Heartfelt thanks to the wonderful Annie Clarke who has donated this saddle to fundraise for the Veloo Foundation’s Children of the Peak Sanctuary Project, as part of the Blue Wolf Totem Expedition2022.
Above: Bodalla’s Duncan McLaughlin and Annie Clarke Duncan, along with Moruya’s Cele Stone, are among 16 riders selected for the 3600km Blue Wolf Totem Expedition across Mongolia commencing in May 2022. Raising funds for the Children of the Peak Sanctuary, the three-month adventure will see the pair onboard native Mongolian horses, riding roughly 50km each day. Riders cover the cost of the expedition itself but have each committed to raising at least US$5000 for charity. You can support Duncan McLaughlin by clicking here, and Cele Stone by clicking here.
Duncan McLaughlin said "Yes, tears were shed. This is a very special saddle. It’s the saddle Annie’s partner Ray Fulton had made before he died. Long-time endurance riders will remember Ray’s passion for the sport and also his tireless efforts on behalf of Vietnam Vets.
So if you’re looking for a hand-made, as-new (Ray’s only ride in it was when travelling his ashes to his final resting place), swivel tree, endurance saddle, then throw Duncan a message to talk on price. Duncan will be riding in The Mongol Derby, a self-guided 1000km adventure race across the incomparable Mongolian steppe, one of the world's last remaining wildernesses and cradle of the largest land empire ever created under Chinggis Khaan.
At the heart of the Mongol Derby is the horse station system, called Urtuus in Mongolian. Based on the Great Khaan's postal system which could relay messages at speed from the furthest corners of the empire, the Mongol Derby rebuilds this network to stage one of the most ambitious equine events in history.
Participants are mounted on a series of native Mongolian horses, which are sacred in the enduring Mongolian nomadic culture. They eat and rest with nomadic families along the way, experiencing Mongolia as it would have appeared in the time of the Great Empire.
Integral to the event is an extensive back-up system providing medical, veterinary and communications support to the horses and riders, but all being well, riders are alone in the wilderness with their semi-wild steeds.
This is a multi-faceted adventure, not just a horse race. Riders change horses every 35kms, ensuring that the horse power is always fresh and full of running, while they themselves are pushed to their physical limits. Riders need to look after themselves in extreme conditions, navigate independently, and overcome difficulties using their initiative.
All of these elements combine to make the Mongol Derby the ultimate equine adventure, which entices the world's finest adventurers, riders and audience.