The Truth about Mustangs versus Arabian Horses
In a misguided attempt to divert the public's attention away from the lack of any credible historical evidence to support Frank Hopkins, Hollywood continues to falsely accuse The Long Riders' Guild of being an elitist organization, one which harbours a secret "agenda" against the fabled American Mustang.
The Guild would like to make it perfectly clear that it has never favoured one breed of horse over another.
Of the eighteen Founding Members of The Guild, only one made a qualifying ride on an Arab. A glance at these remarkable men and women, who rode across various portions of the planet, will demonstrate that every type of horse was used, from a Shire mare to Camargue geldings.
Moreover, the first two horses to cross the United States in the 21st century were a Mustang (3,000 miles from El Centro, California to Leesburg, Virginia) and a Pinto (3,000 miles from Savannah, Georgia to the Oregon coast). These two American Long Riders epitomize The Guild's belief that it is about the human-equine relationship, not an attempt to validate any one breed of horse.
Throughout the course of our year-long investigation into Frank Hopkins, The Guild has repeatedly stated that it's about Hopkins - not horses! Our research has been about weighing the man on his merit, not his myth.
We believe in the human-horse connection, regardless of the human's nationality or the horse's breed. In our advice for people who would like to make a Long Ride, we say, "Do not set your heart on a particular breed! The ideal Road Horse is one who enjoys travelling, can eat and drink anything, has good, strong feet and is happy being in a new place every day. This is a state of mind, not a breed."
Please click here to read the full text of that advice.
We believe in native horses so strongly that we have devoted a page that promotes all native breeds. This of course includes the Mustang.
Yet, in a recent article, Hidalgo director Joe Johnston and screenwriter John Fusco claim that Guild Founder CuChullaine O'Reilly has a hidden agenda designed to promote Arab horses.
The director, writer, and star of Hidalgo all agree that O’Reilly’s claims are preposterous, and colored by his ties to the Arabian breed of horse that so famously lost to the mustang over 100 years ago.
“Frank, in one of his stories that he told after coming back [from the race], said that Hidalgo was allowed to breed with the purebred Arab mare, because he had won this race,” Johnston elaborates. “To someone who holds the purity of Arabian equestrian bloodline almost as a religion, that’s like blasphemy.”
Continuing to discuss O’Reilly, Johnston says, “what this person is saying is that, there’s no way an animal of mixed blood could’ve [won the race]. What if you talked about people that way? It’s completely bigoted.”
These claims are demonstrably untrue. Long Rider CuChullaine O'Reilly has never had any ties to the Arabian breed and has never owned an Arabian horse.
And NO horse - Mustang or Arab - won the 'Ocean of Fire' race because it never happened!
Screenwriter John Fusco has also gone on the record to say:
The horses [Arabians] are part of the Koran. The Prophet's five mares are at the heart of this.
Mr. Fusco seems to be implying that The Long Riders' Guild research into Hopkins' life and lies had a religious motivation. Perhaps he is alluding to the fact that O'Reilly converted to Islam some twenty years ago.
O'Reilly's religion has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not Frank Hopkins told the truth. Strangely, Mr. Fusco has never suggested that Professor David Dary, Dr. Juti Winchester, Dr. Vine Deloria Jr., or any of the nearly 80 academics from five countries who assisted The Guild, did so out of religious motivation, or allegiance to any one breed of horse.
Having said that, there are is one factor upon which both screenwriter John Fusco and all of us here at The Long Riders' Guild can agree.
Frank Hopkins did one good deed.
In his later years, he strongly promoted the Mustang horse, which at that time was in danger of becoming extinct. He argued passionately that the Mustang was a valuable horse, an immensely strong and tough animal which deserved to be saved.
Although we at The Guild do not promote any particular breed, we do feel that each and every native breed is of vital importance. It would have been tragic if the Mustang had died out.
If the movie Hidalgo introduces the historically-important Mustang to a wider audience, then something worthwhile will have finally come out of Frank Hopkins' wild imagination. And that's something everyone can agree on.
Back to Hopkins main page Top