CHEK Upside: Highlands woman preparing for 84 day charity horseback ride


Ever since she was a child, Arlene Rees has always had a sense of adventure.

“It’s just this indefatigable spirit I have to just go,” says Rees.

Rees has traveled around the world, summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro, holding snakes in the Amazon and journeying around Mt. Kailash in Tibet.

“I like to go to different countries where there’s very few people and to wild places….because I’m really interested in how people relate to nature,” says Rees.

That same wonderment for the great outdoors couples perfectly together with Rees’ love of horses. So when she stumbled across the Blue Wolf Totem Expedition, a 3,000 kilometre 84 day charity ride through Mongolia, Rees was all in.

“It was those COVID doldrums and I was at home and I thought well where’s my next adventure and I Googled Mongolia horse trekking and boom this came up,” says Rees.

The ride raises money for the Veloo Foundation, created by former Islander Julie Veloo and her husband. The foundation has helped improve the lives of impoverished children and families who scour the garbage dumps of Ulaanbaater Mongolia.

“We moved there [Mongolia] in 2010, found these kids in just terrible conditions and through a series of really amazing opportunities and adventures I’ve been able to build two kindergartens,” says Veloo.

“We have 350 three to five year old’s off of the garbage dump, which means we have them all off the garbage dump and we have them fed, cared and educated.”

While the ride might be long and arduous, Rees is ready for the challenge.

“I think it’s a mind thing more than anything else,” says Rees.

“It’s the mind that took me to the summit of Kilimanjaro, it’s the mind that took me around the Kora of Mt. Kailash.”

The Blue Wolf Totem Expedition begins May 2nd. To donate to the ride visit the Veloo Foundation website.



Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!