Mongol Derby 2018

Baby Turtle

Mongol Derby 2018

Have you ever heard of a reverse bucket list?

You have heard of a bucket list, right? That wonderful list of things that you still want to do in your life – mine is so long, and keeps growing. Every time someone says – have you thought of this, or have you done that, I say oooh… Yes please, let’s go… Our buckets lists are all so individual – some people have a list that makes me say, well, ok… It may be things like get a passport and travel to a different country; get a job in a new place; go on a solo holiday… All of these things are my every day life, so I wouldn’t consider any of those a challenge. Other people have a horse related bucket list – ride in 10 different countries; improve your dressage scores, go up a grade in show jumping; ride your horse bareback. There is always something new to learn or try with your horse, I still have several different courses and ideas that I want to explore relating horses…

One idea that I loved, that I explored a few years ago, was something called a reverse bucket list – instead of looking at things you are wanting to do, list the things that you are proud to have done already. If you have an office (you have to have a house to have an office, and you have to have an office to have office walls, right?) you can write them on separate post-it notes, and stick them all over your walls as daily inspiration / affirmations, or if, as me, you don’t have walls, you can write a list on a sheet of paper. Again, some things I look at and don’t think they need to go on my list – cantering down a beach for example. But, if you take the things that you are proud of, or which were important to you, and list them, it can be quite cool…

Walking up Kili for charity. Collecting funds and equipment for the Gili cart ponies. Rescuing animals. Supporting a close friend through cancer. Moving my horses out of Zimbabwe… You get the idea. When something appears too difficult, think of what you have already been through, done or accomplished, and things look easier. Maybe your list would be celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary, writing a book or raising a family. No two people would ever have an identical list. And, why do I think this is so important? Am I just filling in time? No, I don’t believe so.

Turtle hatching
Turtle hatching

Everyone, human and animal, needs a challenge. One of the most striking reminders that I had of this, was watching a nest of turtle eggs hatch. The hatchlings had to break through their shells, orient themselves and walk across the sand to the sea. We could not help them, as they had to go through this initial fight, the will to live and fight and survive, to set themselves up for a long life at sea. In the same way, chicks break through shells, and young animals such as foals, must find their feet and their milk source. Often, it is the challenge to do something that gives strength. If you watch people who have overcome a crisis, a challenge or a disability, they are the stronger people. Some things in my life have been tough… Do I regret them? Generally, no. Of course, I would rather not have lost friends and family, but do I regret having known them to lose them? No, don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened…

Baby Turtle
Baby Turtle

And so, why am I writing this, right now? Well, I believe in trying to find something new to do or try every day, as well as one major challenge a year. Last year, I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, this year was more of a mental and squeamish challenge as I joined an equine dissection work shop. For me, being a softie when it comes to horses as well as a strict vegetarian and hating the look, smell and feel of meat, sitting through three days of cold with a dead horse was somewhat challenging… And now, I have 2018’s challenge all set up… A few months ago, I filled out the application form for the Ultimate Challenge… I wasn’t sure I would be hearing back from them, but got the call for an interview… A few days later, I received the magical golden ticket… Yes, you are in… So, what is this magic?

On 08/08/18 – a very auspicious day in the Asian thinking – 8th of August – 40 riders will be setting off to race 1,000km across the Mongol Steppes, retracing the route of Genghis Khan’s mail route, in what is the World’s Longest and Toughest horse race. And yes, I will be one of those 40 riders. Am I excited? Beyond excited! And why am I thinking bucket list again? Well, this challenges me on various levels. It is survival skills to the ultimate level – you and a pony, in the middle of nowhere, sleeping rough with no help, in a place where it can get to -10 degrees. Finding my way across 1,000km with no help… It’s you, a GPS and a map, and off you go… Riding 25 unknown ponies is slightly less of a challenge in my eyes since it is my job and has been for many, many years. Fund raising an enormous amount of money when I am hopeless at that – well, that really is a challenge. Getting fit again – that is something I am not especially good at doing. Going off to a new country, well, again, that is something I do all the time. Finding enough protein that can be carried on a pony while following a meat free diet – again, slightly challenging.

And, why am I doing it? Well. Because it is there. Because it will push me to limits that I have never found. Because it is adventure, out of the ordinary and exciting. Because it gives me a reason to get fit, to push harder, not to sit back on my laurels and live my life as just a series of ho hum, another day, days. Because, I do think we need to keep moving, keep pushing our elephant up hills, keep growing, keep reaching for the next mountain on the next horizon…

I challenge you – write your reverse bucket list, see what you have achieved in your life that you are proud of – and please, share it with me?! I am intrigued with humans, what we do, what we think, and what it is that makes you go, yes, me, me, I did that…. And talking about challenges – you know I have about $10,000 to raise? Any offers? A penny or two would be awesome! Thank you in advance…

More about the Mongol Derby 2018

Huge thanks to those who’ve already contributed!!  I’m so grateful.  You can read more about if via the link below or the page here on my website.

Go Fund Me for the Mongol Derby 2018
Go Fund Me for the Mongol Derby 2018