The Long Riders' Guild


Renate Larssen - Syria to Sweden!


Renate Larssen and her mare, Serena, are travelling from Syria to Sweden  and have reached Transylvania.

We received this email today, 28th July 2007:

I am currently in the region of Transylvania in Romania. Unfortunately, due to a number of personal and unexpected reasons, I had to transport my horse by
car for many miles and have since Syria not done much actual riding but for days here and there. We are still continuing
north towards Warsaw, however, and will probably ride the rest of the way.

My mare Serena and I are both doing well. She is going strong and has not colicked once since we left Damascus. For a
20-year-old that is not a bad feat. I  am sending along some photos from the journey for the website of the Guild. I do not
have one myself. 

The Randonné saddle from Malibaud is excellent, I can only recommend it! My mare has a very strange back and so far no
saddle has ever fit her, but with this one we had no problems what so ever. It is also very comfortable for the rider.
However, it slips back very easily. Whether my horse's conformation is at fault or the design of the saddle I do not
know, but it may be a good idea to wear a breast strap in hilly terrain.

I am already toying with the idea of riding to the very north of Sweden next summer to see the northern lights, but of course it's much too soon to say what
will happen. Right  now me and my mare are focusing on the road ahead.

Best regards from the Empire of the Vampire,

Renate (and Serena of course)

Click on any of the images below to enlarge.

Highway to Hassia

Here is an article about Renate in Albaath newspaper in Syria.

Going through the border into Turkey

Riding bareback through a Transylvanian village


We are waiting for details, but Renate and Serena have finished their 3,500 kilometre journey from Damascus to Stockholm.

    Renate and Serena in the desert.

Here is a link to Renate's blog (in Swedish).

April 2008:  Renate has sent an update to The Guild, with some very moving comments:

After a two-month-journey which took us through Syria, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and into the south of Poland we arranged for a horse transporter to come and pick us up and take us across the Baltic Sea to Sweden. We arrived on August 19th, just in time for me to resume my veterinary studies at the Swedish Agricultural University.
The journey was one of great physical, emotional and spiritual exertion. And though our bodies and souls will bear the marks for the rest of my life I regret not a single day or a single step we took. Serena showed me that true loyalty and love really will conquer everything, from treacherous marshes in Romania to dangerous truck drivers in Slovakia and attempted armed robberies in the mountains of Syria. Not once did she falter, stumble, or show exhaustion.
She carried me through the bog of multiple-byway-crossings in early morning traffic, galloped away from motorcycles through rocky desert, climbed onto tiny carts without hesitation when we managed to hitch a ride with a passing farmer, watched over me as I slept between her legs in cramped sheds and stood close by my side in the middle of a Carpathian thunderstorm.
All credit for the completion of the journey should be hers.

Many congratulations to the two of you, Renate and Serena.

Below are some more photographs of Renate and Serena.  Click on any image to enlarge.

In Istanbul

In Syria

Still in Syria

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