Barbara SmithBarbara Smith, whipper-in with the Marlborough Hunt in Maryland, finished in the top 10 of the Mongol Derby, placing ninth in a field that started with 41 riders and ended with 37. Not only was she one of only three U.S. riders to finish in the top 10, she was also the oldest rider in the race—starting at the age of 60 and finishing at the age of 61. (Her birthday was the final day of the race, August 16…quite a birthday present!)
We caught up with Barbara shortly after her return to the States to ask her a few questions.
What was the hardest part of the race?
It is incredibly physically demanding. It’s now a week later and my body is just starting to feel normal again. It was really hard, really tough. On the ride itself, the scariest thing were the wild Mongolian dogs. The herders use them as guard dogs and they’re incredibly fierce. They come after you snarling and biting. I had one wild dog literally swinging from the tail of my horse. Luckily, one of the support vehicles just happened to be driving up behind us at that point and the driver swung the car at the dog to get it off my horse. My biggest fear was falling and being bitten by the dogs.
Karen Myers photoThe New Market-Middletown Valley Hounds have welcomed Alasdair Storer as their incoming huntsman for 2014-2015, following Robert Taylor’s retirement from NM-MVH.
Storer and his family have been heavily involved in hunting hounds for generations. His great, great grandfather was the longest serving Master and huntsman of the East Sussex Foxhounds, while his father was a professional huntsman and his mother was born on the back of a horse. Involved in various capacities with hounds and horses since 1986, Storer held positions as Professional Whipper-In and Huntsman with several foxhound packs in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada from 1998-2009.