The Long Riders' Guild

Rare Letters link Aimé Tschiffely and

Historical Long Rider Charles Furlong


Photo courtesy the University of Oregon


There is no name which shines brighter in the Long Rider universe than that of fabled Swiss Long Rider Aimé Tschiffely (1895 -1954). Aimé is rightfully considered the most famous Long Rider of all time due to the legendary 10,000 mile solo journey he undertook from Buenos Aires to Washington DC in the 1920s. His journey became the inspiration for the most influential equestrian travel book ever written. Entitled “Tschiffely’s Ride,” Aimé’s autobiographical tale of mounted adventure has inspired generations to swing into the saddle and follow his equestrian example.


What The Long Riders’ Guild has just discovered is that another legendary equestrian traveller, North American Long Rider Charles Furlong, assisted Aimé in a historic publishing venture and shared memories of their mutual Latin Long Rider adventures.


Charles Wellington Furlong (1874-1967) led a life which was alternatively filled with either academic excellence or daredevil courage. Educated at the L’École des Beaux Arts academy in France, Furlong’s paintings now grace museums around the world. Yet though he once headed the art department at Cornell University, Furlong’s thirst for adventure also saw him eagerly becoming a foreign correspondent, ethnological researcher, rodeo cowboy and military attaché. As Furlong’s recently discovered letters prove, the artist was also an avid Long Rider and admirer of Aimé Tschiffely !


In her role as Executor of the Tschiffely Literary Estate, Basha O’Reilly discovered that Furlong and Tschiffely exchanged a series of exciting letters during which they discussed their equestrian journeys in Latin America and how Furlong might use his connections at National Geographic magazine to assist Tschiffely in publishing a book about the Patagonian pioneer, Lucas Bridges.


On August 29th, 1946, Furlong wrote, “Your letter was both a surprise and a pleasure. Naturally, I know of you and the splendid trek you made with Mancha and Gato. I had always hoped that our trails would cross as we naturally would have so many things of mutual interest to discuss and enjoy.”


After explaining how he would encourage the editors of National Geographic to publish Aimé’s Patagonian book, Furlong reminisced about his own equestrian adventures in South America.


“I was most interested to hear that one of your horses is still alive. Which one is it and where is he now? I have a good deal of interest in horses. I had my own tropilla in both Tierra del Fuego and when I crossed Patagonia from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Perhaps there is nothing that I am more proud of in my explorations than the fact that I bought the entire troop of seven unshod horses and a bell mare across both the pampas and the Andes, without losing a horse. I have also ridden as a cowboy, in both Montana and Oregon, and did a bit of riding in the famous Round Up in Pendleton, Oregon……..When you next come to the United States, please remember that our latchstring is always out for you and mia casa es suyo.”


In a follow-up letter written on May 15th, 1948 Furlong wrote to Tschiffely to express his sympathy at the news regarding the passing of Aimé’s great Road Horse, Mancha.


“Please accept my condolences on the loss of your grand old fellow companion of the long trail, Mancha, but also my congratulations that through your great care, horse sense and understanding, you enabled him to reach forty years of age, which about a century ago, was the average age of man.”


The Guild’s discovery of the Furlong letters will be featured in the forthcoming biography which has been authorized by the Tschiffely Literary Estate.


To learn more about Long Rider Charles Furlong’s astonishing life, please enjoy the biography published on-line by the University of Oregon



To learn more about Long Rider Aimé Tschiffely, visit his websitehis page on The Guild’s website or view his collection of titles in the Horse Travel Books Collection.


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