A few weeks ago I interviewed Keith Swenson of Stone Horse Expeditions, a horseback adventure company operating in Mongolia. Keith talks about the wonders of Mongolia and how you see them on horseback. It’s a good show, you can listen here: Play Stone Horse Podcast. I received several emails from people telling me how much they enjoyed hearing about Mongolia. One listener and friend, John Zeliff, emailed to suggest I interview Tim Finley who competed in something called the Mongol Derby. While I hadn’t heard of Tim or the Derby, I headed to the interweb for a little research.
Wow! The Mongol Derby is the longest horse race in the world. One thousand kilometers or 621 miles across Mongolia. A group called Adventurists, who raise money to help environmental issues organizes the event and want to have fun doing it. While about 40-50 riders start the race, only a little more than half finish. They are riding Mongolian horses. Each horse rides 25 miles. Each rider picks one of the horses from a string. We learn the mechanics of the race from Tim Finley.
Tim Finley had a career as an Air Force Captain with a tour in Iraq and was part of the Honor Guard. As with many servicemen, Tim struggled with PTSD from his experiences. Because the Air Force is unlike the other armed forces, getting help is more difficult. Horses turned out to be a great outlet for him, particularly when he found a horse at a killers sale. Tim worked with apparel maker Nine Line bringing awareness to returning veterans committing suicide after returning home.
Tim is out of the Air Force now and wrote a book he hopes to publish soon about his experience with horses. And, now he’s working on another about the Mongol Derby. This year he plans to ride in several endurance competitions.
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