from day one. Straight Arrow currently sells its products in over 175,000+ locations throughout North America and internationally. Straight Arrow Products, Inc. 2020 Highland Ave. Bethlehem, PA 18020 phone: 610-882-9606 www.straightarrowinc.com; www.manentail.com; www.manentailequine.com; www.cowboymagic.com; www.exhibitorlabs.com
From the feed room to the tack room, SmartPak offers innovative solutions to help riders take great care of their horses. SmartPak was founded in 1999 with the introduction of the patented SmartPak supplement feeding system. The revolutionary, daily dose SmartPaks are custom-made for your horse, individually labeled and sealed for freshness. With the success of this simple and convenient feeding system, SmartPak has continued to expand its offering of quality products, including its own line of more than 55 supplement formulas called SmartSupplements, and a wide variety of tack, equipment, and supplies. The company has grown rapidly each year and is now the largest retailer of equestrian products in the United States. SmartPak’s success has been powered by a passion for delivering an unbeatable customer experience, and the company has been recognized with a Bizrate Circle of Excellence award eight years in a row, as well as receiving an “Elite” rating from STELLAService. A nine-time Inc. 500/5000 honoree, SmartPak is the only equine company ever named to the Inc. 500 list.
About Active Interest Media, Inc.
One of the world’s largest enthusiast media companies, Active Interest Media (aimmedia.com) produces leading consumer and trade events, websites, magazines, and films and TV shows that reach 40 million readers, fans and attendees in 85 countries. AIM owns the United States Team Roping Championships and produces the World Series of Team Roping, the second-richest equestrian competition in the world. Our brands include Yoga Journal, Backpacker, SKI, Skiing, Vegetarian Times, Anglers Journal, Yachts International, Sail, Power & Motoryacht, Black Belt, The Team Roping Journal, EQUUS, Practical Horseman, Dressage Today, Horse&Rider, Oxygen, Clean Eating, Log Home Living, Old House Journal, Cabin Living, Woodsmith, Garden Gate and more. The company’s six divisions—the Equine Network, the Home Group, the Healthy Living Group, the Marine Group, the Outdoor Group and the Creative Home Group—also operate thriving B2B platforms, online universities and retail events. Core competencies include lead generation (through our Qualified Buyer Program), marketing services (through our in-house agency, Catapult Creative Labs) and video production; Warren Miller Entertainment is the most successful adventure-film company in history, and AIM Studios is a seven-person unit dedicated to digital video. Active Interest Media’s customers are smart, engaged and loyal, and they look to our brands for trustworthy information and services that will inspire and enable them to enjoy their passions.
Practical Horseman Associate Editor Jocelyn Pierce will be competing in the Mongol Derby, a 600-mile expedition considered the longest and toughest horse race in the world, in August. As she prepares, she’s reporting on her progress with weekly blogs here, www.JPMongolDerby.com and in Tips & Talk in Practical Horseman.