A lifelong riding enthusiast will next month be leaving Jersey and retracing Genghis Khan's postal route as part of a 1,000km horse race in Mongolia to raise money for islanders needing end of life care.
After two years of covid delays, 47-year-old Carla Rasdall will soon be jetting off to begin the 10-day-long Mongol Derby on 10 August alongside 40 other international riders.
Carla has lived in Jersey with her husband for 17 years and is a life-long riding enthusiast who rides regularly as a 'work rider', exercising racehorses for a Jersey trainer.
Outside of riding, she is a qualified English solicitor and works full-time as the Vice President of Corporate Governance for Warner Bros Discovery.
Carla competes locally in dressage and show jumping, and also trained and rode her own racehorse in 2008. This wealth of riding experience is necessary for the gruelling Mongol Derby, which involves a lengthy application process and interview before the carefully selected riders are allowed to compete.
Pictured: Locally, Carla exercises racehorses for a Jersey trainer.
The self-navigated horse race travels across 1,000km of the remote Mongolian Steppe and is designed to simulate Genghis Khan’s mighty horse messenger system which was designed in 1224.
The riders will be tackling the route on the backs of semi-wild Monoglian horses, changing steeds approximately every 40km. Riders navigate between the horse stations however they choose, crossing high passes, huge valleys, wooded hills, river crossings, wetland, dunes and open steppe.
The horses are lent to the riders by local nomadic people – the Urtuu – who also provide hospitality along the route, camping with the riders in traditional 'gers'.
Carla said: "The Mongolian Steppe is one of the last true wilderness and the chance to ride the native horses and learn more about their nomadic culture seemed like a wonderful antidote to a long period of long down. I have always been a keen horsewoman and love to travel, so it seemed like an irresistible once in a lifetime chance.
"To me, it is a really unique opportunity to have an epic equestrian adventure, testing not only my riding abilities but also my mental and physical stamina, whilst hopefully making some great new friends along the way.
"It's not every day that someone asks you if you want to recreate the ancient horse messenger system of Genghis Khan!"
Pictured: The riders will camp out alongside local herding families, who also provide the racehorses.
This will be Carla's first official riding endurance competition.
She explained: "It is difficult to get into endurance riding in Jersey as it doesn't really exist. I took part in endurance training last year in the Brecon Beacons and I've completed the Round The Island Walk twice and have participated in fun-runs over the year.
"I don't think anything will truly prepare me for riding 1,000km over 10 days, but I've been doing lots of pilates classes, exercising racehorses, sea swimming and jogging as much as my schedule allows. I am doing my best to get in the best shape that I can, for the challenge and chafing to come!"
People will be able to follow Carla’s race progress in August via a live tracker link.
Carla is now looking forward to the race.
"After two years of Covid delays, it's hard to believe it's finally happening. With only 5 weeks to go, the nerves are really starting to kick in. But mainly, I am really excited for the challenge to come," she said.
"I know I will meet some amazing people, share some fantastic experiences and hopefully come back (in one piece) with lots of great stories and an appreciation of the Mongolian culture and horsemanship."
Pictured: Carla has been doing pilates classes, exercising racehorses, sea swimming and jogging in preparation.
She added: “I'd love to use this endurance challenge to raise much needed funds for Jersey Hospice Care which is a charity near to the hearts of many, myself included. If you would be so kind as to sponsor me, it will truly spur me on during the tough times to come."
So far, Carla has raised almost 10% of her £5,000 fundraising target.
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