"The greatest test of horsemanship and survival skill on Earth"
Photo Estancia in Argentina
The Gaucho Derby
What is the Gaucho Derby?
The Gaucho Derby is an extreme horse race designed to test the endurance, horsemanship and survival skills of the rider (aka yours truly).
The race took place over 10 days and 311miles (500km) in the intense and immense terrain of Patagonia in Argentina. I completed the race March 3-13, 2022. Being fall, the weather was somewhat unpredictable, but we were incredibly lucky and missed out on blizzards. The race started in the pampas (prairies) where speed was the name of the game, the race proceeded to some forests where navigation was key and a challenge, from there the race brought us through cliffs and rivers, up onto high meadows, and to vast mountains that the mind couldn't really comprehend.
There were vet check stations at approximately 25mi(40km) intervals where the horses heart rates and other vitals were checked. Six of these vet checks are also horse change stations where I had a whole partner to learn (7 horses total for the race).
Overall the whole thing is an epic adventure almost beyond explanation.
Photo Gallery Coming Soon!
Photo: Me and "Karma" in front of Mt. FitzRoy
If you want more information you can check out the Derby website or facebook page below:
Why did I do this?
As some of you will know, I had a brush with a pretty serious incident of Domestic Violence in fall of 2015. Not to get into too much detail, I suffered sustained emotional and a life threatening incident of physical abuse. On top of that, when I ran, I lost my home and four of my pets to a house fire started by my abuser. He did serve prison time for the assault, but was released in December 2019. Since his release I realized that I REALLY needed something to set me completely free and restart.
I originally choose the Mongol Derby because I'd read a book about it and seen the facebook page when a man in his 70's won in 2019. The Gaucho Derby didn't even exist yet. The Gaucho's first year was March of 2020, but the prerequisite was to have completed the Mongol Derby. Following the Gaucho adventure made me bite the bullet and apply for the Mongol. When they got my application the interviewer offered me the chance to apply for the Gaucho and I jumped on it. It's definitely more my style. Although there's still an element of speed, it has a lot more survival skills, navigation and strategy than the Mongol.
On top of all of this fluff....It'll be a special year for me because 2022 is my year of 40!!!