Ivo Marloh’s documentary All the Wild Horses captures the lunacy and fierceness of the Mongol Derby, a horse race of epic proportions, playing at the Salmar Classic May 10 to 16. (File photo)

Ivo Marloh’s documentary All the Wild Horses captures the lunacy and fierceness of the Mongol Derby, a horse race of epic proportions, playing at the Salmar Classic May 10 to 16. (File photo)

Column: Documentary details gruelling, 1,000 kilometre Mongol Derby

I must admit I had some trepidation about writing up our next movie, All the Wild Horses, about the most brutally punishing horse race in the world.

I was fearful about the well-being of the horses. But I was relieved to find out that the Mongol Derby is a multi-horse event in which each of the horses is only ridden 40 kilometres and all of them are closely veterinarian-checked.

“The only abuse is human abuse,” one official jokes. It’s true – the riders are more likely to suffer injuries than the horses in this seemingly insane 1,000-kilometre race across unforgiving Mongolian terrain.

Filmmaker Ivo Marloh grew up around horses and when he heard about the Derby, he wanted to be part of it. When he was accepted to compete, he decided to do a video diary, which evolved into a full-length documentary that took three years of the race to film.

The movie introduces us to six different competitors, a diverse bunch of people, both women and men, who chose to participate in this gruelling competition. He brings us their individual stories and documents what compels riders from around the world to pay the $13,000 entry fee to subject themselves to “a list of dangers longer than your arm” (warns the official race website).

The course is different each year, is completely unmarked, and kept secret until the event, so there’s no preparing except to be physically fit, experienced with horses, and ready to ride for 13 hours a day for up to 10 days. The riders tackle the challenge of surviving alone in the wild steppes of Mongolia, navigating from horse station to horse station, huge stretches of land with no paths or tracks and with no support. At the stations, each rider picks out their horse for the next leg, which means 25 different horses each with its own personality.

So there you are, alone in one of the last true wildernesses on earth, on semi-feral Mongolian horses you barely know – what could possibly go wrong? Start with the horses’ bucking, rearing and spooking making for some white-knuckle rides, and the real possibility of broken bones and life-threatening injuries from inevitable falls. Add dehydration, hypothermia, exhaustion, extreme weather, swollen rivers, attacking dogs and roaming wolves and you have the challenge you paid big bucks for.

Read more: Column: Daughter, estranged father bond in The Elephant and the Butterfly

Read more: Column: Wild Rose a funny feel-good journey of discovery

Read more: Kentucky Derby winner Country House won’t run in Preakness

The sheer lunacy and fierceness of the competition make All The Wild Horses compelling watching, as we anxiously follow our featured riders through their various trials. There are plenty of twists and turns as the film builds to a nail-biting finish.

The film is a unique overview of a ride that takes a physical and mental toll, and simply crossing the finish line is an extraordinary feat in itself.

All The Wild Horses is a co-presentation of Shuswap Film Society and Salmar Cinemas and will have a seven-day run from Friday, May 10 to Thursday, May 16 at the Salmar Classic Theatre at 7:30 each night. It’s rated PG.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

School District 83 trustees are leaning towards an option in the school district’s Long Range Facilities Plan that favours making Salmon Arm Secondary’s Sullivan campus and Jackson campus (pictured) both Grade 9-12 schools. (Google maps image)
Letter: Two high school option for Salmon Arm will create ‘have, have not’ situation

Writer concerned with E5 option, says transparent talk about implications needed

Left, Elena Bruns (2015 Rapattack Junior recruit/current Rapattack staff) and Leah Nash (2019 Rapattack Junior recruit/current Rapattack staff) in a helicopter on the Eagle Bluff Fire, August 2019. (Kamloops Fire Centre photo)
Salmon Arm students stick with wildfire fighting after junior Rapattack program

Junior Fire Crew program partners with Salmon Arm Secondary, develops students’ love for job

Work began April 6, 2021 on the Trans-Canada Highway downtown corridor project to improve safety and traffic flow, which will see the traffic light at Ross Street relocated to Fourth Street NE. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
VIDEO: Traffic slow downs to go through May on Salmon Arm highway corridor

Ministry says night work not planned on Highway 1, single lanes to remain as traffic light changed

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Buckingham Palace officials say Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Alastair Grant
Flags drop, bells toll as Canadians remember special relationship with Prince Philip

‘He was often portrayed as a brisk or brusque, rough character… but it’s that other side of him, the caring individual who spent time with people and asked questions and showed compassion’

Vernon Secondary School. (Google Maps)
Case of COVID-19 at North Okanagan high school

VSS exposure announced late Friday, April 9

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

The Royal’s 1951 visit to Revelstoke. (Photo by Revelstoke Museum and Archives #17)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip visited Revelstoke – twice

The prince died April 9 at the age of 99

Nolan's Pharmasave in downtown Vernon received 200 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines Friday, April 9, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
AstraZeneca vaccines arrive at Vernon pharmacies

Four pharmacies in the city received doses of the COVID-19 inoculant Friday

Most Read