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Borden horse trainer to take on Mongol Derby in Mongolia

A horse trainer will take on the challenge of a lifetime as she prepares to ride in the world's toughest horse race.

Michelle Brister, 38, of Eyehorn Farm in Borden, is undergoing a regime of hypnotherapy to get in the right mindset for the Mongol Derby, as well as meeting regularly with a personal trainer.

The competition sees 40 horse riders from around the world travel 1,000km on semi-wild ponies across Mongolia for 10 days from Wednesday, August 7.

Michelle Brister and Eddiestone Rock (5433784)
Michelle Brister and Eddiestone Rock (5433784)

There will not be any signage to guide the participants, who will each be given a GPS tracker to wear and an emergency beacon.

It is expected to take between eight and 10 days to complete.

Every 40km the participants will change the animals they will be riding from 6.30am until 8pm each day.

She will be completing the challenge in a bid to collect £50,000, which includes £10,000 to cover entry costs and £40,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Michelle Brister (5433788)
Michelle Brister (5433788)

She heard about the challenge from former jump jockey, Richard Dunwoody.

Ms Brister said: "It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and out of the thousands of people who have applied I have been chosen as one of the 40 contestants.

"I had to apply, submit some details about my experience with working with horses and then they phoned me to interview me and got references.

"I would like to raise lots of money for my chosen charity Cancer Research UK and that will spur me on when the going gets tough.

"I have never done anything like this before and when I heard about it, I knew I wanted to do it.

"Anything I do after this will be really easy.

"I will be having hypnotherapy to get in the right mindset and starting with a personal trainer.

"I have been around horses since I was a child so this just seems like a natural challenge.

"You do not know the ponies and you have to build a relationship immediately.

"The whole thing makes me feel nervous. It is completely different to my day job, normally I spend 20 minutes on a horse and in this I'll be on one for the best part of a day."

'It is a once in a lifetime opportunity' - Michelle Brister

Racehorse trainer John Best, who works with Michelle at the John Best Racing training facility at Eyehorn Farm, said: "I have known Michelle for over 12 years now and I have not known her to take on anything like this before.

"The Mongol Derby is probably the toughest, most dangerous horse race in the world which requires total dedication, commitment and endurance!

"I am delighted that she has taken Cancer Research UK as her chosen charity.

"Cancer is a condition that seems to affect so many people and we all seem to be hit by it either directly or indirectly.

"I hope that plenty of people support her to reach and exceed her £50,000 target."

The website advertising the derby warns: "Your chances of being seriously injured or dying as a result of taking part are high. Individuals who have taken part in the past have been permanently disfigured, seriously disabled or lost their life.

"These are not holidays. These are adventures and so by their very nature extremely risky."

To donate visit Ms Brister's JustGiving page, visit www.tinyurl.com/MongoliaDerby.

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