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Embarking on the The Gaucho Derby Journey: A Test of Endurance, Horsemanship, and Faith!

Announcement Kansas Carradine Riding in Gaucho Derby
Kansas Carradine Announces she is Riding in the Gaucho Derby 2024

In just a few weeks, in February 2024, I will embark on a challenge of epic proportions.

Warwick Schiller, Kansas Carradine, and Friends at Endurance Race
Warwick Schiller, Kansas Carradine, and Friends at Endurance Race

In November, I received a last-minute invitation from Warwick Schiller to participate in the Gaucho Derby, the world’s most challenging horseback race. Since then, I've undertaken rapid preparation to make participation possible.

So, you might be wondering, how do I prepare for a 500-kilometer ride in the wilderness with roughly 12 weeks' notice when I don’t own a horse?

Kansas Carradine holds an endurance horse by the reins
Trick Rider Kansas Carradine and Amazing Highh Tops, owned by Samantha Ellis from Crater Hill Equestrian

 1. Go ride, get fit! Borrow amazing, super fit endurance horses from friends and build up my fitness. 


I was fortunate to  receive hands-on mentorship from former Gaucho Derby competitor Stevie Delahunt and Endurance professionals like Andrew Gerhard and Samantha Ellis from Crater Hill Equestrian.  I also tapped into my connections from the ski Industry to ask for pro tips from skiers and alpinists who have extensive experience mountaineering in Patagonia and other wilderness regions under extreme conditions.

3. Purchase supplies for ultralight camping and cooking in freezing temperatures. We are only allowed to carry 10 kilos / 22lbs weight in our saddlebags for the welfare of the horses, so logistical planning has to be very precise. 

Two people camping at Gaucho Derby
Two people camping at Gaucho Derby

4. Practice camping in freezing cold and wind to learn how to use said equipment!  

5.  Learn how to use GPS to navigate in the wilderness. There is no marked trail on the Gaucho Derby.

6. Manage winter holidays with the family - can’t drop that ball! 

7. Seek sponsorship and start a GoFundMe to cover the substantial Gaucho Derby entry fee.

8. Mentally prepare to be carried out injured on horseback or have to wait for helicopter rescue in an emergency.

Kansas Carradine riding a bay endurance horse
Kansas Carradine Riding Amazing Highh Tops owned by Samantha Ellis from Crater Hill Equestrian

9. Pack bags and fly to Patagonia for the 3-week Gaucho Derby training camp that begins on January 23. Hope to quickly adjust to working at elevation!

10. Continue to share my journey with amazing supporters because I will definitely need your love, light, and positive energy for this challenge!

Join me in counting down the days until Feb 4, the start of the Gaucho Derby 2024! Here are more details about this wild event:

Proud and Happy Friends at the Gaucho Derby
Proud and Happy Friends at the Gaucho Derby

What is the Gaucho Derby?

The Gaucho Derby is a 10-day, 500 km-long race through remote Patagonia (Wilderness of Argentina) on horseback. It is the ultimate test of horsemanship and survival skills. The race pushes both horses and riders to their limits.

Why did I choose to accept the invitation to participate in this race?

Gaucho Derby Horses in the Sunset
Gaucho Derby Horses in the Sunset

This challenge is the ultimate test, pushing my skills to the max and refining both my horsemanship and self-regulation abilities through the crucible of experience. It not only adds depth to my expertise but also provides valuable insights to share with my clients. The journey connects me with my work on an entirely new level, bringing heightened awareness to causes close to my heart. It is my belief that horses, our steadfast companions throughout history, hold the key to a profound connection with ourselves and Mother Nature. Partnering with a horse to cross vast distances is one of the most ancient, traditional collaborations ever known. During this ride, I don’t want to think of myself as a racer. I want to ride as an advocate for compassionate interspecies relationships. Together, we ride towards a future where humans and the natural world can coexist in harmony.

Crossing a river with a horse at the Gaucho Derby
Crossing a river with a horse at the Gaucho Derby

Which organizations am I supporting with my ride?

I chose Compton Cowboys and Connected Horse as non-profit organizations that I will dedicate my ride to. I am on a mission to keep the heart of horsemanship alive. I'm out to remind the world of just how important horses are in our lives today—especially in improving mental and emotional health for veterans and youth, improving cognitive function in seniors, and addressing ongoing societal challenges by showing us how to be more receptive, compassionate, and self-aware.

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