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2024 Gaucho Derby: the greatest test of horsemanship and survival skill on earth

February 4-18

Race Update 6

Race Update 5

Race Update 4

Gaucho Derby Day 5: The Race Heats Up

Equestrianists.com - Full Article

Tom Morgan
12th February 2024

As the race enters Day 5, the competition at the front has heated up. Gaucho Derby veteran Daniel Van Eden, Endurance Athlete Holly Masson and Mongol Derby veteran Rendel Rieckmann have managed to secure the lead so far. Their excellent horsemanship, careful navigation and teamwork across the course has allowed them to pull in front. However, at day’s end Holly and Rendel were 30 minutes faster into the final horse station of the day, leaving Daniel to ride in solo after a long but successful slog over the meseta.

Just behind them, Gaucho Derby Academy alum Morgan Williams is literally hot on their heels, her quiet determination and tenacity for tackling this terrain making her a serious contender for the win. Overnighting at a scenic puesto just shy of the horse station, she will make her break for her next horse change first thing in the morning.

From high mountains to grassy valleys and expansive plateaus, the riders have navigated some of the most challenging terrain on the planet. Steep hillsides and muddy bogs pose formidable obstacles, with riders experiencing firsthand the unpredictability of Patagonia.

Rider Izzy Fitzalan Howard on the famous bogs and finding them first hand: “There I was, trying to find a way around the lake; it was all going very well until boom, in we went into a muddy bog! My horse was able to scramble to the other side, and we made it out just fine. These horses are seriously incredible!”...

Read the rest here:

Race Update 3

Race Update 2

Race Update 1

Gaucho Derby: Days 1-3

Photo by: @kathy_gabriel_

Wifi is limited in the wilds of Argentina, but here are updates from days 1 and 3 from the Gaucho Derby:

Day 1 Post
As the day winds down, riders take on the crucial responsibility of tending to their horses—ensuring they are well-fed, hydrated, and comfortably settled for the night. Only after attending to their equine companions do they set up camp and prepare a delightful dehydrated meal . This self-sufficiency is a hallmark of the journey, with riders managing their daily activities independently, without reliance on others or the support crew.

Day 3 Recap
It was a hot one in Patagonia, where scorching temperatures and a complete lack of wind added to the challenge, riders faced a day of slow progress amidst the challenging terrain of mountainous forests.

With unwavering determination, riders pushed toward HS2 (VC7), eagerly anticipating their first resupply. This crucial stop offered a much-needed boost with additional kits, including meals, snacks, and extra layers for the journey ahead.

Noteworthy discussions among riders centered on the intricacies of the gates, emphasizing the difficulty in navigating to the precise locations. Correctly hitting the gates became a crucial aspect, as any misstep could result in added time, necessitating re-navigation to reach the correct crossing point.

Looking ahead, the forecast promises a shift to chillier weather and a chance of rain. It remains to be seen whether the change in conditions will influence the pace of the pack, especially with the potential for rejuvenated energy from both the cooler temperatures and the introduction of fresh horses.

Warwick Schiller on the beast that is the Gaucho Derby

Australia's Warwick and Duncan saddle up for greatest test of horsemanship on Earth

AboutRegional.com.au - Full Articoe

9 February 2024 | Edwina Mason

Eight Australian equestrians, two of them from the south of NSW, are stepping into the boots of the hardy, brave nomadic cowboys of Argentina as they embark on a gruelling 500-km endurance ride across the vast mountainous Patagonian region of Argentina.

Young’s world wandering Warwick Schiller joins Duncan McLaughlin of Bodalla, and 39 other international riders from Britain, the US, Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada, Chile and New Zealand on the 10-day Gaucho Derby, billed as the greatest test of horsemanship on Earth.

The derby is one in a world series of horseback endurance rides that don’t just test the mettle of the riders, who have notched up years in the saddle, but the loan horses on which they rely – ‘criollo’, all of them from the enormous – 100,000 acres large – Argentine ranches known as estancias, which cover vast swathes of Patagonia...

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'The gold is right there, keep going': Dunlap woman to compete in grueling endurance horseback race

'The gold is right there, keep going': Dunlap woman to compete in grueling endurance horseback race WCBU.org - Full Article

WCBU | By Collin Schopp
Published February 1, 2024

Laurie Kaplan started riding horses when she was 5. She told her mother she was interested and her mom got to work finding a barn in her hometown of East Lansing, Michigan.

Now, Laurie Kaplan lives outside Dunlap, Illinois and the barn is her own. Snow, slush and mud covers the ground at the Kaplan farm, home to chickens, cats, a large friendly dog, sheep and, of course, two horses.

“It’s the connection with the horse, they connect with us energetically,” said Kaplan about her passion for horseback riding. “When we show up in a bad mood, or a grumpy mood, if we don’t change that mood while we’re working with them, they may reflect back on us. They’re mirrors.”

Kaplan said she did a few competitive events in childhood, as well as teaching summer camps. Now, she’s about to take on the biggest challenge of her horseback riding career: the Gaucho Derby...

Read more here:

Meet the riders for the 2024 Gaucho Derby


January 27 2024

Forty-one riders from New Zealand, USA, Netherlands, Switzerland, Great Britain, Chile, Belgium, Canada, France, and Germany will apply their horsemanship and navigation skills to negotiate "the greatest test of horsemanship and wilderness skills on earth" across Patagonia.

From February 4-18 they will ride locally owned Gaucho horses, most with Criollo blood, the native horse of the South American Pampas.

Riders are currently participating in the Gaucho Academy, where they brush up on their GPS and survival skills. As a finale, they will ride alongside the Gauchos and joining the team for a wild horse round up.

Stay tuned for more!

2024 Gaucho Derby set for February 4-18


“This is the greatest test of horsemanship and wilderness skills on earth,” the Gaucho Derby, is set to take place February 4-18 in Patagonia.

Based on “the landscape, culture, history and horses of Patagonia and the Gaucho, 40 riders from the USA, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Great Britain, will navigate their way through the wild lands of Patagonia on horseback. They will ‘race’ between estancias and horse stations along the course; horses will be checked along the route and will have to pass vet checks to continue on and avoid penalties.

Stay tuned for more!