The Long Riders' Guild


Winter 2011

 Welcome New Long Riders

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.

Dalaikhan Boshai rode across Kazakhstan.

Rachel Mackie and Alex Nicholson rode from Spain to Scotland.

Deb York rode across the western portion of the United States.

Mauricio Montenero and Rene Weber rode across central Afghanistan.

Roland Berg and Sabine Matschkus completed two journeys across Western Europe.

Esther Luxford-Matthews and Maura Luxford are a mother-daughter team each of whom made journeys across Australia.


Startling New Evidence


The “Deadly Equines” project continues to receive unsolicited evidence from around the world.  


HORSE KILLS 100 SHEEP - A grazier has been concerned by the death of more than 100 of his sheep and injury to others of the flock. The dead sheep had their jaws, throats, and ears chewed and the injured had their ears torn off. The culprit was found to be a horse.


HORSE EATS RABBITS - In the North-East there is a young horse which eats rabbits, chews the head off and sucks the blood. "You might think this is unbelievable but the horse will follow a line of traps. When he hears the rabbits squealing, he will chew only the head and neck off and suck the blood out of them."


CHILDREN ATTACKED BY HORSE – A horse has repeatedly attacked children and adults in Suffolk, England. The local newspaper published a front page story detailing how the horse, which is kept in a field adjacent to a narrow public footpath, had grabbed children from their parents, picked them up, shaken them violently, then flung them to the ground. The paper published a photo of a four-year-old victim who was bitten in the chest. One father was also attacked by the horse.



New York Times best-selling author, Maggie Stiefvater's newest book, " The Scorpio Races," features meat-eating horses. ".....the meat-eating mounts of this inventive, tightly woven tale have the ability to lull their human riders into a stupor whereby the fairy horses can then carry them back to the ocean to be devoured."

Long Rider Honoured in Spain

Because she has survived a host of adventures and written many exciting books, British Long Rider Christina Dodwell has been rightfully compared to Historical Long Riders Freya Stark and Ella Maillart. Thanks to her remarkable exploration career, Dodwell will be presented with the International Award by the Spanish Geographical Society in March, 2012.

Guild Radio Interview

The most in-depth interview regarding the Long Riders’ Guild and the “Deadly Equines” project has been released. American host Tim Binnall spoke to CuChullaine O’Reilly regarding the birth and evolution of the Long Riders Guild, as well as delving into the “Deadly Equines” project.

Tschiffely’s Ride Inspires Vital Journey

Though the Guild has assisted more than a hundred equestrian expeditions take the field on every continent except Antarctica, occasionally a journey is planned which is worthy of special mention. One such trip is about to begin. Thanks to the inspiration of Swiss Long Rider Aimé Tschiffely, a young journalist, Filipe Leite, is preparing to ride from Canada to Brazil. Because of the complexity of the ride, some of the world’s most experienced Long Riders are assisting. German Long Rider Günter Wamser, who has already ridden from Patagonia to Canada, is offering advice on border crossings, while Canadian Long Rider Stan Walchuk is seeking appropriate horses.

Long Rider Saddle Donated

In addition to the other assistance he is receiving, Filipe will be the first Long Rider to use “Andi’s Saddle” during an LRG-sanctioned journey.  North American Long Rider Andi Mills has donated the Steele saddle she used on her ride across the States. Upon the completion of Filipe’s journey, “Andi’s Saddle,” will join the adjustable Canadian pack saddle, previously donated by Custom Pack Rigging. In this way the Guild hopes to help encourage vital journeys, reduce basic costs and provide an unprecedented field test for these fine pieces of equestrian equipment. 

Charter for Free Equestrian Travellers

The Long Riders’ Guild is working with the German based VFD to create the world’s first charter dedicated to protecting the rights of equestrian travellers and preserving the world’s endangered equestrian trails. German Long Rider David Wewetzer is the liaison with the VFD, a national association representing the interests of 60,000 riders and carriage drivers. Like the Guild, the VFD believes “the horse is never a piece of sports equipment but a partner to be cared for responsibly.” Discussions are under way with equestrian explorers and trail riders in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland, Czech and Denmark. 

Historical Long Riders Discovered


Karl Krebs was a Danish diplomat whose work for the International Red Cross took him into Siberia in 1918. When the Bolsheviks reached Irkutsk, Krebs learned he was to be arrested. He bought a horse and set out on an amazing solo ride, travelling all the way to Peking. By day he rode across steppes and desert, guided only by the compass, and at night he slept in a sleeping bag, with no tent, in minus fifteen degree weather.


Plus, new research has also documented the equestrian journeys of two well-known English Historical Long Riders.


In his book, “Impressions of Andalusia,” Somerset Maugham recounts how at the age of twenty-three he made an equestrian journey through Spain.  “I set out in the morning early, with saddle-bags fixed on either side and poncho strapped to my pommel. A loaded revolver, though of course I never had a chance to use it, made me feel pleasantly adventurous.”  Read his Story from the Road.

Prior to that Alexander William Kinglake rode from Serbia to Egypt in 1835. In his book, “Eothen - Traces of Travel” he provided this sterling insight into equestrian travel.  "Day after day, week after week, and month after month, your foot is in the stirrup. To taste the cold breath of the earliest morn, and to lead or follow your bright cavalcade till sunset through forests and mountain passes, through valleys and desolate plains - all this becomes your mode of life. If you are wise, you do not look upon the long period of time thus occupied by your journey as the mere gulfs which divide you from place to place to which you are going; but rather, as most rare and beautiful portions of life, from which may come thought, temper, and strength. Once feel this, and you will grow happy and contented in your saddle-home."

A tale of horse carnage in the US

A law change has reopened the door to US horse slaughter. A ground-breaking LRGAF historical research project documents how the issue of equine slaughter is nothing new. A pet-food giant nearly bled the American west dry of horses 90 years ago. 

Why don’t Americans eat horse meat?

The American taboo against eating horse meat was investigated by Slate magazine. One of their main sources of information was the Guild’s ground-breaking study detailing how this modern cultural taboo has its roots in a forgotten religious war waged between the Vatican and the Vikings.

Heroic Travel Tale Published

The Long Riders’ Guild Press is proud to announce the release of “Mrs. Christian – Bounty Mutineer.”
This is the heroic and bloody, untold story of Mauatua, Tahitian lover and wife of BOUNTY mutineer Fletcher Christian and of what she and 11 other women endured to survive on Pitcairn Island, the mutineers' secret refuge for almost twenty years. It is a story of Ma'ohi women succeeding where white men failed, women who then became first in the world to have the vote, in 1838, 90 years before the women of Britain. The remarkable book was written by Glynn Christian, the great-great-great-great-grandson of Fletcher Christian who led the mutiny on Bounty in 1789.

Summer 2011

Dalai Lama Honours Long Rider Hero of Tibetan Struggle  

Thanks to his efforts to assist the Tibetan nation, legendary Scottish Long Rider George Patterson, received the prestigious Light of Truth Award from the International Campaign for Tibet.

Lithuania Becomes 44th Nation to Join the Guild.  
It may be geographically small, but Lithuania accomplished a giant equestrian feat when nine Long Riders completed a 2,000 kilometre journey from the Baltic to the Black Sea. This marks the largest group of equestrian travellers to ever join the Guild at one time !
Riding with the Eagles

Canadian Long Rider Bonnie Folkins’ mission is to use her horse and camera to arrive at a deeper understanding of Central Asia’s remaining nomads. An international exhibit reveals her images of Eagle Hunters and Bactrian camels.

Long Rider Saddles – Questions and Answers

North American Long Rider Len Brown is uniquely qualified to comment on how saddles influence equestrian travel. After completing a 3,000 mile journey through the United States, he invented the famous Ortho Flex saddle. With more than thirty years of hands-on experience, this master saddler has answered questions from Long Riders around the world.


Saddles in the 21st Century

After riding more than 3,000 miles across the USA in the early 1980s, Lisa Stewart helped launch one of that country's most successful saddle companies. Since then Stewart has spent more than two decades studying the history and construction of saddles. The result is that this unique Long Rider has now shared her experiences and wisdom in this unprecedented research paper.


Oriental Wonder - The Girthless Pack Saddle

Humans residing in the Orient and the Occident developed different ways to accomplish a simple task. Forks, for example, were used in England instead of the chop sticks preferred in China. Likewise there were equestrian differences as well, the most common being the long stirrup favoured by Westerners, as opposed to the shortened stirrup leather adapted by Central Asian nomadic horsemen. While short stirrups and chop sticks are well known, what is seldom remembered is that a remarkably different pack saddle system developed in the Far East.

New Members

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.

Historical Long Riders

Is this Baron Fukushima?

Biographer Richard La Tondre believes he has discovered the only known image of the samurai Long Rider who rode from Berlin to Tokyo in 1892. The image was discovered in Germany and matches the description of Fukushima and his thoroughbred, Gaisen. A military hero who spoke ten languages, Fukushima was inspired to make his journey across Siberia after reading of  English Long Rider Colonel Frederick Burnaby’s solo ride through Central Asia.

New Long Rider Discovered !

In 1226 Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein rode from Venice to Vienna. His mission was to demonstrate his love for a beautiful noblewoman. In an autobiographical poetry collection entitled "Service of the Lady," Ulrich recalled how he undertook to do great deeds in order to honour his lady love. According to the rules of chaste courtly love, the regal Long Rider challenged every knight he met to individual combat, the result being that he defeated more than 300 opponents in individual combat before reaching Vienna. Regardless of his journey and despite his martial efforts, the fickle lady spurned his affections. Yet in an ironic twist of fate, Sir Ulrich's chivalrous role was enshrined in the 2001 film A Knight’s Tale. In the movie a poverty-stricken young squire, played by Heath Ledger, assumes the title “Ulrich von Liechtenstein” and pretends to be the undefeated knight.

Lady Long Rider

Historian Paul Roales has uncovered a rare post card which depicts Historical Long Rider Alberta Clare. Known as the “Girl from Wyoming,” young Alberta set off in 1912 on an 8,000 mile journey which took her from Wyoming to Oregon, south to California, across the deserts of Arizona, and on to a triumphant arrival in New York City. The diminutive pistol-packing Long Rider undertook her journey for two special reasons. Though few people now recall, women were denied the right to vote in 1912. Furthermore, polite society expected women to ride in a side saddle. Thus Alberta made her ride in an effort to promote the still-revolutionary ideas of a woman's right to vote and her right to ride astride!  After Teddy Roosevelt endorsed women's suffrage in the Presidential election of that year, the 500 year old use of the side saddle disappeared from use almost overnight thanks to Alberta Claire and women like her.

Riding from England to Ceylon

In 1839 Historical Long Rider Edward Mitford rode 7,000 miles from Europe to Ceylon. His extraordinary journey began with his companion and fellow Englishman, Austen Henry Layard. However, when Layard chose to stay and live with the Bakhtari nomads of Persia, Mitford rode on alone, eventually reaching Ceylon after many adventures in Afghanistan and Scinde. This obituary was discovered, and donated to the Guild’s archive, by Mitford’s descendant, author Hugh Mitford Raymond.


An increasing number of Long Riders are in the saddle and exploring various parts of the planet. They have recently ridden from Amsterdam to St. Petersburg. They are criss-crossing Europe, exploring the American west, venturing across Africa and are about to set off across Australia. In addition, they have overcome dangers, avoided bureaucratic traps and been laid low by deadly diseases.


Long Rider Jakki Cunningham has written to The Guild to say, "The SLL (Sète Lorient London) White Horses charity is planning another long ride from the South of France to England.  This time, our escort vehicles will be western wagons, one of which will be drawn by 2 Franc Comtois and the other drawn by 2 Camargues. Another 5 Camargues will be used as riding horses by the young disadvantaged people we take with us. At the end of the project, we donate the horses to Riding for the Disabled Association and similar centres in France." 

The iBex, an amazing pony-drawn chariot invented by Simon Mulholland, will be joining the SSL expedition in 2012.  It was designed to take wheelchairs but can be driven by anyone. The iBex will allow a disabled veteran to drive this unique one-man, pony-drawn vehicle from the Camargue to London. For full details see here - or go to Simon's website.


Travel Alert:

In 2004 two British Long Riders, Thomas Bartz and Christopher Kidner, rode a thousand miles from Osh, Kirghizstan to Panjshir, Afghanistan. Seven years later, Thomas has returned to Kyrgyzstan and reports that equestrian travellers are now encountering serious problems.


Voices of Exploration

Regardless of where we were born, mankind’s urge to explore transcends all differences of nationality and faith. It remains an emblem of universality deserving of a wider global study. Ironically, though the public has long yearned for fresh voices who could share their hard-won wisdom, in the corporate-dominated world, where finances always come first, meaningful dialogue with the world’s leading explorers has been passed over in preference to slick ads and predictable yearly awards. The Voices of Exploration project is designed to be an ever-expanding data bank of interviews and wisdom. Interviews already completed include Colonel John Blashford-Snell, founder of the Scientific Exploration Society, renowned camel traveller, John Hare and fabled Long Rider Christina Dodwell.


Stories from the Road

A Notion of Youth Fulfilled - Some of life’s most poignant lessons come in small, unobtrusive packages. This remarkable story is one such tiny treasure.  Without any fanfare, the author set off in 1976 to make a 1,200 ride across the United States. At the conclusion of his trip, he made several important observations, some singular and others which apply to Long Riders throughout history. This is a timeless bit of writing by one of the tribal elders who kept equestrian travel alive in the days before the formation of The Guild.


Saved by the Cavalry – In a moving tribute to a lost equine hero, Welsh Long Rider Jeremy James recalls how his beloved Criollo, Gonzo, took him across a continent and enriched his soul.


Across Africa on Horseback -  Billy Brenchley and Christy Henchie have encountered a number of surprises during their epic equestrian journey from the top of Tunisia to the bottom of South Africa. They’ve outwitted recalcitrant border guards, survived the loss of one of their horses, crossed the deserts of Sudan, and floated their expedition down the Nile on a river boat. But upon arrived in Uganda, they were required to tell the natives what a horse was.


Dashing Don Carlos – “Don Carlos” Thurlow-Craig rode through jungles, fought in civil wars and wrote that made your blood boil with excitement. A close friend recalls the life of this wild Historical Long Rider.


Journey to the Western Regions – The Long Riders’ Guild announces the discovery of what is believed to be the oldest known “Story from the Road.” Dr. Sally Church has translated the diary of Chen Cheng, an extraordinary Chinese Historical Long Rider. Thanks to Dr. Church, the Guild will soon release the first account of how Cheng rode to Herat, Afghanistan in 1414 in search of the famous Bactrian horses who sweated blood.

Long Riders in the News

BBC Radio 4's long-running series Questions Questions interviewed CuChullaine O’Reilly regarding equestrian travel.

A listener asked “How did it work (years ago) when someone embarked on a long journey by horse and the horse was tired and needed to be exchanged? What happened if you owned a horse, travelled some distance but needed a 'fresh' one to continue? How would you get your own horse back and who would look after it?”

Drawing on information which will soon appear in the Horse Travel Handbook, O’Reilly provided factual information about how horses were used by previous generations, contrasting those circumstances against journeys made by modern Long Riders.


Long Rider Honoured


Hidden inside the little words “Roger Pocock,” is a man whose life was so big that it ran the length of the notorious Outlaw Trail, splashed over into the creation of a citizen’s militia that is still flourishing and left behind one of the most important equestrian legacies of the early 20th century. Author of the classics, “Following the Frontier” and Horses, Pocock remains one of the most influential Long Riders in history. Pocock’s remarkable life was recently the focus of an article on the Chronicle of the Horse


To learn how Pocock made the only solo ride along the entire length of the infamous Outlaw Trail, read “Butch Cassidy and The Long Riders.”

Long Rider Books


Swiss Long Rider Aimé Tschiffely made the most celebrated equestrian journey in the 20th century, a 10,000 mile ride from Buenos Aires and New York. That epic ride became the inspiration for the classic, Tschiffely’s Ride. The Long Riders’ Guild Press, in conjunction with the Tschiffely Literary Estate, has just authorized the publication of Tschiffely’s Ride in Italian.


To read about the latest books in the Equestrian Wisdom & History series, please click here.


"The Golden Kite is a new biography detailing the extraordinary equestrian journey undertaken by the Japanese Historical Long Rider, Baron Yasumasa Fukushima. Written by Richard La Tondre, the book details how the samurai rode 9,000 miles from Berlin to Tokyo, during which he crossed Siberia and the Gobi Desert. This remarkable chronicle of hardship, suffering, and heroism, is the first time the Baron’s story has been told in English.

In 2002 French Long Rider Laurence Bougault survived a perilous equestrian solo journey across Africa.  Since then Bougault has continued her study of horses. Her latest effort is a detailed investigation into stallions. This interesting book reveals the Long Rider’s personal experiences as well as those of breeders, trainers and famous horsemen.

Long Rider Films and Television
Click on link above to read about no less than four films with Long Rider connections:  two written or directed by French Long Riders, one about the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostella, and one by a Friend of The Guild about travelling across the Sahara with camels.
Lost Heroes

It saddens us to report the loss of two of the Guild’s mounted heroes, Frank Bessac and Paul Rask, both of whom were inspirational equestrian travellers.


Frank Bessac - rode in Mongolia, Western China and Tibet in 1950.  The author of "Death on the Chang Tang," Bessac was the last known Long Rider to own and ride one of the legendary Kazakh meat-eating horses. His legendary escape across the Gobi Desert on this incredible animal is described in Deadly Equines – The Shocking True Story of Meat-Eating and Murderous Horses.

Paul Rask - rode from Viborg in Jutland to the Ukraine, and also made a  Long Ride in Sweden.

A journey across America turned into a tragedy when wagon traveller, Ernest Nunley, was killed. The native of Tennessee had originally set off on horse back but switched to a horse drawn wagon. As he was leaving Clovis, New Mexico one of the horses spooked, which caused Nunley to be thrown from the wagon. He suffered serious injures and passed away in hospital.


Hall of Shame

Though the Long Riders' Guild does not have the ability to enforce legislation, we will not tolerate the presence of a person who incorporates a horse into a deceptive, unethical or criminal act.  Nor will the Guild condone or sponsor any expedition that knowingly subjects its mounts to needless suffering.

The Guild can however can warn the public of the unacceptable behaviour of people who abuse, injure or kill their horses, because of intentional neglect or cruelty, during an equestrian journey. In such cases the names of the person is placed in the Guild's Hall of Shame. Consequently, it is our reluctant duty to announce the discovery of the worst case of equestrian travel horse abuse in modern history.

In this incident a horse was ridden as fast as possible across Mongolia, the result being that it received open wounds the size of dinner plates. These wounds reached to the bone and were infested with insects. Though local horsemen attempted to purchase the wounded animal, the Australian traveller chose instead to sell the horse to a local butcher. He then used the money to purchase another horse, which was also abused during the remainder of the journey.

As a consequence of this equine abuse Neale Irons has been placed in the Guild’s Hall of Shame.

For information on earlier news stories, please visit the Archives pages.

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