Dailyindependent.com - Full Article
Posted: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 5:21 pm
Not many middle-aged women living in northeastern Kentucky would ever consider traveling halfway around the world to go on a 1,000-mile endurance ride on horseback in one of the most remote parts of the world. But Amy Whelan is not like most women.
To Whelan, who lives on a farm near Louisa, spending hours riding a horse across the high plains and mountains of Mongolia was an adventure for which she trained for a year. Her only disappointment is that she broke her collarbone in three places in an accident during the race and was unable to finish the 1,000-kilometer derby on a route that mirrors the postal route established by Genghis Kahn in the 13th century. Despite the disappointment of not finishing the endurance derby, Whelan is quick to tell anyone who is willing to listen that the experience was “awesome” — something that, despite her injuries, she does not at all regret doing.
The derby on tough Mongolian horses bred for endurance required Whelan to employ every skill she has learned in a half century of riding and to push herself to the limit. Needless to say, the other riders in the race were also riding “fanatics” who, like Whelan, came to Mongolia to pit themselves against nature.
The riders did have some modern conveniences not available to those postal riders in the 13th century. They all carried GPS units and electronic trackers to find their way and remain in touch with organizers and are supported by a network of way stations. They also changed horses about every 25 miles...
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