Mongol Derby Academy

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.

1. The Academy Mongolia Camp

Preparation trumps youth
2019 Academy Camp & Mongol Derby winner - Bob Long

What is it?

The ultimate in training experiences. The Academy Camp takes place over five days in Mongolia. You will learn about each major aspect of the famous race, culminating in a long distance ride equivalent to a couple of legs of the race itself. 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 take on 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 so when the start gun fires, you can focus 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

Who is the training camp 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.

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 10 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 win, the beast.
Maggie Pattinson out in Mongolia training riders
The steppe classroom

The Schedule

After a transfer from Ulaanbaatar to the Mongol Derby start camp on the steppe, the training starts straight away with a half day orientation. This is followed by three full days, each starting at 8am and finishing around 5pm, with additional evening activities on most nights. A final half day session is followed by a transfer back to Ulaanbaatar.

Day 1: Meet in UlaanBaatar for evening meal to introduce ourselves.

Day 2: Early transfer from UlaanBaatar to start camp for orientation on site and half day of training.

Day 3 to 5: Training.

Day 6: Morning half day training session followed by afternoon transfer back to UB.

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.
  • 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.
  • Transfers to and from the camp from UB.
  • Accommodation at camp in shared gers.
  • One night accommodation in Ulaanbaatar on the first night.
  • All meals, soft drinks and some alcoholic drinks.

After a transfer to the Mongol Derby start camp on the steppe from Ulaanbaatar the training starts straight away with a half day orientation. Three full days follow starting at 8am and finishing around 5pm as well as evening activities on most nights. A final half day session is followed by a transfer back to Ulaanbaatar.

When is it?

14th July - 19th July 2021 and 31st July - 3rd August

What's the price?

$3500 USD

How do I apply to take part?

If you are keen to test your metal and find out more about the Mongol Derby you can apply by dropping us an email at

Want to see more of Mongolia?

For those not diving straight into the greatest horse race on the planet we have teamed up with our awesome partners Morindoo who can offer you an awesome trip to stick on the end of your training to see more of the most amazing country of Mongolia.

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