The Long Riders' Guild and Native Breeds
Here at The Guild we are strong believers in the strength and resilience of native breeds in all parts of the world. In North America, that means the fabled mustang. In South America, it's the legendary Criollo. France has the Camargue horse. And there are hundreds more examples of native breeds around the world who are tough, intelligent and resourceful - and affordable!
Unlike ex-show horses, which have been bred for the show ring and do not usually make suitable travelling horses, native breeds have had to fend for themselves until they were caught. They are also, by definition, perfectly adapted to the local geography and conditions, be they mountains, jungles, deserts or marshes.
The Long Riders Guild Academic Foundation also has a section on "Equine Breeds and Equestrian Tribalism".
Many Long Riders have used native breeds. To name but a few:
The greatest Long Rider of all time, Aimé Tschiffely, made his 10,000 mile journey from Buenos Aires to New York to prove how tough the Criollos are!
Dmitri Peshkov used a sturdy Yakut pony for his astonishing solo ride of 5,500 miles from Albanzinski in Siberia to St. Petersburg in the winter of 1889.
Brigitte Blanche and Gilles Delaborde used Mustangs on their 4,000 mile journey along the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails in 1987.
Hugo Gasseolis rode Criollos on his 11,000 mile journey from Argentina to New York.
Basha O'Reilly used Count Pompeii, a Cossack Working Horse, for her 2,500 mile journey from Russia to England. Pompeii was born wild on the Steppes and ran free in the herd until he was caught at the age of three.
Robert Rigal travelled from the Mediterranean to Norway's North Cape using two strong Camargue horses.
Robin and Louella Hanbury-Tenison bought two Camargue horses and rode them from the Camargue to their home in Cornwall.
Danny Candella used a Mustang on his 1600 mile trip from Louisiana to Ontario in 1999.
And Lisa Wood rode 3,000 miles from California to Virginia on a Mustang named Shawnee in 2001.
In the United States the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) has an Adoption Program for wild horses. These young mustangs (usually less than five years old) are put up for adoption to good homes. The horses remain the property of the BLM for a year, after which the adopters are eligible to buy the horse. North Americans who have the time and the expertise to train the horses can thus obtain a strong, intelligent travelling horse for a reasonable sum.
After having ridden Criollo horses to Patagonia to Mexico, German Long Rider Günter Wamser is now riding BLM Mustangs across the United States and Canada and on to the Arctic Circle in Alaska. For more information about Günter's amazing journey, please click here.
For those who want a good, tough road horse which is ready to go - people from other countries wishing to make a Long Ride in North America, for example - there are literally thousands of mustang associations. We typed "mustang association" into one of the search engines and found 132,000 websites from Canada to Florida, and in every State between, devoted to the Mustang! Make sure, though, that you specify 'horse' or you may end up with websites for the Ford Mustang car!
So to any would-be Long Rider we say - wherever in the world you want to ride, find a native horse!