Before I tell the tale, I would like to let you know that this year's Edition of the Gobi Gallop was a stunning panorama of beauty and adventure and, as its stated goal is to raise money to help the children, I am thrilled to announce we raised (in combination with the Gobi Gallop Gala) a little over $100,000.00, all of which will go directly to help the children up at the Children of the Peak Sanctuary Project!
Serious and heartfelt thanks to the riders, their sponsors, our corporate partners Ford, Oyu Tolgoi and KalTech along with the whole crew at Horse Trek Mongolia and all of the volunteers who worked so hard to make it such a success. Without all of your effort and support we could not do what we do.
Thank you for helping us make a difference...one child at a time.
So, as you might imagine, 700 kilometres of adventure takes quite the telling. As I sit here sorting through literally thousands of gorgeous photos trying to work it down to a manageable number to show you what it was like for me, I thought I would take something of a short cut and first introduce you to the Gobi Gallop 2016 through the magic of Follow the Lens Photography and their very very nifty drone... enjoy the show..and then scroll down to where I've done my best to outline what is one of the most special rides on the planet.
So here goes...How about we start with with 10 EPIC riders from around the world, 14 fabulous Mongolian and Foreign crew , untold miles of stunning , breathtaking scenery, 4 support vehicles (including the fabulous Ford Raptor well equipped with a very well used winch!)and 32 of the most valiant and capable horses on the planet. We began as strangers and quickly moved to become great friends - friends who shared laughs and pain and very public bathroom situations. Friends who cared for and nurtured each other at their weak moments and then let themselves be nurtured at their own weak moments. Friends with very bad language (some of them...some had to be taught bad language!) and very beautiful hearts. Friends whose poetry and grace glittered and cascaded around us all as we all, overwhelmed by the emotion of the experience, struggled to try somehow to put words to the beauty and the majesty we were experiencing. Strangers who became the points of a unique and beautiful star that was made up those of us who had the uncanny great fortune to ride the Gobi Gallop 2016 - In the Steps of the Khaan.
Retracing the famous footsteps of one of the world's greatest leader and man of the millenium Chinggis Khaan, we began with a simple and inauspicious visit to the Children of the Peak Sanctuary Kindergarten ( please note - I do not purport to endorse a previous visit by Chinggis Khaan to the kindergarten....although I don't rule it out either!) where the riders had the chance to meet the little ones who would be benefitting from the ride. They had a chance to laugh, play and giggle with the children who are, as always, my inspiration for this ride. It was lovely to see all the riders along with some of our corporate sponsors share the joy of shared play with the children and even more touchg was to see how many of them had brought along sometimes VERY LARGE suitcases filled with toys, warm socks, pencils and papers and other supplies for the kindergarten. Thank you to all the riders to keeping the children first and foremost in your thoughts and making such a great effort to help us make a difference to these children. On another note...lease note how clean and well put together the riders look. Spoiler Alert - They won't stay that way for long!
The Ride itself - a thousand unexpected glittering moments
The Gobi Gallop could not happen without the support of some really amazing companies. We'd like to take a moment to let you know how some of these companies have (and continue to!) support us.
Thank you all for helping us make a difference....one child at a time!
Every year Oyu Tolgoi provides the Gobi Gallop with iridium phones, and access to their most excellent emergency response network. Each day we call in from the ride with our GPS coordinates and let the dispatcher at Oyu Tolgoi know that we're all ok. Fortunately, we've never had a serious incident that required use of their emergency response but it makes all the difference just knowing it's there. Thank you Oyu Tolgoi for your ongoing support! We couldn't do it without you!