2 Mar 2019

Adventurer Chloe Phillips-Harris: 'It's about doing it anyway'

From Saturday Morning, 8:09 am on 2 March 2019

Equestrian and adventurer Chloe Phillips-Harris has already packed a lot into her 30 years.

She leads horse-riding expeditions to Mongolia, once set up a beef farm in the mountains of Kazakhstan, has completed the epic 1000-km Mongol Derby and last year attended the first World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan.

Chloe talks to Kim Hill about horses, camels and her new book Fearless.

The Mongol Derby is a 1,000km horse race over seven and a half days in which the riders – half of whom pull out before the finish – swap horses three or four times a day. 

Chloe first rode the "incredibly tough" race back in 2013 and has been involved every year since – the last two years filming it on horseback.

She says she still has a burning desire to do it again: "Galloping across this endless open sea of grass... I think that's something really special."

Chloe wants to spend more time training camels in the future, ideally the two-hump variety which are a lot more comfortable to ride, she says.

This January in Mongolia she was gifted one – a big handsome adult male that she's looking forward to learning from.

Chloe says that she learned resilience and determination from her mother – a doctor who moved to Mangawhai from Houston, Texas to be with Chloe's father, a sailor recently returned from an around-the-world trip on a boat he'd built.

Her thirst for knowledge and experience shows no signs of slowing down and she's not about to let fear get in her way.

"It's about 'doing it anyway' ... Every time you go through an extreme challenge you realise how much you can do and you build on that."

Chloe's six-month gig setting up Kazakhstan's first beef farm with her then-partner is a case in point.

The opportunity stemmed more from the couple's previous work with livestock in developing countries than any farming expertise.

"Working in those environments was really my forte and working out all the problems that go along with challenging conditions in the mountains.

"Someone put in a good word and said 'I know these crazy people...'."

More of Chloe Phillips-Harris on RNZ:

  • Mongol Derby horse race
  • Our Own Odysseys - Mongol Derby
  • Our Own Odysseys: The Reindeer Tribe
  • Our Own Odysseys - Kazakhstan