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Kelsey's Mongol Derby for Blackburn

$21,825 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 87 people in 7 months
I have done some weird and adventurous things in my life, but this one is by far the craziest.

On August 8 to 17, I will be one of 40 riders participating in the Mongol Derby, which is the world’s longest and toughest horse race and is contested on the backs of half-broke Mongolian horses across 1000 km of the Outer Mongolian steppe. Over 10 days, we riders will have to navigate our way through 25 horse stations using GPS, maps and our wits (there is no marked path) in a course that is a recreation of Chinggis Khaan’s world-first long-distance postal system set up in 1224. We are likely to encounter all types of terrain and weather–open valleys, river crossings, rolling hills, heat, cold, rain, hail–not to mention being bucked off, extreme chafing from 13-hour days in the saddle, and being chased by wild dogs. We will carry just 11 pounds of kit with us and won’t have access to showers while out on the course.



Now, why in my right mind would I want to do this, you ask?

Well, first of all, let’s be clear, I wouldn’t exactly say I’m in my right mind!

Second, I have always set out to live the most interesting life possible. The Mongol Derby appeals to me because it offers a chance to immerse oneself for a brief period in one of the last truly nomadic cultures on earth. And, considering only about half the riders each year finish the race, it is a terrific challenge that few can boast to have accomplished.




Third, and most important, I’m going to use the Mongol Derby as an initiative to give back to Thoroughbred racehorses by raising money for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Second Chances Program at the Blackburn Correctional Complex . Blackburn, based in my home city of Lexington, Kentucky, sees minimum security inmates rehabilitate and care for off-track Thoroughbreds. Not only does the program provide a respite and a life after racing for the Thoroughbreds, but it gives back to the local community by providing inmates with a renewed sense of responsibility and skill set that they can take with them when they leave the prison. Read about recent Blackburn success story Z Camelot in the TDN , and also about my visit to Blackburn .



Working in the Thoroughbred racing industry has allowed me to live the most incredible life, and I owe everything to these animals. I can’t think of a better reason to do this.

So, the financials. As you can imagine for such an epic adventure, the Mongol Derby is not cheap. The entry fee of $12,995 will cover all costs once I arrive in Mongolia, including the use of horses, tack, food, pre-race training and a tracking device so you can follow me from the comfort of your lounge chair. It also goes toward the race crew, medics, and the local Mongolians who are so kindly allowing us to use their horses. It does not include flights to and from Mongolia, equipment I’ll need to purchase for the adventure, travel insurance, etc. The funds raised will be split halfway between Blackburn and covering costs of the trip. However, if and when 50% of the funds raised goes beyond the $12,995 entry fee, all remaining money raised goes straight to Blackburn.

So, for all these many good reasons, I will be absolutely indebted to you if you can contribute to my cause.
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Thank you so much to Godolphin and Engage Digital Partners for helping me to produce this video, and to Linda Dyer and the inmates at Blackburn for being such incredible subjects!
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Just wanted to thank you all once again for your incredible support. We have now sailed past our $20,000 goal! I'm putting together a list of donors in the Thoroughbred industry to publish, and I have left off those who donated anonymously. If that is you and you would in fact like to be included on the list, please let me know.
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This week, I got to visit Blackburn and meet the horses and inmates in the Second Chances program, the charity for which I'm fundraising as part of my Mongol Derby ride. I knew when I chose the charity that it is a program that does good and changes lives, but seeing it firsthand was astounding.

For the prisoners who participate in the program, looking after the horses and learning about horsemanship and horse care, they told me straight up about how much confidence they've gained, how therapeutic it's been to be around the horses, how they've been given a purpose, and how they all want to keep working with horses when they leave the prison.

For the horses, Blackburn is an important sanctuary for ex-racehorses that no longer have athletic potential. These horses need and deserve our love just as much as the athletes do.

Full video and editorial coverage of my visit is on its way in the next few weeks, but I wanted to share with you all a quick overview of my experience. Check out the video below.

I'm motivated now more than ever to step up my fundraising efforts for this program, which is fueled entirely by charitable donations.
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$21,825 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 87 people in 7 months
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$200
Mary McLeod
5 days ago
DH
$100
Digger Hawkins
5 days ago
$250
Anonymous
9 days ago
$25
Anonymous
12 days ago
AH
$500
ARQANA HOYEAU
12 days ago
GR
$100
GEORGES RIMAUD
13 days ago
$250
Anonymous
13 days ago (Offline Donation)
JM
$100
Jim Mulvihill
13 days ago
KA
$200
Kelsey and Aurelien
13 days ago
DF
$100
Darren Fox
13 days ago
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