The Long Riders' Guild

British Minister of Horses, James Fitzpatrick, asked to protect Nationís Equestrian Honour

Minister Fitzpatrick, when you recently assumed the role of Great Britainís Minister for the Horse it became your duty to protect the mounted legacy of a nation which has often stood alone as a pillar of truth, trust and tradition in the equine world.

That horse heritage is now in danger of being corrupted by a profit-making English company, posing as a social enterprise, which treats responsibility as an afterthought.

NaÔve young citizens of Great Britain have been enticed into paying large sums of money so as to participate in a Mongolian horse race that will set endurance racing back 50 years.

ďThis isn't an endurance race, it's entertainment,Ē warned a leader of the international endurance riding community. ďIt undermines endurance racing all over the world.Ē

That is no frightened mother hen talking.

In a recent interview one of the competitors, who had no endurance racing experience, nor any true appreciation of how dangerous the Mongolian steppe can be, revealed the incredible lack of basic safety she and the other contestants are being asked to accept.

"They're providing us with these yellow brick trackers, so we can activate the emergency beacon if our horse is injured and we can't walk it in," she said. "The only other time you're supposed to activate the beacon is if you feel your life is in immediate danger. There's only one emergency medical helicopter in all of Mongolia."

Food and water will also be an obstacle during the so-called Mongol Derby.

"We're still looking into the food options," the naÔve young contestant told the press. "They're going to give us GPS locations to the wells, where we'll be able to get water, and they don't guarantee that the wells will have water. They want us to be careful because there are packs of wild dogs that surround those wells.Ē

As any of your nationís great horse riders can attest, to be a true horseman, one is called upon to possess certain qualities that go beyond simply riding a horse a long way. In fact the age-old concept of chivalry reinforced the need to incorporate humility, fortitude, honesty and honour. If people donít have these qualities, they are not horsemen, they are just bodies on horses

Sadly, if the Mongolian race is allowed to continue, it will erode these critically important traditions in a way that is potentially very dangerous. Furthermore, equestrian morale in Great Britain will plunge when it is realized that money outranks the welfare of the Englandís most treasured animal, the horse.

Minister Fitzpatrick, what is needed is a demonstration of goodwill from your office.

We therefore urge you to join the Long Ridersí Guild, as well as global leaders in the equestrian, endurance and exploration communities, in urging Mongolian President Tsakhiagin Elbegrorj to prohibit this race from being staged in his country.

This is no time to mince words, to delay action or pretend that the international equestrian community is not facing a potential disaster. Great Britainís sizeable equestrian community looks to your office for an example of ethical equestrian leadership. The Guild trusts that you will not fail them, for you cannot allow the few to tarnish the reputation of all.

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