Friday 20 September 2019

Teenager rides into history books by winning epic week-long horse race

Lara Prior-Palmer, 19, won the Mongol Derby
Lara Prior-Palmer, 19, won the Mongol Derby

A teenager has made history by winning an endurance challenge dubbed the world's "longest and toughest horse race".

Lara Prior-Palmer, 19, from Hampshire, won the Mongol Derby, becoming the first female rider and also the youngest person to win the race since its launch in 2009.

American 20-year-old Devan Horn crossed the finish line first following a tight contest with Ms Prior-Palmer that began seven days earlier. But strict rules on the horse's heart rate meant the American was handed a two-hour penalty, bumping the Briton up to first place.

Half of the 30 riders who started have withdrawn from the race, with only 15 now expected to complete the 1,000km distance.

Many have fallen off or have been unceremoniously bucked off their semi-wild horses or suffered injuries.

Miss Prior-Palmer, niece of six-times Badminton champion Lucinda Green, said: "Day four was tough, I was seriously knackered ... I was riding a really fantastic horse this morning and it just somersaulted into a marmot hole, literally.

"It had been bolting so it was going really fast and then it landed on me and I was so lucky not to get hurt - it was a really intense and quite exciting experience.

"If you compare my first few days to my last few days I was going so much slower ... and suddenly I just got the hang of it and how to ride the horses and what to do to catch up with the rest."

PA Media

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