The Long Riders' Guild

Historical Long Riders

Belinda Fane rode from Gosford, New South Wales to Perth in Western Australia in 1963.
Farson.JPG (23364 bytes) Negley Farson was the grandson of an American civil war general who rode with Sherman as they burned Georgia from Atlanta to the sea. Perhaps that is what gave the young man his life-long thirst for adventure? Farson flew with the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War, took part in the Russian revolution, was present at the arrest of Gandhi, and went on to become one of the most celebrated international journalists of his day. Yet one of Farson’s adventures stands alone, his equestrian exploration of the Western Caucasus mountains. The intrepid reporter saddled up in the spring of 1929, accompanied by an aging, eccentric Englishman who lived in Moscow. With no prior equestrian travel experience between them, the two would-be explorers were soon discovering the harsh realities of life on the road. They were lashed by hailstorms, threatened by sceptical Soviet commissars, denied shelter by suspicious natives, and spent night after night in rain-soaked misery. A personal chronicle of an already exciting life, Caucasian Journey tells how Farson also discovered the seldom-seen splendours of this mountainous region with its alpine snowfields painted gold by the sun, picturesque villages forgotten by the outer world, and magnificent horsemen who were practically born in the saddle.






Raffaele Favero -  Described as “a restless victim of the Ulysses syndrome,” Raffaele combined an artistic soul with the courage of a wandering lion. Born in Milan in 1945, he was the drummer in Italy’s famous band, The Prophets. Yet a strong desire to travel resulted in Raffaele journeying overland to Pakistan. There he converted to Islam, changed his name to Rafiullah and studied with the renowned Sufi, Sayid Mir Sain Baba. After becoming fluent in Pushtu, Rafiullah travelled to Kabul, where he met Sean Jones and Kevin Rigby. Having read Joseph Kessel’s book, The Horsemen, Rafiullah urged the two English travellers to join him in an equestrian journey across Afghanistan. The three friends formed The Company of Horses and rode from Kunduz to Kabul in 1973. Soon afterwards they decided to ride across the Khyber hills and take up residence in Swat Pakistan. During this second journey Rafiullah and his companions were Captured by Afghan Bandits. After his escape from the Afridis, Rafiullah married fellow traveller Jill Hutchings and immigrated to her native Australia, where they became the parents of three children, Adam, Jana and Rhea. The Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 resulted in Rafiullah becoming deeply involved in the jihad against the communist government. In his book “To Die for Kabul,” Italian journalist Lucio Lami expressed his hope for “the arrival of a courageous reporter who would tell about the massacres carried out by the Soviets.” Next to that sentence, Raffaele had noted in pencil: "Rafiullah". Armed with his camera, Rafiullah filmed Afghan children who had been disfigured by the treacherous “butterfly” mines and risked his life to get footage of the deadly Hind-24 helicopters that were devastating the resistance. Rafiullah died in 1983 while filming a captured Soviet tank. During the funeral oration renowned guerrilla leader Jalaluddin Haqqani said, "Believe me, thousands of people have died but I have never felt the pain I feel now." The Long Rider turned mujahadeen was buried in Kabul. In 2006 a book entitled Rafiullah explained how “he could not just be a witness. He had to give part of himself in exchange for the stories he collected.” Determined to document her husband’s fearless participation in the war of liberation, Jill Favero created a documentary entitled “Frontline Afghanistan.”
Jean Paul Ferrier was a Frenchman who travelled through Afghanistan in the early 19th century. Ferrier rode from Tehran, Iran to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 1845, during which time the young Long Rider adapted local clothes and customs. In the course of  this hazardous journey, Ferrier was captured, imprisoned and tortured by corrupt local rulers.
Celia.JPG (101057 bytes) Celia Fiennes - rode from Land's End, Cornwall, England, to Aitchison Bank, Scotland in 1697.
Louise.jpg (19081 bytes) Louise Firouz - travelled widely in her adopted homeland of Iran, and was largely responsible for saving the Caspian breed of horses
Eugène Napoléon Flandin (1809 – 1889) was an archaeologist who explored Persia in 1839 along with his fellow French Long Rider Pascal Coste. The two men visited Tehran, Ispahan and Shiraz. Their journey home forced them to ride through the mountains of Kurdistan which required great courage. Upon his return to Paris, the government awarded him the Légion d’honneur
Henry N. Flynt - took his daughter Juliet and son Henry Jr. on a horseback journey from Connecticut to Canada in 1935.  
Fox.JPG (55579 bytes) It was 1937 and few places on Earth were more remote than Afghanistan. Into this hermit kingdom went Ernest Fox. Technically searching for oil and gemstones for the Afghan king, the American engineer discovered a countryside unchanged since the days of Marco Polo. For a year Fox rode a series of local horses through the mountains, valleys, and deserts of this forbidden realm, visiting such fabled places as the medieval city of Herat, the towering Hindu Kush mountains, and the legendary Khyber Pass. The equestrian engineer thus spent an exciting time on his sojourn, exploring a country which had been a highway for history since the days of Alexander the Great. Fox's book, Travels in Afghanistan, was compiled from the field notes, maps and sketches Fox brought back from his 2,000 mile horse back adventure.





Captain Charles Colville Frankland was an English naval officer, turned Long Rider, who set off in 1827 to explore the Ottoman Empire and Egypt.

During the course of his two-year journey Frankland made an extended equestrian exploration of Syria, at which time he adopted Turkish riding clothes and met Lady Hester Stanhope, the legendary English aristocrat who had turned her back on life in London, preferring instead to raise pure bred Arab horses in the mountains close to Damascus.

These many colourful events combined to impress the young Long Rider with the beauty of the life he had stumbled into.

In his 1829 book, “Travels to and from Constantinople,” Frankland wrote, “The charm of the vagrant kind of life which I led for weeks in Syria is inconceivable; its constant variety, its perfect independence, the excitement of difficulty, the apprehension of danger, were so many powerful but agreeable stimulants. My wants were few and easily supplied; my bed was the ground, my covering a cloak and my canopy the heavens; in such a climate I could desire no better. I halted when and where I chose and set out again as my fancy dictated. I could live upon a morsel of Arab bread, content myself with a draught of water and sit upon the back of my horse from an hour before sunrise until nightfall without feeling fatigued. Thus I gained prefect liberty and independence.”

Lewis Freeman led a major equestrian expedition across the Canadian Rockies in 1925, in order to study and photograph the Great Columbian Ice Field. In addition to being a scientific success, the expedition set the precedent for Long Riders to incorporate state-of-the-art technology into their exploration efforts. While 21st century equestrian explorers are quick to bring along their lap top computers and satellite telephones, Freeman was the first Long Rider to use radio communication during his journey. The large radio (pictured here with Freeman and his dog) was carefully packed in a wooden crate and used to communicate with the outside world.

The most noted Japanese Long Rider was Baron Yasumasa Fukushima (1852-1919). This descendant of a noble Samurai family was sent to Berlin, Germany on military duty in 1892. A fellow soldier, General Rafael de Nogales, described the equestrian explorer thus, "Fukushima’s courage, drive and exuberant cheerfulness were amazing.  For a man like this nothing was impossible." When the time came to return home, the Japanese horseman elected to ride his horse Gaisen, (Triumphant Return) 14,000 kilometres (9,000 miles) from Berlin to Tokyo, Japan. Fukushima wrote a moving story about the fate of Gaisen. The extraordinary journey quickly became a legend in Japan. The Emperor hailed Fukushima as a hero and adopted his three horses in the name of the Japanese nation. The ragged clothes of the Long Rider and his whip were placed in a temple where they were venerated. One important part of Fukushima’s story is how Long Riders, past and present, influenced each other. In the late 19th century Fukushima told the European press that he was inspired to take to the saddle because of the previous equestrian journeys made by Colonel Frederick Burnaby. At the dawning of the 21st century a young equestrian traveller named Kohei Yamakawa was inspired in turn by Baron Fukushima to make the first modern equestrian journey across Japan.

Charles Wellington Furlong (1874-1967) led a life alternately filled with academic excellence and daredevil courage.  He was a superb painter as well as being a foreign correspondent, ethnological researcher, rodeo cowboy and military attaché.  For more information, please go to this page on our website which shows he was in correspondence with the most famous Long Rider of the twentieth century, Aimé Tschiffely!

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