Florida population

Lisa Smith, equestrian from Gainesville, back for the next Mongolian Derby


The last time we left Gainesville Lisa smith, she was about to gallop across the Mongolian steppe on an August adventure of a lifetime.

She never succeeded, but fate was more lenient to Smith than it was to the victims of the raids and rampages of the most famous Mongol in history, Genghis Khan, during the creation of his Eurasian Empire.

Smith’s equestrian skills allowed her to be accepted as a candidate for the Mongolian Derby, covering 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) in 10 days on Mongolian horses through the Mongolian grasslands.

Everything was on track until a cross country competition in Hamilton County. His horse – an Arab on loan because his usual horse, Bull, was nursing an injury – was a little excited before the shot and beat Smith.

Lisa Smith brushes her horse, Hiawassee, on Friday in a stable on a ranch west of Gainesville.  Smith plans to compete in next year's Mongol Derby, a 1,000-kilometer (621-mile) race through the Mongolian grasslands.

“He had never been to a competition before and he was completely excited. I got on top of him and walked around, and he straightened up. I fell and everything was fine, ”Smith said. “I came back but I don’t think I’ve come all the way. I don’t know exactly what happened, but he started to go faster and I couldn’t save him. I guess I just landed badly. I haven’t even reached the start line.

A back injury doomed her to the derby. But it turns out COVID-19 has doomed the derby. It has been canceled and Smith is one of four Floridians eligible to run it next year.

Besides:UF veterinary clinic arrives at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala

In case you missed it:Gainesville’s wife takes on the Mongolian derby a la Genghis Khan

The derby was founded by the Adventurists, a group that organizes all kinds of rallies, from cars to rickshaws to hot air balloons in places around the world.

An offshoot, the Equestrianists, formed to focus on horse rallies. In addition to the Mongol Derby, he is hosting the Gaucho Derby in the Patagonia region of South America with more to come, including one in North America.

Smith, a Gainesville-based biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is back on horseback and she has a new partner.

Hiawassee, Cherokee for prairie, is a mustang she adopted from Webster’s Wild Horse Rescue Center.

A nationwide network of rescue groups treats and trains wild horses that have been penned by the United States Bureau of Land Management to reduce the population in the western states.

Lisa Smith rides her mustang, Hiawassee, on Friday at a ranch west of Gainesville.  Hiawassee, Cherokee for prairie, was adopted by the Wild Horse Rescue Center in Webster.

” She is fit. She likes to go – she doesn’t like to walk, ”Smith said. “She is small like Mongolian ponies and I hope she will have the temperament of Mongolian ponies. I hope she will be a more similar training partner than my Giant Thoroughbred.

Diane Delano, founder of the Wild Horse Rescue Center, said Hiawassee was arrested by BLM in the Divide Basin in Wyoming and had two former owners before coming to the center.

At first, Hiawassee lacked courage and was nervous during training, but eventually came back.

“People think that when a mustang comes out of the wild, they can adapt so quickly, but it takes them a little while,” said Delano. “When Lisa rode her in her English saddle, (Hiawassee) did very well. Lisa needed a horse that had a good lead. She needed something she could be on for hours on end. and miles.

Smith keeps himself in shape by running, biking and playing stadiums at the University of Florida.

Now she will add hours and miles to her training.

“I decided to run a marathon to mentally prepare myself for some really tough things,” Smith said. “I can torture myself that way.”


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