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The Long Riders' Guild

An open letter from Kate Riordan to
President Elbegdorj of Mongolia

 Dear President Elbegdorj,

Thank you for the opportunity to allow me to address you with regard to the proposed Mongol Derby.

I have been involved with the sport of endurance and long distance riding for over 40 years. For 20 years I have been on the Board of Governors for the Tevis Ride, the oldest organized endurance ride in the world (started in 1955) which traverses 100 miles in the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains.

Over these years the sport of endurance riding has allowed us to scientifically understand the physical requirements of the horse that is ridden long distances, carrying weight, and traveling at speed. The horse that is unprepared for this sport is in peril of dying.

And that is my fear.

This event is being administered by people who want drama and exploitation in their Derby, at the cost of your country’s reputation and at the cost of the lives of these horses. They are NOT horse people, and the welfare of these animals is not of concern to them, nor is it of concern to them the welfare of the riders — it is very possible that these contestants will sustain serious injuries or even death.

Many of these horses, who are in a weakened condition already because of the perils of the past winter, will suffer and predictably die from this event. They are not of the size necessary to carry European and American riders. They are not conditioned physically to endure these distances. They are not prepared nutritionally. The riders are not qualified to enter this ride (to enter the Tevis, the rider must have ridden 300 competitive miles). The horses will undoubtedly die or suffer from conditions that they will never recover from. 

Please do not allow this event to happen. You have all the power to cancel this Mongol Derby. 

Please use it.

Thousands of horse people around the world, including those who have visited your country and have brought tourists there, are anxiously awaiting your decision. Your country’s best interest is at stake.

We must all make decisions in life, based on what we think is the right thing to do. Buddha thought of animals as sentient beings, capable of feeling suffering, and having the potential to becoming enlightened. One cannot, therefore, make a hard distinction between moral rules applicable to animals and those applicable to humans; ultimately humans and animals are all interconnected.

Please, dear President Elbegdorj, do not allow this Mongol Derby to put Mongolia and its people in a negative light, and do not allow these Derby administrators to kill or harm these wonderful horses by staging this event.

With sincere best regards,

Kate Riordan

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