The Mongol Derby is known as the world's longest and toughest horse race, covering 1000 km across the Mongolian steppes. As the first Filipina to join, I want to prove that Filipinas have got what it takes to pursue their dreams, their passions, and above all to prove their unique courage and strength.
This is the journey of a lifetime for me: I grew up riding horses in my hometown of Baguio City, where horseback riding is usually seen as a mere tourist attraction. To me it is much more: being around horses has become ingrained in my character, so much that I see riding as a way for me to return to myself time and again, my own form of self-care and therapy. Which brings me to why I am joining the Mongol Derby 2020:
In 2016 I was hospitalized because I nearly lost my battle against depression. Since then it has been quite a journey of learning how to care for myself not just physically, but emotionally. Come 2019, I felt that I was finally getting a grip on the realities of what it takes to live healthily and happily in spite of my diagnosis. However I've always felt that one thing was missing: I never tested myself to the limit, to see if I have indeed grown stronger in mind and spirit, or if I was just coddling myself, too afraid of upsetting my fragile balance to try anything new and challenging. And that's where I turned to the horses of my childhood for guidance once more: when on the back of a horse, I have to be focused, yet calm; strong, but gentle. Challenges and sometimes scary accidents (like falling off and breaking bones) can come my way, but I have to be in control and steady, no matter what. What better way for me to test myself than to take something that is such a huge part of my personality, and take it to the next level?
In training for the Mongol Derby, I'll have to discipline myself in ways I never have before. In order to be competitive in the race, I'll need to be in peak physical condition by July 2020. Getting there is where I'll need your help, the reason why I've put up this campaign:
To train for the amount of riding I'll be doing in the race, I've recruited 2 horse owners, Uncle Ben and Gina Damian, to help me. I'll be riding their 4 horses for the duration of my training, to ensure that their welfare and endurance is also looked after. The cost of feeding 4 horses, which I've agreed to shoulder during my training so as to be fair to Uncle Ben and Gina, is Php 20,000 monthly (around 4000 worth of feeds per horse, with a bonus for their grooming, vitamins, and any vet fees I might incur).
Aside from the training with horses that I'll be doing, I'll also need to do some gym training to build up my overall strength. A gym membership costs about Php 3000 per month.
After the training fees, there's the issue of equipment: I'll need to train with a standard GPS device, as well as secure my own riding helmet and a good pair of shoes that can take me trekking across all kinds of terrain (in case my horse dumps me in the middle of nowhere) as well as fit through a standard stirrup without chafing itself or my foot to bits as the race progresses. And of course, since I'll be riding out in the Mongolian wilderness, I'll need a sleeping bag, a tough weatherproof jacket, and backpack that can hold my water, flashlights, and other survival and outdoor gear that I'll be taking with me.
Then there's my insurance, airfare, and lodging once I'm in Mongolia. As of September 2019, flights to Ulaanbataar cost approximately Php 25,000, one way.
Last but certainly not least, there's the entry fee to the Mongol Derby which comes in at a whopping GBP 11,375. Converted to pesos, that's Php 724,353.39, paid through monthly installments of Php 83,000 until May 2020.This fee covers the support crew, consisting of vets for the horses, medics for the riders, drivers, interpreters, and of course, the race crew who ensures that the race is run fairly and smoothly. The entry fee also covers the 25-30 horses I'll be riding for the duration of the pre-race training camp and the race itself, along with a custom built saddle that should last me the whole 1000 km run.
To sum it up, I'll need a minimum of Php 850,000 to get me there. Any amount donated to this undertaking will be greatly appreciated, and will go to supporting my team of women and amazing people who have gotten on board to help me train. This will not be my endeavor alone, but a team effort of Filipinos working together to make something amazing happen. Come on board, and let's take the Philippines to the Mongol Derby 2020!
For more information on the Mongol Derby, please head on over to: https://www.theadventurists.com/adventures/mongol-derby/