By S. E. Morris. Published in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue as a sidebar to our feature on Rose Sandler’s journey to the Mongol Derby in 2014

Amanda Humphreys, 21, of Nokesville, Va., was accepted in September to compete in the 2015 Mongol Derby. She is the only American female selected thus far, and one of only two riders chosen from this country.

Horses are “a lifelong passion, addiction, and lifestyle,” stated Humphreys, adding that she has been riding for 18 years and has competed in endurance riding for the past 5 years, including a 100 percent completion rate of 50 mile races while maintaining a “top ten” rating.

“It’s now my dream to compete in the Derby,” said Humphreys. “I thought, what the heck, I’ll throw my application in—and I couldn’t believe I was picked!”

She received an acceptance email a mere 9 hours after her interview and is currently fundraising to support her adventure.

“The financial aspect of the Derby is the biggest challenge,” she stated. “Many local businesses have been supportive and generous in their donations to help with my costs for the Derby.”

Stating an entry fee of almost $11,000, Humphreys must also raise funds for The Adventurists, the team responsible for sanctioning the Derby; the group requires $2,000 to be donated to charity. Humphreys has designated Cool Earth, an environmental group.

10172865_782451045099840_862910054563894778_n“And then, there’s the cost of the plane ticket!” laughed Humphreys, citing an additional cost for the Derby.

Humphreys has been conditioning with endurance riding almost every day with her horse Elvis, a 7-year-old Arabain/Akhal-Teke cross.

“He’s green but we’re working together and ready to rock and roll the next endurance season,” said Humphreys. Currently a full-time student at George Mason University, Humphreys is obtaining a bachelor’s in political science and international policies, with a minor in American government.

“The Derby experience will enable me to grow and be a better person—this is a life-changing experience! And, I believe, what better time to do this now, before starting my life with graduating and a full-time career,” she stated.

Humphreys added, “I have a competitive nature; I push myself for bigger and better things. With this adventure, I’ll find more out about myself, my character, and what I’m made of.”

To contact Amanda Humphreys and support her endeavor, visit her website