|Lynne on Mercuric|
Note: the video story includes a night ride photo taken by photographer Becky Siler Pearman.
Somehow, a fun loving bunch of promoters with a distinctly European style have crept into Virginia's horse country.
The Adventurists sponsor all kinds of crazy adventures which you can read about on their website. One of those adventures is the Mongol Derby. (Click here for their promotional video) It's a 1,000 K race across the Mongolian steppe. The race re-creates the ride of Genghis Khan and his conquering forces. Participants must be invited and they must have the resume to support the notion that they can complete this race without dying.
That's where Lynne Gilbert comes in. She has qualified to participate in this insanity and is actually excited about it.
As you'll see in the TV story, Lynne is an accomplished endurance rider, who with her horse, Mercuric, is a top finisher at "races" of 50 to 100 miles here in the United States. She learned earlier this year that her application to participate in the Derby had been accepted.
From the Adventurists Website:
The HorsesMongolian horses were the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles of the thirteenth century. These indefatigable steeds once carried the all-conquering Mongol warriors across half the world. Diminutive, sturdy, fearless, wild and unbelievably tough, they're rightly revered in Mongolian culture, and have changed very little over the centuries, free as they are from human interference.
After which, if she survives, she will participate in: (again -- from the website)
...Final dust expected to settle Sunday, August 13/14th, whereupon speeches will be made and holy vodka sprinkled. And imbibed. Riders will be transferred back to Ulaanbaatar on August 14/15th
This is either going to be the most painful experience since Khan's soldiers arrived on someone's doorstep, or one heck of an adventure.
I hope you'll check out the story on Fox 21/27 at 10 p.m. on December 18 or the Fox Morning News on December 19. We had a great day shooting the interview and footage of Lynne as she and Mercuric galloped across the green fields of a Lexington Farm. There were blue skies, and tall cliffs along the Maury River and just enough leaves on the trees to make it pretty.
When you see Lynne -- who can't weight more than 100 pounds -- if that -- you will likely think as I did, that you could not find a single person who is further in character from the famed Genghis Khan. She is pretty, sweet and determined.
Only 35 people are admitted to the Derby, and who knows where Lynne will finish. I'm betting however that she WILL finish, and that's saying a lot.
By the way, each rider must choose a charity to support through the training and racing process. Lynne's is the Wounded Warrior Equestrian Program. Click here for their Facebook page. The program provides both emotional and physical therapy to veterans using rescue horses.
"I’m so excited that I found a charity that helps both animals and people. I work with many veterans and have volunteered with HoofBeats Therapeutic Riding Program. The decision was tough because there are so many great organizations that need funding but this one just seemed right for me," she wrote in an recent e-mail.
If you would like to support the Wounded Warrior Equestrian program in honor of Lynne's efforts, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.