I Need Your Help and I Need It Fast! (Mongol Derby Animal Welfare Violations)
I’m certain that most readers of this blog have heard of the ongoing controversy surrounding the Mongolian Derby, billed by its organizers as “the longest horse race in the world.” Among the dangers posed to humans, the organizers list, “bleeding kidneys, broken limbs, open sores, sun stroke, moon stroke and a list of dangers longer than your arm stand between the you and victory. No mention of the dangers to the semi-wild horses of the Mongolian Steppe. That’s what the kerfuffle is all about.
Most petitions have less effect than we would like. This one goes straight to Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, asking for an immediate ban.
If you haven’t already gotten enough information to make up your mind that this is bad for Mongolia, and bad for the horses, please read on.
The event has been organized by an English adventure tour company with no equestrian experience, who gleefully described it as “the biggest, baddest equine affair on the planet.” The event wilfully violates the first three primary rules of endurance racing, namely it exploits horses for commercial purposes, boasts of staging the race without having a marked route and will not be able to ensure that water will be supplied at predetermined designations.
The Long Riders’ Guild is the world’s first international association of equestrian explorers, and is an invitation-only organisation. It was formed in 1994 to represent men and women of all nations who have ridden more than 1,000 continuous miles on a single equestrian journey. Members currently reside in 39 countries. These Long Riders have collectively written more than a hundred books on equestrian travel and ridden on every continent except Antarctica. Thus the history, stories, legends, and knowledge stored on this website represent the largest repository of equestrian travel information assembled in human history.
• The event has been organized by an English adventure tour company with no equestrian experience
• The event wilfully violates the first three primary rules of endurance racing, namely it exploits horses for commercial purposes, boasts of staging the race without having a marked route and will not be able to ensure that water will be supplied at predetermined designations
• Mercy Corps (the event’s designated charity) will receive a minimum of $50,000. But when asked how much the herders, who are risking their eight hundred horses, would be getting, the evasive answer was “a fair amount.” In a scene reminiscent of buying Manhattan from the Indians for $26 in beads, while Morgan and Mercy Corps get rich, naïve Mongolians are being enticed into selling their sacred equestrian heritage for pennies
• (from the Adventurists’ own site) There’s no carefully marked course, no catering tent and no support
• In Mongolia, there are no services – no trees – and no people, but where an unwary mounted traveller must be ready to survive wolf attacks, bubonic plague, rabies, flash floods, foul water, poisoned food, horse theft and personal assault
• “To consider putting foreigners with limited equestrian experience into an endurance race of this distance is asking one to deny the basic fact involved in this situation – namely that a race across this terrain, on those kind of horses, over that distance, would have taxed the original messengers of Genghis Khan, none of whom actually rode a thousand miles on one journey. To ask modern riders to do so is not just naive, it is irresponsible. The Adventurists is preparing to embark on an ill-advised equestrian misadventure, one in which your company does not appreciate the many equestrian hardships and dangers being presented to the horses and riders,” The Guild informed the tour company representative
• “You will have to navigate your way from one station to the next single-handedly; there’s no marked course and there will be huge stretches with no paths or tracks at all. In fact even when there are tracks there is little chance they will be going in the right direction. You will be facing the wilderness, alone…”
• Despite these dire warnings, none of the 25 amateur riders have any previous endurance riding experience. In fact some are barely able to climb atop a passive pony. The few with equestrian experience participated in mild dressage, jumping and part-time polo
It only takes a minute to sign the petition, and another to pass it on or post about this in your own blog. Feel free to copy this entire post word for word if you like. We have no time to lose.
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