In Regards to “Records”
Because The Long Riders’
Guild has now grown to encompass equestrian travellers on six continents, there
has occasionally arisen the question of which one of us rode the fastest or the
furthest in some country or another.
A glance at The Equestrian
Travel Timeline should reveal more than enough “firsts” to satisfy anyone.
The names inscribed there cannot speak of all the perils they witnessed, the
dangers they survived, and the sacrifices they and their horses made for each
other. Yes, a host of clues exist in The Timeline which outline the names of
humans and horses who first bonded, then travelled together over great portions
of our planet.
Sadly, that is not enough for
They mistake Equestrian
Travel for Endurance Racing. They wish to exchange a search for saddle-won
wisdom for an obsession with mileage and record breaking.
That is not the case, nor the
cause, of The Long Riders’ Guild.
We are about the deceleration
of our souls, not the idle boasting of a lightning-flash crossing of a
continent. So, though our members have set an assortment of world records during
the course of their equestrian travels, we do not encourage anyone to brag about
a needless quest for kilometres as a justification for their existence.
We encourage our members instead to undertake a life-changing equestrian journey that explores not only the unknown portions of the world, but their own souls as well. Equestrian Travel is by definition a denunciation of haste. It cannot be rushed and still be done well.
Further, though we
acknowledge the inherent bodily perils involved in equestrian travel to both
horse and rider, we in no way condone or sponsor any expedition that knowingly
subjects its mounts to needless suffering. We believe there is a mystic covenant
between human and equine which ennobles both species.
Yet with that covenant comes
a silent trust placed upon us by our equine companions – if they make us more
noble – then we must in turn accord them the love, mercy and forbearance which
they cannot ask for themselves.
In the late nineteenth century many people took terrible advantage of horses by undertaking
“journeys” of such magnitude that they seem impossible today. One such
villain placed a $1,000 bet that he could ride eight hundred miles from Sante
Fe, New Mexico to Independence, Missouri –– in less than eight days. He made
it by riding three horses and two mules to death to satisfy his own ego.
The Long Riders’ Guild thus recognizes the following Equestrian Journeys not only for their historical significance, but because they are still inspiring other equestrian travelers to follow in their hoof prints. And in all these cases, the horses’ welfare was paramount.
If you have conclusive evidence of longer journeys than the ones listed above, then please contact The Long Riders' Guild. We do not, however, encourage anyone to make or break any "records" of any kind.
man of kindness, to his beast is kind,
- Author unknown. From The Ladies' Equestrian Guide, 1857.