Waterloo equestrian rider Kirsty Barnes prepares for selection in longest and toughest horse race on earth

Claudette RizziSouth Western Times
Kirsty Barnes in preparation to train in Mongolia for a rare and challenging equestrian event.
Camera IconKirsty Barnes in preparation to train in Mongolia for a rare and challenging equestrian event. Credit: supplied

A Waterloo woman is set to travel to Mongolia as she vies to be selected for one of the world’s toughest horse races.

Kirsty Barnes has been selected to join the Mongolian Derby Academy in July to train with herders in preparation for a shot at participating in the 1000km Mongolian Derby.

After an intensive interview and selection process, she said she felt “privileged” to have been chosen for a special training session ahead of next year’s race.

“It’s considered one of the most dangerous and toughest races in equestrian sport,” Barnes said.

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“I’ll go over there for a while and learn off the Mongolian herders, live with them, train with them and learn the tracking system”.

The experienced equestrian and horse trainer said the training sessions and the race itself were difficult to get into and she was humbled to be welcomed by host families with a small group from around the globe to take on the challenge.

“The horses are known to be very hardy kind of horses and the horsemanship different to here in Australia or anywhere in the world, so it’s going to be very interesting,” she said.

“We’ll be learning from them to prep ourselves and see if we are actually capable to do the 1000km Mongolian Derby Race.”

Ms Barnes said her training for the trip involved riding four to five days per week and gym sessions, with a weight limit of 85kg to compete.

“We can have a survival kit we have to take which is 5kg and under and is included in the 85kg limit for the race,” she said.

The 30-year-old has years of experience, riding since the age of four and always having a love for horses.

Barnes said the love runs in the family, though she has gone more into the training side instead of breeding.

“I think the biggest challenges are yet to come,” she said.

“I think the Mongal horsemanship is very different and I will be keen to learn from them and their ways with horses. I believe this will be a learning curve in itself.

“Now the event is coming closer, my main challenges are to learn some key words in the Mongolian language, as I will be a guest of the herders, and to improve my overall fitness.”

Barnes said she was looking forward to meeting other horse enthusiasts from other parts of the globe and to take the journey together where they can be challenged, tested and grow within the horse industry.

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