Parshall cowgirl, Olivia Clark will travel to Mongolia in June to participate in the Gobi Gallop. The Gobi Gallop is a fundraiser for children in Mongolia.
Local cowgirl, Olivia Clark is no stranger to adventure. She embraces her western life and regularly enjoys backcountry trips in some of the roughest terrain in the Rocky Mountains, on foot and on horseback. In June, Olivia will broaden her adventure and travel to Mongolia for an arduous 700 kilometer ride, the Gobi Gallop.
The Gobi Gallop is the longest charity ride through the Mongolian Steppe in a mere 10 days. Participants in the Gallop are selected through a stringent application and interview process ensuring only capable equestrians and adventurous philanthropists are chosen. Olivia was among ten who will make the trek along with several Mongolian guides. The participants hail from Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia.
Helping others, learning from the horsemen of Mongolia, and riding on the open grasslands and mountains, is what finally drew Olivia to the Gobi Gallop, but initially, Olivia was blessed to have her fellow cowgirl and friend, Alix, participate in the Gobi Gallop in 2016.
Olivia will be given at least two horses traditionally from Mongolia, known as the Mongol. The Mongol are native to Mongolia and is known for its heartiness and is purported to be largely unchanged since the time of Genghis Khan.
“I’ll swap horses to ensure they are in good shape for the entire ride. All horses will make the full trek, if they aren’t being ridden, they will be herded along with the group. There are support vehicles available to transport sick or injured horses if needed,” said Olivia of the upcoming ride.
“The tack will also be provided, so I won’t be using my own saddle. One interesting element is that all riders in the group will ride one full day in an authentic Mongolian saddle, which will be auctioned off at the end of the ride at the Gobi Gallop Gala. The gala is a black tie celebration of the event and auction, proceeds will go to the Veloo Foundation’s Children of the Peak Sanctuary.”
The entry fee for the Gobi Gallop is $5,2000 and also supports the children of Mongolia. Entrance fees are given to help the kindergarten age children of Mongolia and supports the Veloo Foundation which operates the Children of the Peak Sanctuary. The nomadic culture of the Mongolian people is disappearing, leaving many people destitute. Many impoverished children are either left home alone or taken to the dump to scavenge. The Gobi Gallop seeks to help the children and community by providing jobs as care givers and educators and providing vocational education for those 16 years and older. The sanctuary provides an enriching environment that allows their children to grow and flourish. The Veloo Foundation also supports projects such as community showers and laundry facilities.
During her stay in Ulaanbaatar, Olivia will visit the sanctuary and meet the children she is helping.
photo by Alix Crittenden
A Mongol horse is reported to have changed little since the time of Genghis Khan. Olivia Clark will have at least two Mongol horses during the trek and will even ride in an authentic Mongolian saddle on one day.
Olivia shares, “People want to help me get there and help the impoverished children of Mongolia. There are so many elements in this adventure: fundraising, charity, my own education, camaraderie for the trip from friends, family and those I barely know, humbleness and new faith in humanity.”
Olivia’s training for the trek has been challenging between the weather and working her two jobs. However, she is riding her horse as much as possible and doing strength and endurance training. She is also reading and researching about the history, culture and language of Mongolia.
Olivia will travel by herself to and from Ulaanbaatar for the June 5-16 ride. She admits, “I’ve never traveled internationally, so this will be quite an adventure!”
Olivia is seeking financial help to cover the costs of the entry fees and travel. Contributions can be sent to Olivia Clark, 267 County Road 371, Parshall, CO 80468 or through PayPal at