The Long Riders' Guild


November 2009

Equestrian Exploration Program Developed –  International Press praises Swedish Long Rider Mikael Strandberg’s historic effort.  Mikael Strandberg's name carries a lot of weight in the international exploration community. He has bicycled 27,500 kilometres from Patagonia to Alaska, via the infamous Darien Gap jungle. Next he pedalled another 90,000 kilometres from New Zealand to Cairo, then went on to explore Latin America on horseback, then spent a year living among the Masai in Kenya. In 2004 Strandberg made an astonishing winter crossing through Siberia. Mikael is deemed “the best contemporary explorer in the world” by the Explorers Club in London. Now he’s preparing to begin the Great Desert Expedition – a camel journey that will take him from Oman to Morocco. But before departing on that adventure, the Swedish Long Rider will tackle a unique educational challenge. He has agreed to assume responsibility for developing a new Equestrian Exploration Department for the Long Riders' Guild Academic Foundation. This story was covered by Explorers Web and by the international equestrian news site, Horse Talk.

Mongolia becomes 40th nation to join the Long Riders’ Guild
Since its inception nearly ten years ago, the Long Riders’ Guild has assisted more than a hundred equestrian expeditions on every continent except Antarctica. During that time equestrian explorers and long distance travellers from every corner of the world have joined the Guild. With the completion of the journey made by Temuujin Zemuun and Batmonkh Muntuush, Mongolia becomes the 40th nation to join ranks of the Long Riders.

Canadian Long Rider Bonnie Folkins organized the journey in which she was joined by Temujiin and Batmonkh. Having just hung up her saddle, Bonnie reported on the difficulties, and unexpected emotional discoveries, of that ride.

“The dust and electrical storms are totally off the scale in Mongolia but the worst problems are the horse thieves who lurk around every corner. They are so bold that they rode through the centre of our camp in the daytime to check out our stock.” Bonnie reported that horse thieves cut the hobbles off their horses and made several attempts to rustle the expedition horses. Yet despite the physical hardships, the new Canadian Long Rider reported the surprise she felt upon returning “home.”

“I was looking out the window, day-dreaming and all I could think about was, I wish I had a horse to ride. But having a horse to ride is not the issue. It is the travelling and the day to day adventure on horseback. Having a horse and travelling by horse, especially if you are en route to an unknown destination, are absolutely separate. I knew at the end of the first week of our ride that because the adventure was on horseback it was completely different than anything I had ever done in my life. Later, when we driving back to Ulaanbaatar by van - over territory we had already covered by horse - it was on a different / lesser dimension. That’s when I suddenly realized how much I had missed in my life by traveling on wheels.”

To learn more about this important journey, please visit this page.


Equestrian Expeditions

Many new expeditions are planned, started, under way or completed, including journeys across Kyrgyzstan, around the perimeter of South Africa and a ride from Amsterdam to St. Petersburg.


New Stories from the Road

Thanks to Dan Buck, the best-selling author and expert on Butch Cassidy, the Long Riders' Guild has received a treasure trove of extraordinary "lost" accounts of Historical Long Riders in Latin America. The most astonishing narrative discovered by Buck, published in 1907, recalls the tale of how Historical Long Rider William Rose made an unprecedented six-thousand-mile ride from Mexico City to Buenos Aires. Few stories contain more hair-raising adventure that this one. Due to his academic generosity, Dan has been named a Friend of the Long Riders’ Guild.


Pioneers of the Pacific Crest Trail become Long Riders

Fifty years ago the majority of Americans were firmly fixated in front of their newly purchased black and white television sets. There to entertain them were more than three dozen different cowboy programmes, sporting names like Johnny Ringo, MacKenzies Raiders, Rawhide and even Frontier Doctor. Ironically, though this galloping version of romantic fiction was alive and well, genuine equestrian travel was in danger of becoming extinct. It was at such a perilous time that two young Americans turned off the television, saddled their horses and rode into the history books instead. This occurred in the summer of 1959 when June and Don Mulford set off to become the first people to ride the length of the renowned Pacific Coast Trail, a 2,400 mile long rugged line that stretches from Mexico to Canada along the spine of some of America’s most treacherous mountains. After overcoming tremendous difficulties, the Mulfords completed their journey, and then went on to lecture packed auditoriums around the United States about the benefits, and excitements, to be found out on the trail. Thanks to the Guild’s comrades at the Pacific Crest Trail Association the inspiring story of the Mulfords' journey has now been published and these important equestrian pioneers are both now Members of the world’s first international association of equestrian travellers.

To learn more about the Mulfords' historic ride, please visit view this article by PCT Director Barney Mann.


New Members

It’s not just the Mongols and Canadians who have come galloping into Guild HQ. Thanks to an explosion of international interest, the Long Riders’ Guild continues to grow by the inclusion of equestrian travellers whose journeys represent the past and present.

Mary-Jo O'Brien rode from Pennsylvania to California in 1963, while Chuck Williams rode from Virginia to New Mexico in 1990. The LRG welcomes Andrew Clark and Luke Tucker, who rode with existing Member, Jakki Cunningham, on her second ride from the Camargue to England.

The Guild would also like to extend a special appreciation to new Long Rider Ed Anderson, who, at the age of 72, completed his two-season journey up America's Pacific Crest Trail. Despite the hazards and rigours encountered on the PCT, Ed’s beloved horse, Primo, arrived at trail’s end in perfect condition.


The greatest horse trainer in early 20th Century America was born a slave!

Before Jackie Robinson ever donned a Dodger uniform - there was Tom Bass. Before Rosa Parks ever demanded a seat in the front of the bus - there was Tom Bass. Before Martin Luther King ever had a dream - there was Tom Bass. Before Barack Obama ever ran for President - there was the legend of Tom Bass - the black horse whisperer. Born a slave, Tom Bass rose to the summit of what had always been a white man's profession, the training of the America's greatest Saddlebred horses.  

An article about Tom Bass by CuChullaine O'Reilly won a prize from the prestigious American Horse Publications Annual Awards, gaining first place in the category of "Feature Article." 

For more information about this amazing book, please click here.


Equipment – Long Rider Hat Developed

The Long Riders' Guild is an academic, not commercial, enterprise. Our Members reside world wide. Yet regardless of where they ride, or reside, they face many of the same obstacles. Unlike ring riders, or even trail riders, when an equestrian explorer sets off on an extended journey, everything has to work, otherwise horse and rider suffer, become injured or die.

Because of the uncompromising reality encountered during equestrian expeditions, the Guild maintains the strictest standards in terms of equipment testing. Long Riders from a variety of countries try out items, then share their unvarnished opinions on the unique Equipment page found on the Guild's 2,000 plus page website. That section begins with this warning.

"The Long Riders' Guild does not accept advertising revenue, or any type of outside funding, from anyone - ever. In other words, you can't buy your way on to this website. We're not for sale!"

Thus, the LRG rarely endorses an individual company. Notable exceptions include Outfitters Supply in Wyoming, which sells reliable equestrian equipment, Aimé Mohammad in France, who hand makes a special saddle for Long Riders and Kelly de Stark in Canada, who produces a state-of-the-art adjustable pack saddle.

Based upon early findings, it appears that the Montana Peaks Hat Company has joined the ranks of this elite group of craftsmen.

During a recent meeting, the director of an international equestrian museum asked what Long Riders wore on their heads? This was a valid question as Long Riders go everywhere and are forced to survive everything. Moreover, an equestrian explorer may be found in Latin America this year and in Africa the next. Thus there has been a long-standing need for a reliable, cross-cultural hat, one tough enough to survive harsh journeys, yet not have any negative cultural connotations which a western style hat might inspire in certain politically dangerous parts of the globe.

Designed by CuChullaine O’Reilly, the Long Rider hat is a modification of the Chasseur African hat favoured by 19th century travellers in Africa. This high-quality felt hat sports a slightly down turned 4¼  inch brim so as to provide maximum protection from the sun. It is whisky coloured, so as not to show dirt during a rigorous journey. A wide cloth hat band absorbs sweat on the outside, while the Long Rider’s name is stamped inside on the leather hat band to deter theft. Unlike horsehair, which is very scratchy, the extra-long leather stampede string is very soft and includes a carefully woven slip knot so as to keep the hat securely fastened either during a gallop or in the course of an emergency.

The workmanship throughout is excellent. Every hat is handmade, personally guaranteed and can be shipped worldwide. The result is a hat which is not only worthy of admiration and respect, more importantly, it will withstand the challenges found on horseback in jungles, deserts, steppes and mountains. Thus, the Guild would like to thank the owners of the Montana Peaks Hat Company for helping our organization create an item which is of great importance to the international equestrian travel community.

If you are interested in learning more about "The Long Rider" hat, then please contact the Montana Peaks Hat Company.  But remember, the Long Riders' Guild never encourages would-be equestrian travellers to ask for any product for free. The vast majority of horse-related companies are privately owned, so expenses are high and profits are always hard to come by. Therefore Long Riders pay their way, always.


More astonishing Historical Long Riders discovered - including the man who rode across the Allegheny Mountains sixty times, the Italian Princess who explored Turkey, the Russian nobleman who nearly died riding across Tibet, the incredible Englishman who rode from Mexico to Argentina, the American geologist who escaped from the Apaches, and the blond bombshell whose ride across America turned her into a Hollywood movie star 


Aimé Tschiffely, the most important Long Rider of the twentieth century, continues to inspire a new generation.

Summer 2009

Long Riders’ Guild Launches World’s Toughest Equipment Test
The LRG has launched the world’s toughest equipment test, to prove the durability of the famous Canadian adjustable pack saddle. Can one pack saddle survive ten expeditions, made by ten different Long Riders, in ten varied portions of the world, over the course of ten years? The Long Riders’ Guild and the pack saddle’s maker, Kelly de Strake, are determined to find out.  Ten-year field test!

Mounted Explorers Search for Adventure
Equestrian travel continues to grow at an astonishing rate, with more expeditions having been completed, and a record number of new journeys now being planned in various parts of the globe.

Meeting a Long Rider Legend
The LRG's valuable collection of exciting and informative Stories from the Road has grown with the publication of one of the most moving accounts ever written regarding the emotional turmoil a Long Rider feels after returning to "civilization."  We are also proud to publish two special stories regarding Long Rider legend, Robert Seney. The retired US cavalryman racked up more than 24,000 miles during his various rides across America. During one of those journeys he met, and inspired, a young man who was half-way through his own trip. The moving account of this Long Rider meeting, as well as Seney’s tips on equestrian travel, are now on-line.

Journey inspires Art
During his recent ride from Hudson, Michigan to Santa Fe, New Mexico, Long Rider John Wayne Haynes was observed by noted portrait painter, Dee Beard Dean. The result was a lovely portrait of the traveller and his horses.

Long Riders in the News
The world’s press continues to be fascinated by Members of the Guild, their remarkable journeys and their trusty mounts. Here are links to new Internet and magazine articles about Long Riders from around the world.

Equestrian Wisdom and Long Rider Lore
The Long Riders Guild Press is proud to announce the publication of several important and rare new books in both the Equestrian Wisdom and History Series and the Equestrian Travel Classic collections. 

At Freedom's Door, by Malcolm Darling, tells the noteworthy tale of how the author set off to ride 1,400 miles across India on the eve of the 1947 partition of the subcontinent. This was an India, still smiling, but eager for freedom.

Thanks to his tolerance and insight, Darling was able to describe far more than the dusty plains, great rivers and mighty mountains which the average traveller would have noted. Instead Rajput and Sikhs confided in him, while Muslims and Hindus provided him with shelter and secrets. Using his horse as the key to each village, Darling noted the size of the fields, as well as the fear of the future. Read more....

Also available is Equus - The Natural History of the Horse, the most important equestrian wisdom book written in the first half of the 19th century. An English soldier turned scientist, Charles Hamilton Smith, consulted, translated and transcribed every type of original texts, including works in Greek, Latin, Arabic and many Oriental sources. The result was a book which became the principal authority of its age. No topic was off-limits. An early genetic examination of curly haired horses in Columbia was presented. Eyewitnesses were interviewed who had seen wild sultan-stallions attacking predators in Central Asia. Yet the mounted author’s most astonishing accomplishment was the careful documentation of more than a hundred ancient and extinct breeds, including the Katschenstzi of Tartary, a shining black horse with a white mane and the Sardinian wild horse, an indigenous animal not imported by man.   Read more...

Support the Work of the Long Riders’ Guild
Meanwhile, the LRGAF is appealing for help to pay for the ground-breaking activities undertaken over the last eight years by The Guild and the Foundation.  All donations will be gratefully received, but any person donating $100 or more may choose any of the books already published in the Horse Travel Books or Classic Travel Books Collections, or The Equestrian Wisdom and History Series.  Anybody donating $1,000 or more will enable The Long Riders' Guild Press to publish another book, which will be dedicated to the donor.  As the Dalai Lama said, "We may have the impression that the main beneficiaries of the practice of compassion are those on the receiving end;  that the practice of compassion is relevant only for those concerned about others and irrelevant for those who are not, because its main benefit goes to others.  This is a mistake.  The immediate benefit of practising compassion is actually experienced by the practitioner."  You can also demonstrate your support by buying a T-shirt.

Winter 2008

The Long Riders' Guild News Archive - thousands of articles about Long Riders are now available for the first time in history.  The basis of this extraordinary collection was begun more than fifty years ago by North American Long Rider and Founding Member of The Guild, Pat Schamber.

A BBC-TV programme has been broadcast about Long Rider Robert (Don Roberto) Cunninghame Graham. He was the author of travel books, a biography, eleven histories of Latin America and fourteen volumes of short stories and sketches.  Click here for more information about the show.

Historical Long Rider "Two-Gun Nan" Aspinwall has been nominated for the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

Several expeditions completed, and new ones planned.

We would like to welcome the following new Members to The Long Riders' Guild: SuSan Small Hammer, Mick Thompson and Rocky Woolman, and Associate Members Elaine Lockwood and Gary Ziegler.  They can all be found on the appropriate Members pages.

The Long Riders' Guild Press has republished two more books by Aimé Tschiffely - the enchanting "Little Princess Turtle Dove," written for children, and "Round and about Spain."  The latter proves once and for all that there was more, much more, to the famous Long Rider than his ride from Buenos Aires to Washington. Soon after the end of the Second World War Aimé accepted an invitation to explore Spain.  The resulting book was published only two years before his death.

Part II of Whisper on the Wind, the amazing story of Tom Bass, has been published in Horse Connection magazine!

Over on the LRGAF website you will find the results of a fascinating scientific study in Britain, published in The Daily Telegraph, which proves that horses can recognise individual neighs and match them to faces.

Long Rider Laurence Bougault has published an excellent book about stallions, "Chevaux Entiers et Étalons."

More than a year after completing his epic journey from Mongolia to Hungary, Long Rider Tim Cope has been reunited with his faithful dog, Tigon.

Long Rider Rosie Swayle Pope has completed her solo run around the world!

New Long Rider Art.

Summer 2008

Thanks to The Guild’s international network of contacts, the most notorious living equestrian travel outlaw is prevented from riding his horses to death! 


In response to tremendous demand, The Guild has decided to provide Long Riders' Guild T-shirts.


More pictures for the “Shadows and Ears” page!


CuChullaine O'Reilly is interviewed on the Stall-13 radio show regarding the work of the LRG, the LRGAF and the books in the Horse Travel Books collection.  This programme will be repeated on the Internet until 24th August and can be heard from all over the world. 


New articles about Long Riders in magazines and on the Internet.


The Long Riders' Guild is proud to announce the discovery of the two hundredth Historical Long Rider.  Arthur Kavanagh rode from Russia to India, even though he was born without arms or legs!


New:  links to Disabled Riding and Driving Programmes.


New books by and about Long Riders.


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