A Marlborough horsewoman is saddling up for the ride of a lifetime across the remote Patagonian Andes in South America.

Clare King is taking part in the first-ever Gaucho Derby and is hoping to raise £10,000 for Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group

The multi-horse endurance race from March 5 to14, is the brainchild of UK-based adventure gurus The Adventurists and its gruelling course covers 500km of beautiful and challenging terrain.

In addition to riding and hiking for 13 and a half hours a day – swapping horses every 50km – riders will have to fend for themselves throughout.

Though Clare, 41, is no stranger to endurance horseback racing, this latest adventure represents a completely new challenge.

She explained: “In 2013, I came third in the Mongol Derby, the longest and toughest horse race in the world. It was undoubtedly the hardest thing I have ever done, mentally and physically, and I said, ‘Never ever again, I’m settling down’.

“But roll on six years, and against my better judgement, I committed to the ‘pioneers running’ of the Gaucho Derby and, as this is the first-ever running of the race, no-one knows quite what will happen.

“I’m very nervous. Not so much about the riding but the survival skills needed to camp out in a harsh environment and the navigation. I have very little experience of either.

“But it’s really uncharted territory in an amazing part of the world, with the chance to live like a real Gaucho and experience great horses and scenery, so I’m looking forward to it, too.”

In between busily balancing a full-time job, being a mother of two and riding racehorses for her jump trainer husband Neil, Clare is also training and learning a host of survival and mountain craft skills.

She added: “I need to know how to shoe a horse and learning to speak a bit of Spanish will probably be helpful, too!”

Clare is supporting the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group having seen the heartache that childhood cancer can cause.

She said: “I am raising money for CCLG to support children and parents that I know who are enduring the worst kind of journey, and certainly tougher than any kind of sporting challenge.

“I have set a huge target, but I am determined to get there for an extremely worthwhile cause.

“As well as funding research and supporting parents, CCLG is a central point of sharing best practice and treatments,” she said.

“To use a horrible phrase, ‘joined-up thinking’ is so important when there is so much good research and know-how happening in different places.”

As well as being a charity that funds research, the CCLG is a professional association in the UK and Ireland for people involved in treating and caring for children with cancer.