All the Wild Horses (15)

Oct 10, 2018
Cranbrook Film Society

Filmed in the glorious vastness of the Mongolian steppe, the film is a dynamic portrayal of the extreme and often dramatic Mongol Derby : the longest and toughest horse race in the world.

Ivo Marloh | UK | 2018 | 91 mins | 15


This is one of those uncomplicated documentaries on a fascinating subject that could generate a cult.” Donald Clarke – Irish Times.

You can’t help but warm to the competitors’ gumption, ambition and a bravery that often comes close to foolhardiness’”  Geoffrey McNab – Independent.


This is a documentary that has been cobbled together from footage filmed at three successive Mongol Derby races to form a coherent impression of one race, by one lunatic director/screenwriter who risked his own life and limbs to film whatever went on around him as he careered across 1000 kiliometres of inhospitable Mongolian terrain on unschooled horses. Ivo Marloh  grew up enchanted by the romance of horses and speed and decided he must enter the most challenging of horse races – challenging principally for the riders, the horses are treated rather well. He filmed what he saw, although he did leave off filming a bad accident until the rider was stable. There was no camera crew behind him providing support. He lived and breathed the race and gives a terrific representation of its breadth and lunacy in the film. The riders spend about ten days charging across a loose competition trail, staying in camps or with locals, dodging wolves and packs of dogs, hailstones and ferocious heat. They are ostensibly recreating Genghis Khan’s 13th century horse messenger trail. At least half of them will fail to finish and will limp and hobble home with all manner of injuries. Some riders form strong alliances, others forge ahead determined to shake off any competition, some are there to win, others to enjoy the experience. The pure daunting vastness of the setting overwhelms, so does the idiocy and stubbornness of some of the participants. However, I came away with a great feeling of exhilaration and a sense of admiration for the human spirit, even if it is taken to bonkers lengths.

One character to look out for is the South African horse whisperer, Monde Kanyana. He chooses the wildest of the wild horses. One had never even been ridden before when he selected it as his mount for the next 40-kilometre leg of the race. His abilities impressed even the locals. Two Irish jump jockeys are a delight to follow. They befriend two girls, and American firefighter and a reckless young Brit. The camaraderie that develops between them goes a long way to explain why anyone would undertake such an adventure. This is escapism at its best, or just a bird’s eye view of a crazy race at its worst. Incidentally before the race featured in the documentary some 8,000 rides had been completed without a single equestrian fatality. ‘The only abuse is human abuse’ joked one of the stewards.

The film cost roughly £250.000 and won nine awards and received five further nominations including the prestigious feature film award at the Galway Film Fleadh.



            Weighted vote 87.26%