Waikato man gears up for the 1,000km Mongol Derby, the world's longest and toughest horse race

It's "one hell of a ride" but Waikato horse rider Eion Kemp says he's looking forward to competing in the world's longest and toughest horse race, the Mongol Derby.

It's raced over 1000 kilometres of some of the world's most gruelling terrain in Mongolia in August.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp found Eion Kemp breaking in yearlings and two-year-olds at a farm at Matamata before they go on to a trainer.

In much the same way, Mr Kemp is about to be broken in, in the biggest riding challenge of his career.

"The Mongol Derby. The world's longest and toughest horse race. It's raced over 1000 kilometres through the steppes of Mongolia," he said.

Riders have been told to expect temperatures to be anything from minus five to plus 35 degrees for the race over mountain passes, flats and rivers.

"Although I ride every day, probably 25 to 30 kilometres, I can't conceive doing 1000 kilometres," Mr Kemp said.

As for the horses, the 45 competing riders change mounts every 40 kilometres.

"You get into a station and there's a line-up of horses. You walk down the line and basically look for your next horse," he explained.

Seven Sharp reminded Mr Kemp that he doesn't have to ride in the Mongol Derby, but there was no holding him back.

"Yes I do, I do. It's that simple," he said.

Eion Kemp is gearing up for the Mongol Derby in August. Source: Seven Sharp


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