Lithuanian Long Rider Vaidotas Digaitis has completed a journey around the Baltic Sea to the Arctic Circle and back.
Vaidotas, who had already ridden from the Baltic to the Black Sea, started this trip on 25th April 2012 from his home in the village of Laukuva in Lithuania. He crossed Russia (Kaliningrad), Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and reached the Arctic Circle in late July.
He rode alone with two horses named Kredas and Keklys, both of which are Zemaitukai (Lithuanian breed)
Here is a link to a video filmed in Sweden.
The total distance was about 6000 km.
He had a detachable bit which he could easily slip in and out to let the horses graze. Having carefully read information on the LRG site, Vaidotas used the cavalry method of letting the horses rest and graze every hour for 10 minutes. The team also rests on Sundays.
|(Left) Vaidotas at the Arctic Circle and (right) his horses and equipment.
There is a loud bell on one of the horses, which was a gift from locals to protect him and his horses against bears and wolves, because he has no gun.
He had been looking for a good saddle for a long time and one day found a recommendation on the Equipment section of the LRG website. So he took a flight to Verona and bought a Prestige saddle especially created for Long Riders, which comes with saddle and pommel bags. He's very happy with that saddle.
He did not using a GPS or a laptop; just a compass and paper maps which he bought in local shops or received as a gift from local people.
The led horse carried a woollen blanket round his neck. Each horse had a separate woollen blanket which is used as a saddle pad. There is some weight in the one on the led horse because Vaidotas needed a lot of borium for the horseshoes. He bought it as he went along, and usually bought enough to last a long time. He put the borium clips into a bicycle tube which he slipped into the blanket which hangs around the led horse’s neck.
Vaidotas rode à la Turkmène: one horse travels with almost no weight (except for the blanket and the borium clips) one day and carries Vaidotas the following day.
He had no tent, he usually asked for a place to sleep from local people, but if he couldn't find a roof to sleep under by evening, then he wrapped himself up in the horse blankets to keep warm and slept in the forest or a field anywhere.
Unfortunately, he broke his foot in Russia.
“I thought that I couldn‘t continue my journey. It was horrible to think about that,” he said.
“I stayed in bed for about four days and then I tried to ride. I had to take pills from pain about 10 days. In the evening I felt pain in my butt.
“It is very hard when you ride a horse non stop about 10-12 hours in a very slow marching way. And I was wondering about the night to stay. It was hard to climb down from the horse and to reach the door. It seemed that my horses stood in the same place and I would never reach my home,” he said.
“But I did it! Thanks to God and to all who helped me!”
|By mid-September Vaidotas was back home in Lithuania, in spite of having a broken foot! Congratulations to this Long Rider, whose horses look as happy and relaxed at the end of the journey as they did at the beginning.
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