Debbie Morgan, an NVQ Assessor and Monitoring Officer, and Sue Judd, Senior Lecturer in Equine Studies, from Writtle College recently took part in the Mongolia Trek to raise money for BHS welfare.
The trek was a 10 day voyage which saw 12 UK riders and five Mongolian guides spending long days riding across the Mongolian steppe on 13.2hh native ponies.
Sue Judd gave the Essex Rider magazine a detailed account of her challenging experience:
“During the trek I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery, the absolutely bomb proof horses and the fabulous company. We started our challenge in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, and were driven for four hours in a coach to the ger (white stick and felt tents) camp at Arburd Sands. We met our horses and had an hour’s test ride which was quickly abandoned because of a fierce thunderstorm heading our way. We set off early the next day on a 90mile five day circular ride - each rider was in the saddle for six to seven hours a day.
“The Mongolians are fantastic horsemen, who ride all paces except walk in a standing position, using just one rein to control the horse. We spent our days cantering and galloping on sandy tracks, where the only things to worry about were ground squirrel burrows (which the horses sometimes sank into up to their knees) and empty vodka bottles, discarded by passing truck and motorcycle traffic. Eagles and vultures were never out of sight, and if you were quick you could see small mammals, locusts and huge (flying!) grasshoppers scurrying about.”
“Our luggage was taken by three camels on basic two-wheeled carts, and a team of helpers including Cook, her assistant, three men in a pickup truck and a doctor, whose skills were thankfully not needed. The catering was fantastic, with a smorgasbord style breakfast, picnics for the saddle bags, and a cooked four course meal in the evening.
“The ride was fantastically well organised and a completely awesome experience.”
Sue finished her account by saying: “I enjoyed it so much that I am already fundraising to go again in 2012. It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had with horses, even despite my dislocated collar bone! The countryside and its people are beautiful. I only recently returned to riding after a 15 year gap, and would like to thank Nina and John at Rayne Riding School, and staff and students at Writtle, for getting me ready and helping to raise the money. It has turned my life around”.
BHS organise challenge rides in many countries, and they are the only way in which funds are raised for their welfare work. If you would like to donate, please visit http://www.justgiving.com/susan-woods, or contact BHS directly.
There will be an illustrated talk of the tour from Sue and Debbie, and this will be advertised in the autumn at Writtle College, so please do keep an eye out for further information.