Pollyanna 2020 - Claire Takes on the Mongol Derby

Our sister, daughter, and friend Claire Taberski has accepted an international invitation to compete as one of just forty riders in the Mongol Derby, a 1000 km race across the Mongolian Steppe, billed by officials as “the longest and toughest horse race in the world”.

We're asking for your help in sending this strong, brave, woman to Mongolia so she can proudly represent Western New York in the race.
A life-long equestrian, she was selected from hundreds of international applicants for the August 2020 race following an extensive vetting process which evaluated her horsemanship and riding capabilities.  


The race fee is about $15,000 U.S. dollars, and with travel expenses and gear, Claire expects the whole experience to cost about $22,000.  She has one year to raise the funds. She hopes to draw a corporate sponsorship so she can donate these crowd-sharing funds to a charitable cause instead.

As a survivor of abuse, and as someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, her personal choice is to support Crisis Services. The race association donates to Cool Earth, a UK-based environmental group focused on fighting deforestation and placing local communities back in control of their lands. Claire plans to contribute to both if she receives the support.

The 622 mile journey takes nearly ten days to complete as competitors self-navigate an unmarked route once used as Genghis Khan’s thirteenth-century messenger system. Claire will ride the rugged terrain on twenty-five semi-feral horses, changing steeds approximately every 40 km at established checkpoints.

37848246_155303670257422_r.jpegPhoto courtesy of The Mongol Derby by The Adventurists

The semi-feral horses are integral to the culture of the nomadic herders of the Steppe, and the respect that the riders show their animals will factor in their overall success. At the end of each day, the herders allow the riders to join them in their camps to eat and rest, and competitors are expected to comply with  local customs. If found lacking, whether in manners or the treatment of the animals, the herders may leave riders to fend for themselves, and riders may be penalized.

Competitors are given a satellite GPS locator with an emergency button, which is tracked at the race headquarters should anything go awry. Medics are on hand for the riders, and a large team of veterinarians examines the horses at every relay outpost before and after each ride. What could go wrong?

37848246_1553036276238807_r.jpegPhoto courtesy of The Mongol Derby by The Adventurists

Claire is an alumnus of Canisius College in Buffalo where she dual-majored in Anthropology, and Animal Behavior, Conservation and Ecology.  She has many long months of training and preparation ahead of her, from learning basics of the language, to brushing up on wilderness survival. And of course, many, MANY hours in the saddle.

The competitors, and even the winner of the race take away nothing but the proud memories of the endurance test and adventure of a lifetime. But our Claire is a little bit crazy... okay a lot a bit of crazy - so this sounds right up her alley!


Thank you for your supporting Claire!

If you're curious about the beautiful black steed in these photos, meet Kona! Kona is Claire's eleven year-old, off-the-track, Thoroughbred mare (think a Kentucky Derby runner on a much smaller scale). Kona is the perfect training partner for the Derby - full of fire and stamina!

Donations (0)

  • Julianne Taggart 
    • $50 
    • 5 d
  • Whitney Clark 
    • $20 
    • 2 mos
  • Angelo Argentieri 
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $5,000 
    • 3 mos
  • Conor Vile 
    • $104 
    • 3 mos

Organizer and beneficiary 

Jennine Taberski 
Orchard Park, NY
Claire Taberski 
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