Saturday 11th August - Day 3
As we watched the herders try and catch our horses via lasso before tying them up to the horse line, rob and henry were both still feeling the effects of some dehydration. Both throwing up before getting on made the first half an hour very difficult. We kept moving with the 2 of them very much pretending to be travelling better than they were.
As we moved over the undulating hills, we picked up 2 other riders who had copped their first slow horses for the race and made our group a large group of 9 riders. This helped drag the slow horses along and we managed to get into station 8. Rob and Henry had started to feel much better and the day was looking up.
We passed vet, selected horses and filled our water. As the herders were riding the horses for a warm up, Ed’s horse bucked and threw the herder and the saddle off it’s back, broke the girth before taking off into the distance, unfortunately, with bridle still on.
As the horse took off into the distance and over the furthest hill we could see before disappearing out of sight, we were left by 3 of the riders we had ridden with from the day before. The 2 riders we had picked up on the way into station 8, Bots and Jos had stayed with us to help get the horse situation sorted. Bots, a safari guide from Botswana and Jos, a journalist from the US, would become a permanent addition to the ride for a cure team that had by now been dubbed ‘Archibells’ by the race organisers.
As the 6 of us watched Eds horse disappear over the hill, a quick glance at the local herders showed very little urgency to catch it. A decision was made to negotiate with the locals to obtain a new bridle and get a new horse and move on, rather than wait for the now vanished one to return. This basically involved the 4 of us all throwing cigarettes and at anyone within the vicinity.
After a slight delay,- we managed to get a new bridle, zip-tie the girth back together, get a new horse for Ed and we were off.
The next few stations were largely flat, where we covered good distance and tracked along a river for what felt like an eternity in the heat of the day. The station from 10-11 was long, over 40km and hot with little opportunity to water the horses.
As we came into station 11 we noticed this had caught a lot of those ahead of us out, with 6 people serving vet penalties. By now it was 7pm and with an hour to ride before curfew, we decided to use the riding time and try and make a well, 17km away. Riding as a 6 (the Archibells plus Bots and Jos) we managed to all pick good horses, so we rode quickly, yahooing and laughing our way to the well. We made it just on time and found a local family to stay with. The daughter spoke a little English and by sheer coincidence, the family owned 3 of the 6 horses we were riding. They took total care of the horses for the night. They fed, watered and hobbled them also for us before treating us to a meal with the family, some home-made Mongolian vodka and our own gur to sleep in.
Day 3 Stations Travelled: 4.5
Day 3 Km travelled: 152