When Long Riders from around the world heard about Christie Henchie's death, they rushed to send their heartfelt condolences.
The Long Riders’ Guild
There is a secret moment prior to departure when every Long Rider sits poised in the saddle weighing the potential costs of departing.
Though many long to set out, only a tiny handful have the bravery needed to respond to the silent song lodged deep within some ancient part of our DNA.
You and Christy found that courage.
Like migrating birds you aimed your horses at an unknown horizon and took the rest of us along as you uncovered Africa's secrets.
It would be easy to make the hard and hazardous miles you rode together the focus of our thoughts, to let our collective tears overcome the majesty of what you accomplished.
Instead of despair, we should rejoice in knowing that every mile Christy rode serves as a tiny seed, the true results of which will not be known for many years to come.
One day an African will tell the tale of the mounted couple who changed his life via their magical journey.
In that story he will describe the bright and shining young woman whose smile never faded, whose courage never faltered and whose love never failed.
There are millions of horse-humans.
There are a handful of Long Riders.
There was only one Christy.
Our heart goes out to you and Christy's family.
Basha & CuChullaine O'Reilly
Although I have never known Billy or Christy personally, their story of adventure, human willpower, humility, and grace are of a genuine heroic nature.
The tragedy befallen Christy, and Billy is of a magnitude that is beyond comprehension, and one can not begin to fathom how it must be for Billy, Christy's family, or the Tanzanian villagers caught up in the accident.
I wish to send my condolences to Billy and Christy's family.
Dear Billy and the Henchie family,
Through our friend CuChullaine we became aware about the sad events.
Please accept our condolences and also our deepest respects to your family, specially in memory to Christy, a determined person who lived along her beliefs.
You can always count on our support from this part of Brazil.
Our best regards
Pedroca Dias de Aguiar
We have had the opportunity to follow their achievements, so when I received the news of Christine’s death it was something too distressing and the circumstances were too appalling to accept.
Christy was not only in the prime of youth, pursuing life with profound love and passion, but, through her adoration of her fellow humankind, she gave us the hope that she carried all of us in her heart.
When she rode through perilous situations serving as a goodwill ambassador, there is little doubt that Christy’s lovely and wholesome presence radiated the purity of her character and of her intentions.
Christy's peerless equestrian abilities and her brave exploration feats place her at the top. Through perseverance and extreme courage she devoted herself unselfishly to a longing to unite the world.
By introducing us to interactions they encountered, in particular, by relaying exchanged enthusiasms they had through interaction with children, Christy and Billy alerted all who followed their story to that important objective so often and easily overlooked – being that we must take hold of life and appreciate the importance of every day blessings that are at hand – moment by moment.
Billy and the family must understand that losing Christy will not be in vain; the significance of their message will leave a strong mark and change for the better the lives of those who recognize their dreams and who have been inspirited by the way they went about accomplishing them.
The equestrian world is heartbroken about your loss.
With deepest sympathy, Bonnie Folkins
Dear Billy and Christy's family,
It was so very sad to hear of Christy's passing and the great loss that you must all be feeling.
I was quite aware of your inspiring journey and had been following it with admiration via The Long Rider's Guild.
My thoughts swim with layers of the impact of this tragedy.
Words seem meek at this moment. My heart truly goes out to you.
Best wishes and long memories.
Louella and I read the terrible story of what happened to you and Christy with real sadness and sympathy. It made us realise how incredibly lucky we have been to avoid such an appalling disaster.
Like a vast number of other people in the long riding world, our thoughts are with you and we will be watching your progress and hoping that you make a full recovery.
Basha and CuChullaine are old friends and we helped start the Long Riders Guild when they came to stay with us here in Cornwall many years ago, so that we have been in on it all since the very beginning. It has been an extraordinary adventure to see how many people there are in the world making courageous long rides, though few as long and difficult as yours.
We all know how many problems have to be faced and what a grinding business it often is, although the rewards are also great.
But none that I know of have suffered as you have and, although it is small comfort in your loss, you will be remembered as the brave couple to whom the fates dealt the hand which was just around the corner for all of us.
Stay strong and get better. Life does go on after tragedy and you have many friends out there rooting for you.
With sincere good wishes from us both, Robin & Louella Hanbury-Tenison
Both Christine and Billy showed the most staggering courage even setting off on a journey on horseback through Africa, it's a tremendous undertaking.
One only has to read some of the accounts of the early explorers to know how difficult that can be on horseback.
Today those dangers have increased, not decreased, outside what lays in wait from the natural world: the gun-toters proliferate, there are minefields and the roads are alive with accidents waiting to happen.
It's a brutal irony that Billy and Chrissie should fall victim to human stupidity after having covered the journey they had, it's a terrible loss.
It's also a lesson to everyone on horseback to stay off the roads.
Even in the west where driving might be a little more predictable, vehicles and horses are a poor mix, I had a horse killed on a B road in Britain.
My heart goes out to Christy's family and very much to Billy, who must be feeling her loss and the loss of the horses more deeply than any of us can possibly know.
With my deepest sympathy. Jeremy James
What horrible news.
I have no idea how one can offer effective words of comfort in such a situation and I can imagine that Billy must be devastated beyond rational thought at the moment.
But, apart from reaching out to him in empathy, sympathy and sheer sorrow at his terrible loss – and perhaps you would kindly pass that on to him – from your article I seemed to pick up on Christy’s determination to finish the ride no matter what, so perhaps Billy may feel one day that’s that what she would want him to do.
I don’t think you ever really reach ‘closure’ (horrible modern word) on grief of this kind, and the most you can hope for is to put it in a different room in your mind one day, so that although it’s still there you can live alongside it.
And maybe he’ll achieve that more easily if at some time in the future he carries on with the journey.
And of course I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Nali survives and fully recovers.
Thanks for sharing the story of Billy and Christine.
The accident did not happen to me but a traffic accident could hit any Long Rider on the road.
This is horrifying news.
I can only imagine the devastation Billy is going through.
I know words cannot help much, but please convey my most sincere condolences to him.
Although I don't personally know him, I am sharing his grief for the tragic death of Christine.
Please pass him my deepest sympathy.
Warm regards, Louis Meunier
I am so, so shocked and sorry about the accident that happened to Billy and Christy and their beloved horses.
No words can express my feelings.
Please give my condolences to their families.
What a terrible time to go through.
Having travelled through many African countries I can well imagine the chaotic scene.
I hope Billy recovers both, physically and emotionally so he may continue his journey.
Hopefully his beloved horse will recover as well.
Glad Christy's horse survived the ordeal.
Reading some of Christy's blog in your article, I know that she followed her heart.
I'll be thinking of all of you in this difficult time ...
I have no words really, would like to just sit with you, hold hands, and that way you would know that I deeply care and wished I was a strong and powerful goddess, so that I could make all the hurt and pain go away, and turn all what happened into a bad dream, from which you would wake up.
As you are far away I send you my thoughts, and although we’ve never met, we are in some sense family. Thanks to CuChullaine and Basha people like us belong to a clan, and when you need support you will receive it.
Let me know if there’s anything I can possibly do for you.
Meanwhile I think of you, and send you thoughts for support and comfort.
I don’t believe in a god on a throne, but I do believe that we humans are connected, we are no isolated island floating in the universe.
I am quite sure that your Christy isn’t gone.
Physically she is not there, but her spirit is free to go where it wants, which is right where you are.
My thoughts are with you.
This is truly awful news about our Long Rider friends. It also highlights the dangers we face when we saddle up and take to the roads. My sincere sympathy to Billy and Christy's family.
It is very sad and scary to read the latest news.
This is a big heartbreaking loss.
I want to contribute my sympathy to Billy and Christy’s family.
I would also like to support Billy in his time of suffering.
Please tell him, My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.
To Billy and Christy's family,
We are writing this letter on behalf of all Long Riders and horse lovers here in Mongolia.
Words can not express the heartache we feel for you and Christy's family.
Though we are on different sides of the world, our hearts and prayers are with you.
Sincerely, Dalaikhan Bosnai and Alpamys Dalaikhan
Be brave young man.
This is your true test.
Christy is with you and always will be.
Don't let this be the end of who you and her are
When you are in doubt and ready to give up just think, "What would Christy want me to do?"
You are all in my prayers
After Basha called to tell me the news about the accident, I couldn't do anything but sit here wiping the tears from my eyes.
But the situation became even worse when I read CuChullaine's article. The land has water to set its limits but there is no boundary to stupidity, heartlessness, badness and cruelty. Once again I find myself remembering back to own ride, to Bolivia when at the age of 29 I almost lost my life. And the memory also comes again of when I was 13 and how a bus killed my father in the same way as Christy.
Now I find that my fingers are too blocked from emotions to able to make the proper strokes on the keyboard. I am speechless.
Such a wonderful young woman, who possessed a true Long Rider spirit, is not with us anymore.
I feel as if I have lost my sister, without even knowing her.
My heart goes out to you Billy and to Christy's family.
The poor, poor people!!
I do not know anyone in Cape Town, otherwise I would have asked them to see if they might be able to help in any way possible.
Love and kind regards to Billy and Christy's family.
Please forward my best wishes for a speedy recovery to Billy and my condolences to Christy's family.
Peter van der Gugten
Dear Billy and Christy's Family,
Reading about the tragedy that happened in Tanzania - I have read it over three times - brings tears to my eyes. I wish to send my sincerest condolences to you regarding the loss of Christy.
She was a wonderful woman. She was very special.
I feel at a loss for words but I feel the tragedy to my very bones.
Please pass the following on to Billy Brenchley.
Although I did not know Christine Henchie I am deeply saddened by her death. Since hearing of her accident I have read her blog and tried to learn more about who she was.
One of the things that I discovered was that she was an excellent horse woman. She was very good with them, trained them with patience and understanding and, wow, could she ever ride!!
Her horses had a look in their eyes that said they were happy to do anything that she asked of them.
Another thing that I learned was that she was a remarkable woman, with the kind of courage that you only read about in books.
Her legacy will be those that she touched along the way…sharing that courage, inspiring people and children to follow their dreams.
I am so very sorry for the burden that Billy must carry. I hope that he will find peace in knowing that she died doing exactly what she wanted to do. She died along side of him and her horses.
All my respect, Colleen Hamer
I was so sorry to learn what happened to our Long Rider friends in Africa.
My heartfelt grieving spirit goes out to Billy and Christy's family.
I know this is a sad time for you.
CuChullaine and Basha have informed the Long Rider community of the split second in your journey that changed everything.
We all know that the same could happen to any of us who put ourselves out there to follow a dream that few people would ever contemplate, let alone follow.
Fewer people yet would continue on in the face of the challenges you and Christy have already faced.
You are made of strong stuff, as was Christy, and I know both of you will make it on your respective journeys.
Christy sounds like a rare individual, surely a great loss to all who knew her.
And obviously you both had a strong positive impact on the African people who were of great interest to you both.
As to your horses, in whatever condition they are in right now, no one can know this special relationship except one who has been in the saddle for weeks and months living day in and day out with these honorable and willing companions.
It is heartening to hear that your local followers were so imbued with these creatures who would allow you to sit on their backs so readily.
You and Christy have brought a legacy to a world that is torn by the strife humanity can inflict.
I know you are wondering if you should ever have embarked on such a venture.
But obviously it was your calling and Christy’s too.
Following our dreams, our paths, may be the greatest inspiration to others.
And for Long Riders, I’m guessing it’s near impossible not to answer the call.
I just want you to know we are thinking about you and your horses and an inspiring journey that took a very quick turn.
I’m sure you are feeling shattered now as we all are, but considering what you’ve already endured, I know there is an important journey ahead.
If you would like to talk about it, we are here, though scattered around the world.
Please know our hearts are with you and Christy and your horses.
From a fellow traveler and admirer,
CuChullaine of the Long Rider's Guild shared with me your terrible, unspeakable loss.
I know at a time like this that words have little meaning. I want you to know, however, that as a fellow Long Rider I grieve for your loss, I send you my most sincere and heartfelt condolences, and I am thinking of you and praying that you and your horse recover from this terrible tragedy.
Please know you have many brother and sister equestrians in the world who support you, who care about you, and who will do everything they can to help you.
If I can be of any assistance in any way, financially or otherwise, please let me know. You are not alone.
No words are adequate to express the thousand thoughts and emotions flooding my mind and heart as I learn of your tragic loss.
Please know that all Long Riders send their support and love.
It may not seems so right now but do know brighter days are ahead.
Let me know if I can be of any help.
So much tragedy for so many innocent, good-hearted, courageous people.
Please tell Billy he and Christy’s family are in my prayers.
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