Rose left July 30 to ensure arrival at the Derby, which starts Aug. 6. Catch up with Rose in “real time”—visit her Facebook page at for the most up-to-date information, stats, and fabulous pictures of her adventure! She’s also on the map at the official Mongol Derby website, where supporters can “follow the Rose dot” and find out where she is on her trek!

Rose Sandler of Culpeper, Va., is one of 41 riders scheduled to compete in the 2014 Mongol Derby, “the longest, toughest horse race in the world.” The course recreates Genghis Khan’s postal route, which was organized in 1224, and stretches across 1,000 km (621 miles) of wilderness from Aug. 6–15. Sandler will ride 25 Mongolian horses along the way, resting at urtuus (horse stations where horses are swapped out and riders refuel), and “balancing survival skills and horsemanship” for a chance to win the Derby.

“This adventure is pure synchronicity,” laughed Sandler in a recent interview. “The idea just came together; a friend sent me a text about the Derby in November, and I was approved to ride in December, although no spots were available, meaning I would have to wait another year. But suddenly, a spot opened. It all just sort of happened! I put down my deposit and I was off to the races!”

Sandler is required to raise money for charity; her goal is $20,000. She has raised 1500 pounds sterling for the official charity of the Derby, Cool Earth; she is also raising money for a charity of her choice: Central Virginia Horse Rescue (CVHR), a 501(c)3 small farm dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of needy horses, serving South Central, Central, and Southside Virginia. Donations fund bringing horses to the Rescue and providing quality care.

“CVHR is near and dear to my heart; I want to ensure I can give any extra funding to this group,” said Sandler.

Sandler has been preparing for the trip by riding Choctaw and Cherokee horses, similar to the Mongolian “semi-wild” horses she will ride on the trek. She has been practicing with an endurance saddle and wearing her full gear.

“Most of the time I’m very, very excited, but there are a couple of days I’m terrified—I think, what am I doing?! I want to finish the Derby, and, most important, I want to savor the whole experience,” she said.

“I’ve learned so much through the experience of preparing for the race; people told me this would change my life and from the moment I was accepted to the Derby, everything has changed—meeting new people, learning about different breeds of horses, and discovering a new culture and world.

“I’m absolutely thrilled for this chance!”

For more information about Rose Sandler and her Mongol Derby ride, including links to donate to Central Virginia Horse Rescue, visit