Thirty-six brave and hardy riders are preparing take part in this year’s Mongol Derby – the largest field the race has attracted yet.

The “world’s longest and toughest horse race” – riders are in the saddle for 12 hours a day while they travel 1,000km across Mongolia.

It is expected to take around 10 days and they set off on 10 August.

Competitors range in age from early 20s to early 60s and come from 13 different countries.

There are jockeys, polo players, endurance riders and western riders.

Among the riders are National Hunt jockeys Richard Killoran and Donie Fahy.

They aim to raise £25k for the Injured Jockeys Fund.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Richard, who rides for for Nicky Henderson and was also an extra in the War Horse film.

“I ride and run every day, so I think it will be more mentally than physically challenging for me. We’re absolutely in it to win it though.”

Also riding is Lucy Yorke-Long who hunts with the Grafton and used to event.

“I’m really nervous but I wanted a challenge,” Lucy told H&H.

“I’m doing as much exercise as possible and have started riding out for the Household Cavalry in the mornings as I live in London.

“I’m also worried about the weather and conditions, 30degrees in the day and -10 at night will be tough.”

More than 1,000 native Mongolian horses will be used in the race, as horses are swapped every 40km.

“The horses will be looked after by a team of vets, and every horse is checked before and after their Derby dash,” said Katy Willings from organisers, The Adventurists.

“It’s hard to think of another event where riders from so many disciplines go head-to-head, and it’s exciting for us to have attracted such a quality field of horsemen.

“At times the field will be spread over 200km, differentiated by riding ability, navigation, survival skills and tactics. To finish is a genuine achievement, and only half the field did last year.”

For more information visit: www.theadventurists.com and www.mongolderbyrace.com

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (21 June 2012)