Want to learn the skills you need to take on the Mongol Derby?

The Mongol Derby Academy is designed to give you the skills you need to compete in and complete the Mongol Derby. It’s primarily aimed at riders who are interested to find out more about the Mongol Derby and test their skills. Bob Long, 2019 winner of The Mongol Derby, completed the academy, an experience that could have given him the edge.

Join The Academy


1. Overview

Preparation trumps youth
2019 Academy Camp & Mongol Derby winner - Bob Long
The Mongol Derby Academy 2023 will take place from 20th July 2023 to 26th July 2023.

The ultimate in training experiences, the Mongol Derby Academy takes place over seven days in the Mongolian Steppe. You will learn about each major aspect of the famous race, partaking in a long distance ride equivalent to a couple of legs of the race itself and culminating in the Mongol Derby Herder Trials, a phenomenal celebration of traditional horsemanship in Mongolia. The camp stands alone as a unique equine training experience for anyone who wants to experience Mongolian culture, the incredible semi-wild horses, and training legs of the race in a controlled environment.

This is a comprehensive but massively enjoyable training course, designed to give you everything you need to be ready to tackle the Mongol Derby. The course is designed as an introduction to the fundamentals of the Mongol Derby. You will learn how to change horses efficiently at horse stations while going through Mongol Derby vet checks; you’ll know what to expect on the first leg; and gain an understanding of the terrain, the horses, and the culture. You'll go through extensive navigational training using a Garmin GPS, going over everything from how to read and utilize a topographical map, to understanding how to navigate the GPS itself. Once through the Academy, you will be prepared to take on the race itself.

  • Handling the mighty Mongolian horse.
  • Riding the Mongolian horse.
  • Changing horses efficiently at horse stations.
  • Camping out and hobbling your horse on the steppe.
  • Navigation skills in the Mongolia steppe.
  • How to use your equipment to maximize performance.
  • Testing your personal equipment and having feedback on how to best pack for the race.
  • Mongolian culture - learn the etiquette of Mongolian culture, customs on the steppe and in relation to horses.
  • Derby medics will be on hand to look after you.
Learn to navigate
Understand the vet protocols

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2. Who is the academy for?

Wondering if you're ready to take on the race?

For some it will be the perfect test to find out if the Mongol Derby is you. For those who successfully complete the Academy, you will be offered a place in a future Mongol Derby edition.

Prepping for a future race?

For riders lining up to tackle a future Mongol Derby the training camp is a great way to build confidence and experience for the race to come. There is nothing quite like it for testing your skills, equipment, and stamina ahead of taking on the toughest horse race on the planet.

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3. What's included?

You will need to get yourself to Mongolia but after that, we've got you covered:

  • Expert training following the Mongol Derby Academy syllabus to immerse you into the world of the longest and toughest horse race on the planet.
  • "Classroom" time to learn about navigation, technique, medical and veterinary protocols.
  • A variety of Mongolian horses including all tack and Mongol Derby custom design saddles.
  • A personal satellite tracking device for tracking you during training rides, including an emergency SOS function.
  • Our tracking team in UB following your every move from the skies.
  • Equine vets on hand contributing to training and ensuring horse welfare.
  • Expert wilderness medic on site for emergencies.
  • One night of accommodation in Ulaanbaatar on the first night.
  • Transfers to and from Ulaanbaatar to the academy camp.
  • Accommodation at the academy camp in shared gers.
  • All meals, soft drinks and some alcoholic drinks.

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4. The Schedule

  • Day 1 - Ulaanbaater

    Meet up

    Pre Academy meet up - we'll meet in Ulaanbaatar for an evening meal and to introduce ourselves.

    After a transfer from Ulaanbaatar to the Mongol Derby start camp on the steppe, the training starts straight away with a half day orientation.

  • Day 2 - Ulaanbaatar - Academy Camp

    Travel and orientation

    Early transfer from Ulaanbaatar to start camp for orientation on site and half day of training, meeting the academy camp crew and getting your tack.

  • Day 3 to 4


    Training begins in earnest - you will cover navigation, tech, horsemanship, medical, veterinary, kit/gear, wilderness survival and Mongolian steppe culture. Classroom time will be interspersed with test rides to prepare you for the longer, multi-horse ride on day 5.

  • Day 5

    Race day simulation

    Multi horse station ride and race day simulation - you’ve made it through all we could throw at you thus far, now you’ll take all those newly learned skills and see what it’s like ‘a day in the Mongol Derby’. You’ll tack up early, just as you would on the Derby itself, and will be riding all day, making it through three horse changes overs/vet checks and back in time for dinner at basecamp.

  • Day 6

    Herder Trials

    Today will arguably be one of the most epic days of your lives, you’ll be riding to The Herder Trials, where our Mongol Derby families will have appointed one champion from each of their ranks to take part in various traditional horsemanship competitions. The winner will earn a sponsored spot to our Gaucho Derby Academy in Argentina and live alongside the Gauchos in a cultural/horsemanship exchange. This will be followed up by the Grand Finale, awards ceremony and lots of live music and dancing.

  • Day 7

    Back to UB

    Breakfast and transfer back to Ulaanbaatar.

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5. The Crew

The training camp is run by Maggie Pattinson. Aside from being Chef d’Equipe of the England home international endurance squad, Maggie has been Head of Training, an Event Manager and Race Referee on the Mongol Derby for the last 12 years.

Maggie has a lifetime’s equestrian experience from dressage to racing, having ridden, crewed and trained at international level. More significantly, she's been involved in endurance riding for about 20 years.

Official Mongol Derby medics, vets, and crew will be on hand to look after you and the horses. They will be dedicated to giving you all the skills you need to take on, and perhaps go on to win the beast.

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6. How much does this all cost?

For the 2023 Academy the cost is $5,500 USD.

This includes the first night in a hotel in Ulaanbaatar, transport to and from the academy camp, all your food and drink, medical and veterinary support for the duration of training, the camp itself, horses, tack, tech gear, our phenomenal crew headed up by Maggie Pattinson, access to The Herder Trials - a truly unique finale to the camp - and a finale party and awards ceremony to wrap up your week.

You will just then need to add to that the cost of you getting to Mongolia.

You don't have to pay this all at once - you will be able to spread the cost as monthly instalments if you prefer.

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7. How do I get to take part?

The spots on the Academy are really limited at the moment. We are working on expanding the number of them a year it, but we wanted to keep relatively small and intimate so the training can all be really personal. So if you're keen follow the link below to grab a spot while they last.

We ask you to give us a statement about your riding skills. We want to open the Academies up to as many people as we can, but you do to be able to ride and be comfortable around horses to get the most out of the experience. These are not tame riding school ponies, these are semi-wild horses. You need to be able to handle spirited beasts.

Once you've successfully signed, we'll give you a call to talk it all through and if then you (or we) feel like it might not be for you after all you can of course have a full refund. Or just drop us a line in advance if you want to chat first.

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