The Long Riders' Guild
Breakthrough in Long Rider Horse Shoes
Long Riders know that just because
they have managed to get their horse shod their worries are far from over.
Harsh surfaces, hot roads, jagged gravel and ruthless rocks are all waiting
to destroy your horse’s hooves. That’s what Ivan Denton discovered when he
rode east to west across the United States in 1989. He wrote, “The steel
shoes wore out so fast that his hooves couldn’t grow out fast enough for new
Luckily Long Riders discovered a way
to save their horse’s hooves. They had a farrier place borium on the bottom
of the horseshoes. Borium is a generic name for tungsten carbide crystals,
which when embedded in a carrier material, provides a protective hard
wearing shield to steel horseshoes.
Sergeant Robert Seney, the former
United States cavalry soldier turned Long Rider, was the first to record how
the use of borium dramatically increased the length which horseshoes would
last if they were equipped with borium. Starting in the late 1970s Seney
made six journeys in the United States during which he rode a total of
38,500 kilometres (24,000 miles). In a special article written in 1980,
Seney recalled how he used borium equipped shoes for his horse, Trooper.
“Strange as it seems it is possible to
cross the United States on one set of horse shoes,” Seney wrote.
In 1982 French Foreign Legionnaire
turned Long Rider Jean Claude Cazade rode his Arabian stallion from France
to Arabia and back. Because of the borium equipped shoes he used, Jean
Claude’s horse travelled tremendous distances without any noticeable wear to
North American Long Rider Tracy Paine
also championed borium horseshoes during her 10,000 mile ride across the
United States in the late 1990s. In a special report written for the Guild,
Tracy said, “The most preferable shoe I have found for long distance
horseback travel is a lightweight, flat iron shoe with no heel or toe calks.
A shoe like this will wear paper thin and crack at the toe in only two weeks
of pavement travel. Yet this same shoe, properly coated with borium, will
last one year of pavement travel.”
Though Long Riders knew borium could
provide a dramatic improvement the problem was finding a farrier who knew
how to create these super-tough horseshoes.
The first clue that such a source came
about in 2009 when
Rick Blackburn set out with two horses to ride 3,500 kilometres (2,200
miles) from Canada to Texas. He immediately ran into problems.
“I was only able to keep horseshoes for 350 miles or two weeks before
replacing them. This was a problem because the hooves were getting nailed
too often, which was weakening the walls.”
Luckily Rick had heard of Roger Robinson, who runs
The Blacksmith Shop in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Roger is a master
farrier whose expertise is creating horseshoes specially treated with
hard-wearing “drill tek” borium.
After receiving two sets of these special shoes from Roger, Rick continued
his journey. The Long Rider had the shoes re-set twice during the course of
“In addition to the extra traction the borium shoes provided,” Rick wrote,
“the shoes showed no sign of wear.”
And even greater endorsement for this master farrier’s work was recently
provided by another North American Long Rider, Bernice Ende.
Bernice is on her eighth consecutive equestrian journey. During the last ten
years she has ridden nearly 25,000 miles in the USA and Canada. She is
currently attempting to become the first person to ride “ocean to ocean” in
both directions on a single journey.
After so many thousands of miles, Bernice has learned a great deal about
horse shoes and farriers.
Like Seney, Paine and Blackburn before her, Bernice has now equipped her
horses with special borium equipped horseshoes.
She too contacted Roger Robinson in Virginia, who created sets of horse
shoes for Bernice’s two Fjord horses. It didn’t take long before Bernice
announced how well these new style horse shoes performed.
“I have used hard-surfacing on the horseshoes before and for pavement riding
it’s a must. But Roger Robinson, at the Blacksmith Shop is an authority on
hard-surfacing and when I heard about him I had to call and ask about his
work. He sent me two sets of DuraSafe borium horseshoes. The shoes are
giving me twice as much mileage from a set of shoes; that is important.
Plus, there is no slippage on ice or wet pavement; none. I cannot tell you
how much this helps. I am thrilled with the horseshoes,” Bernice informed
The Long Riders’ Guild Equipment page contains this stern warning.
Long Riders' Guild does not accept advertising revenue, or any type of
outside funding, from anyone - ever. In other words, you can't buy your way
on to this website. We're not for sale! The opinions expressed here by the
various Long Riders are unvarnished, sometimes harsh, often complimentary,
but always spoken from the heart. They have to be. Unlike ring riders, our
lives and those of our horses depend on our gear. If a piece of equipment
fails in the middle of the Amazon jungle, while riding over the Himalayas,
or fording a Russian river, we can't load up our pony and go home. You don't
get ribbons or trophies when you're a Long Rider. If you do it right, you
and your horse make it through in one piece.”
Based upon the evidence submitted by
Long Riders Rick
Blackburn and Bernice Ende,
it appears that
Roger Robinson, at the Blacksmith Shop,
is able to provide Long Riders with long-lasting horse shoes that guarantee
durability and traction.
Death of Heroic Long Rider Horse
The Guild is sad to report that Chami, the Barb horse ridden by Christy
Henchie during her historic journey across the African continent, died from
a snake bite on October 19th.
Christy set off with her fiancé, Billy Brenchley, in 2005. Their goal was to
complete the first ride from Cap Blanc in Tunisia – the most northern point
in Africa – to its southernmost tip, Cape Agulhas in South Africa. Billy
rode another Barb named Nali.
They crossed 10 countries during their epic Long Ride. Tragedy struck in
January, 2013 when a speeding out-of-control bus hit the Long Riders and
their horses. Christy was killed instantly and Billy suffered a broken leg.
Nali also suffered injuries. Only Chami was unharmed.
Despite Christy’s death, Billy was determined to continue the journey in her
memory. However in June, 2014, having been diagnosed with
acute myeloid leukaemia,
Billy made a final pilgrimage to see Chami and Nali. He died shortly
With Chami now also deceased,
Nali is the sole survivor of The African Hoofprints expedition
which set off from Tunisia. He is protected and permanently homed by
Don and Paula McBride, a very kind couple who live
in Tanzania. They stepped in immediately after the bus accident and arranged
the care and veterinary treatment for Nali. Since then they have overseen
the welfare of both horses.
Nali is fine but is lost without Chami so Don and Paula are taking steps to
purchase another horse to keep him company and will continue to cherish this
The photo shows Christy Henchie and Chami in Uganda.
Bernice Ende has
ridden 35,500 kilometres (22,000 miles) during seven consecutive journeys in
the United States and Canada. Her current trip will cover 8,000 miles and
take more than two years to complete. What makes this ride unique is that
Bernice is attempting to become the first person to ride "ocean to ocean" in
both directions, and reach both oceans, on the same trip. On October 8th
Bernice’s horse, Essie Pearl carried the Long Rider and the Guild flag to
the Atlantic, thereby completing the first part of this historic journey!
For more details visit her website
of the Guild: Former US Marine, Dick La Tondre is the author of The Golden
Kite, the English-language biography of the great Historical Long Rider
Baron Yasumasa Fukushima who rode from Berlin, Germany to Tokyo, Japan in
1892. Additionally, in 2014 Dick was a financial supporter of Kohei
Yamakawa’s attempt to make the first modern equestrian journey across Japan.
Kohei Yamakawa has ridden 700
kilometres (400 miles) on his 3,000 kilometres (1800 miles) journey across
Japan. He has crossed the northern island of Hokkaido and is seen about to
board the ferry which took him and his horses, Road Willow and Road Snow, on
to the mainland of Japan. Because no one has seen an equestrian traveller in
living memory, crowds of excited people are greeting the young Long Rider as
he makes his way across Japan. For details and photos visit
watch this video.
Mounted on his trusty horse, Marengo, German Long Rider Richard Waltrapp has
just completed the first known modern ride in the Czech Republic. Richard
wrote to say, “We
started in Aufkirchen, then Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, until
the Biskiden, where I climbed some mountains. I returned following the
Slovakian / Polish border, across the Erzgebirge back home. The distance was
2800 kilometres (1700 miles). I rode two and a half months, mostly in the
mountains. The ride was without any problems. In 2015 I plan a ride to the
Nirwan Ahmad Arsuka is preparing to
undertake the first modern journey across Indonesia. The planning and
logistics for this journey are extremely difficult. Nirwan is hoping to use
the local breed of horses, known as Sandalwood Ponies, which are known to be
hardy. Nirwan has just completed an important training ride, during which
time he used the first adjustable pack saddle seen in Indonesia. This
critically important piece of equipment was provided by Custom Pack Rigging
|In 2005 French
Long Rider Louis Meunier set off to make a dangerous ride across war-torn
Afghanistan. The journey began in the northern town of Maimana, then cut
across the seldom travelled centre of the country to the distant city of
Herat. The journey ended when Louis almost died of a rare disease that
attacked his liver. The story of his incredible journey can be viewed
here. Since then Louis has gone on to
become an award winning documentary film maker and has recently completed a
brilliant book about his further adventures in Afghanistan. An interview
about his travels and artistic work can be viewed
here. Louis was kind enough to provide
this Testimonial regarding the support he received from the Long Riders'
Long live Basha and CuChullaine O’Reilly! Without their tremendous efforts,
huge chunks of equestrian knowledge would sink into oblivion. They were the
only ones to encourage me during my ride through Afghanistan. I am very
grateful for their help and I am proud to be a Member of the Long Riders’
editions of Randonner à Cheval
with articles by Basha O'Reilly.
That rare thing - the Road Horse
Romans had different categories of horses; venedi for hunting, cantherii for
pleasure riding and itinerarii for travel.
de voyage - créature rare
Les Romains possédaient différentes catégories de chevaux :
venedii pour la chasse, cantherii pour le plaisir et
itinerarii pour le voyage. Lisez la
completed her journey across the American south-west with her mule, Sir
Katie Cooper a
achevé son trajet à travers le sudouest américain avec sa mule, Sir Walter.
A Frenchman in Afghanistan
French Long Rider, Louis
Meunier, after graduating from
business school, decided to go on
an adventure rather than follow
a career mapped out
Français en Afghanistan
Le long-rider français Louis Meunier,
tout juste diplômé d’une école de commerce, décide de partir à l’aventure
plutôt que de suivre une carrière tracée d’avance.
Lisez la suite...
Aimé Tschiffely was born in
Switzerland in 1895 and worked in England as a teacher, professional
footballer and boxer.
Tschiffely est né en Suisse en 1895 et a travaillé en Angleterre comme
professeur, footballeur professionnel et boxeur.
Lisez la suite...
Insects - A Deadly Peril
Before setting off on an
equestrian journey, most travellers realise they will be required to endure
many hardships and survive danger. Common worries include deadly traffic and
murderous criminals. Few people think of the dangers of insects,
The list of
horse travellers who became victims of deadly insects includes Alexander the
Great and Charles Darwin. Read more...
Avant de partir pour
une expédition équestre, la plupart des voyageurs comprennent qu’ils seront
obligés de faire face à de nombreuses épreuves et de survivre à certains
les voyageurs équestres célèbres qui en ont été victimes de l'insecte, on peut citer
Alexandre le Grand ou Charles Darwin.
Lisez la suite...
Filipe, from Canada
Leite's father read him Tschiffely's Ride when he was a child. When
the young man had completed his studies in Toronto he decided to return home
"When the journey is over, the person who left is not the same one who comes
Le père de Filipe Masetti Leite lui a lu Tschiffely's Ride
quand il était petit. Quand le jeune homme a termine ses études en Toronto,
il décidait revenir chez lui à cheval.
Robin Hanbury-Tenison: master explorer!
Robin Hanbury-Tenison, explorer and equestrian traveller par excellence,
was hailed by London’s Sunday Times as "the greatest explorer of the past
twenty years." Read more...
Hanbury-Tenison : le maître explorateur !
Robin Hanbury-Tenison, explorateur et voyageur équestre par
excellence, a été salué par le Sunday Times de Londres comme « le plus grand
explorateur des vingt dernières années ».
Lisez la suite...
Ian Robinson, New Zealand Long
Rider, has made three equestrian journeys, alone, in the isolated and
intransigent regions of Mongolia, Tibet and Afghanistan.
long-rider néozélandais, a
réalisé trois voyages équestres,
seul, dans des régions
isolées et intransigeantes :
Mongolie, Tibet et
Afghanistan. Lisez la
Reality versus Romance
You think you’re ready. So you take a deep breath, put your foot into the
stirrup, swing into the saddle and ride towards the unknown horizon that’s been
beckoning to you for so long.
Only things don’t work out as you planned. The dream you had longed to enjoy
becomes an unexpected type of equestrian nightmare.
Du Fantasme a la réalité
Tu penses que tu es prêt.
Tu respires profondément, mets ton pied a l'étrier et fais face a cet
horizon inconnu qui t'attire depuis si longtemps. Mais les choses ne
se déroulent pas comme tu l'avais envisagé. Le rêve que tu as si longtemps
caressé devient un cauchemar
To the four corners of England
The furthest one can travel in
Great Britain is about 1,000 miles between Land's End in Cornwall and
John O'Groats in Scotland. But William Reddaway went to all four corners of England with his horse, Strider.
Aux quatre coins
grande distance qu’on peut voyager en Grande Bretagne en ligne droit est
environ 1.000 miles (1.600 km) entre Land’s End en Cornouaille et John
O’Groats en Ecosse.
Lady Long Rider Honours Champion of Liberty
North American Long Rider Bernice Ende is currently on her eighth equestrian
trip, an 8,000 mile ride that will take her “ocean to ocean” in both
directions. Bernice is using the journey as an opportunity to discuss the
struggle women underwent to obtain their political rights. Having reached
New York, Bernice made a special pilgrimage to the grave of Susan B.
Anthony, one of the early champions of women’s rights.
“'I've got to go see this place,' " Bernice said. "I've got to see this bed
where the seeds were planted, this state, these people, these women that
changed the course of our country and our lives and gave me the ability to
do, see and be — me, a single woman alone riding across the country — I'm
here to say thank you to these women who gave their lives to us.”
First attempt to ride across Japan by modern Long Rider begins!
Kohei Yamakawa has set off on what is believed to be the first attempt to
ride across the entire nation of Japan. The 3,000 kilometres (1800 miles)
journey from Wakkanai in the northern end of the country to Okinawa Island
in the far south is expected to take at least six months. Kohei is seen with
his mentor, Hideyo Tsutsumi, the first Japanese Member of the Long Riders’
Guild. Because of the historical importance of the journey, Kohei has been
granted the honour of carrying the LRG flag. Click here
for additional details about this historic equestrian expedition.
Long Riders’ Guild welcomes its first Member from Japan!
1971 Hideyo Tsutsumi made a round trip journey in Japan. Starting in
Sapporo, he rode to Asahikawa, Abashiri, Shiretoko, Nemuro, Obihiro, Hiroo,
and Tomakomai. Based upon that journey the Guild has welcomed Haideyo as an
long horseman, in 2013 Hideyo gave a lecture about his journey to a
university riding club. Among the audience was a 23-year-old veterinarian
student named Kohei Yamakawa. The young horseman became so inspired by
Hideyo’s journey that he began plans to make the first known equestrian
journey to travel the length of Japan. Kohei departed on
August 30th. Hideyo will act as one of Kohei’s Long Rider mentors. New
Zealand Long Rider Ian Robinson, who made solo rides in Tibet, Mongolia and
Afghanistan, and now resides in Japan, is also acting as a mentor for this
historic ride. Both Hideyo and Kohei chose to ride
a hardy native breed from the north of Japan.
Guild Flag to accompany first attempt to ride “ocean to ocean” in both
directions on the same trip.
often referred to as the “lady Long Rider,” began her equestrian travels
back in 2005. Since then she has ridden 22,000 miles during seven
consecutive journeys in the United States and Canada. Her current trip will
cover 8,000 miles and take more than two years to complete.
makes this ride unique is that Bernice is attempting to become the first
person to ride "ocean to ocean" in both directions, and reach both oceans,
on the same trip!
first person known to have deliberately set off to ride "ocean to ocean" was
a former cavalryman named
He set off in 1875 to ride his horse, Paul Revere, from the Atlantic to the
Pacific. Along the way he was captured by Arapahoe Indians, and nearly
murdered, but escaped and made it to San Francisco. And the first woman to
ride "ocean to ocean" was Two Gun Aspinwall, who set off from San Francisco
in 1911 and made it to New York on her horse, Lady Ellen. Since then other
Long Riders have ridden "ocean to ocean" in one direction or the other. Only
one Long Rider has ever made the journey in both directions. In 2002
Howard Wooldridge rode from the Atlantic to the
Pacific. A couple of years later he rode the same horse from the Pacific to
the best of our knowledge neither man nor woman has ever reached both oceans
during one journey. For this reason the Guild is granting Bernice the honour
of carrying the LRG flag on this exceptional equestrian expedition.
her journey Bernice is lecturing about how women have struggled for their
political rights. She is currently headed to the
National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York, where the first
Women’s Rights Convention was held in July 1848.
Special Acknowledgment for new Friend of the Guild
Brazier has been named as a Friend of the Guild in
recognition of the tremendous effort she has displayed for the past four
years, during which time she provided the tactical support which has helped
Long Rider Filipe Leite complete his historic 10,000 mile journey from
Canada to Brazil.
Lore Master of the Pacific Crest Trail passes away.
Rider Ed Anderson was more than seventy years old when he rode his horse,
Primo, the length of the Pacific Crest Trail. Even though the PCT is a
notoriously difficult and dangerous trail, Ed made the ride solo and
unsupported. He immediately began sharing the potentially life-saving
information he had gathered about the PCT, noting all of the challenges
which Long Riders would encounter along the Mexico to Canada journey. He
first published a valuable “Story from the Road” on the Guild website, which
has become an all-time favourite. Ed also published an educational article
for riding the Pacific Crest Trail.” In addition he was always eager to
assist would-be Long Riders from around the world by answering emails and
contributing valuable information. Wise, generous and friendly, Ed died
unexpectedly of a heart attack while preparing to set off with Primo into
the wilderness that he loved.
Long Rider Legend
magazine in Argentina has included Swiss Long Rider Aimé Tschiffely in a
series of articles about the greatest travellers of all time. In the August
issue of the monthly travel magazine, Lugares, Tschiffely appeared alongside
James Cook, Amelia Earhart, Alexander von Humboldt, David Livingstone, Sir
Richard Burton, Sir Ernest Shackleton, Bruce Chatwin, Roald Amundsen and
Historical Long Rider Charles Darwin. A special painting by Argentine artist
Diego Tripodi illustrated the article.
Annual Tschiffely Trail Ride
third annual Tschiffely Trail Ride was a success, with thirty riders from
Germany, Switzerland and France in attendance. The highlight of the event
was the lecture given by Günter Wamser, one of the Founding Members of the
Long Riders’ Guild. This renowned equestrian explorer, who recently
completed his historic equestrian journey from Patagonia to Alaska,
presented a dramatic slide show about his journey.
Guild would like to welcome new Associate Members
Ingrid Verdaasdonk (left) and Eva Hietkamp, a mother and daughter team of
Long Riders, started in Valencia and then rode across Spain and onto Saint
Jean Pie de Port, France.
Ingrid Verdaasdonk has kindly sent the LRG a Testimonial.
daughter Eva (15 at the time) wanted to plan a trip with a horse, she contacted
the Long Riders Guild for information. She had extensive mail contact with
CuChullaine O’Reilly. Because of that she started her horse journey in Europe,
instead of South America.
decided to join her for her first journey, after eight years of travelling the
world, a daughter with enough horse experience, and the Internet /Youtube with
all the information you want/need, I didn't feel the need to contact the Guild.
We really enjoyed our journey through central Spain, from Valencia to Santiago.
In the last weeks I had the plan of going to The Netherlands to show Eva her
country of birth on horseback. We would find transport, I thought.
We were advised by a man to come to France. There it would be easier and
cheaper. Once there we got stuck in a country with this man for whom we had the
feeling he wanted to rip us off or even steal our horses. That brought tears
into this strong woman's eyes. Then Eva thought we should contact CuChullaine
O’Reilly at the Long Riders’ Guild. I did. And what he did felt so good. To know
that there is someone in the world who really cares and understands. It was like
a stone fell from my heart.
our confidence thanks to his support and advice. It's such a great feeling that
when you find yourself in a very difficult situation, and you see no light at
the end of the tunnel, that there are people in the world who will support and
help you because they know how it is. They have been there.
Legendary Long Rider is inspiration for Thrilling New Book
annals of the Historical Long Riders include men and women of astounding
bravery, remarkable resourcefulness and enduring optimism. Then there is
whose astonishing ride “through the Heart of Asia” marks him as the most
influential French Long Rider of the 19th century. American author Sophie
Schiller has just completed a novel about the journey made by Bonvalot, and
his companion, Prince Henri d'Orléans, from Paris to Tonkin via Tibet. The
novel is called "Race to Tibet", and it is a thrilling tale of the
courageous explorers who are in a race to the death to reach the Forbidden
City of Lhasa. The book has been described as being perfect for fans of
Rudyard Kipling, George MacDonald Fraser and H. Rider Haggard. The book is
not for sale yet, but you can read more about it on
influential "Outside" magazine
interviews Filipe Leite about his historic 10,000 mile ride from
Canada to Brazil. "It took six pairs of boots, 240 horseshoes, and
24 months for Filipe Leite to ride on horseback from Canada to Brazil. The
cowboy traveled 10,000 miles through 10 countries to reach his home in South
America, an epic journey that has earned him a spot in the historic Long
Rider's Guild, an international association of
equestrian explorers that requires its members to ride at least 1,000
has just departed on an extended journey through France, Spain, Italy,
Hungary, Germany and then back to France.
|The Guild would
like to welcome new Associate Member Murray Campbell, who rode from
Lago Blanco, Chubut Province, Argentina to El Calafate, Santa Cruz Province,
Irish Long Rider Caitriona O’Leary made a journey through Rajasthan,
India in 2007. In 2012 she suffered fatal injuries during a riding accident
in England. A passionate horse woman, an avid Long Rider and a keen
protector of animal rights, Caitriona was loved by many. The Guild has been
informed by the O’Leary family that a special tribute has been constructed
in India in memory of the lost Long Rider.
TOLFA (Tree of Life
for Animals) works to protect animals in need in Rajasthan. The charity has
created a special equine shelter designed to provide shade for equines from
the fierce desert heat. This act of kindness bears the name “Caitriona
O’Leary,” in honour of the Long Rider who rode horses in that country and
worked to protect them during the rest of her life.
Legendary Long Rider Passes Away
Catherine Waridel was one of the Founding Member of the Long Riders’ Guild.
A native of Switzerland, at an early age Catherine read about the historic
journey made by William of Rubruck, a Franciscan monk who rode to Mongolia
in the 13th century. Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Catherine
decided to follow in William’s hoofprints to Mongolia. The solo journey
lasted several years, subjected her to severe hardships, and took her from
the Crimea to Karakorum in Mongolia. One of the highlights of Catherine’s
journey occurred in Mongolia, when the Swiss Long Rider met the legendary
wagon master David Grant, author of the “Wagon Travel Handbook,” who was
travelling around the world with his horse and wagon. After her journey was
completed, Catherine returned to Geneva and was very active in the Guild.
She attended the London Long Riders’ meeting held in 2004, at which time she
brought maps to show Australian Long Rider how she had crossed the deserts
of Kazakhstan. Later Catherine petitioned the Mongolian government to impose
restrictions on the outlaw endurance race known as the Mongol Derby. Shortly
before her death, Catherine completed writing the story of her ride to
Mongolia. The Guild will soon be featuring portions of her work on the LRG
Filipe Leite nears the end of his epic journey.
After more than two years of constant travel, despite having ridden some of
the most fearful portions of Latin America, and having managed to cross
several of the most hostile international borders known to man, Filipe has
arrived in his native Brazil. He still has several thousand kilometres to
ride before the journey will conclude at his family home in Sao Paolo. But
Brazil has taken notice of this remarkable ride and a historic conclusion is
being planned to this epic ride.
the most widely-read international equestrian news service, has also
published a superb review of Khyber Knights:
Khyber Knights is a
page-turning account of an epic and at times harrowing adventure.
It would be a mistake to
assume that a tale from the frontiers of northwest Pakistan from 30-odd
years ago has lost its relevance today.
Far from it. CuChullaine
O’Reilly’s account of life on the frontier provides an arguably unique
insight into this remote portion of the world which has never been far
from the headlines since he penned the book.
Indeed, for centuries little
has changed in some parts of this remote tribal region.
And Khyber Knights by CuChullaine O'Reilly has received an excellent
Kraig Becker on his Adventure Blog
Looking for an
enthralling book filled with high adventure to keep you entertained this
summer? Then consider picking up the incredible
Khyber Knights by CuChullaine O'Reilly. It is a book filled with
daring feats, epic challenges, and tales of human frailties, both good and
bad. It is a story of travel on horseback through one of the most remote,
and rugged, regions of the world, during a time of war. It offers insights
into a culture that is mysterious and little known here in the west. And
best of all, it is a fictionalized account, of a true story that will
leave you breathless as you turn every page, until you reach the very end.
Superb review of "Southern Cross to Pole Star - Tschiffely's Ride" by
One of London's most respected publications,
The Spectator, has
just released an extensive review of the new English edition which
Basha O'Reilly recently authorized. "A horse ride from Buenos Aires to New York? No
If you can brave bandits, disease and revolution in search of
‘variety’, you might be a doublehard bastard."
Lithuanian Free Riders
Lithuania may not be a large country
in terms of geographic miles; but it continues to demonstrate a remarkable
sense of international equestrian leadership.
In 2013 the Guild reported on “Lithuania’s
This article explained how in 2010 a
group of Lithuanian Long Riders undertook a journey from the Baltic to the
Black Sea. This ride was made in memory of King Vytautas the Great,
Lithuania’s national hero who first made the ride 600 years ago.
The Lithuanians lost no time in making
a second journey. This time the group of Long Riders travelled along “The
Road of Love,” a journey from Lithuania to Krakow which was done in honour
of the great love story of Sigismund Augustus and Barbora Radvilaite.
Once again the Lithuanian Long Riders have made an equestrian journey.
Only this time, instead of riding their native Žemaitukai horses, they
used these remarkable animals to pull two beautifully restored 19th
century carriages almost a thousand kilometres across several European
The details of
this latest journey can be viewed in English, and several other languages,
on a website which
provides information and photos about this historic carriage journey.
These journeys have ignited interest in the Lithuanian public about
equestrian travel. It has also alerted the public about the necessity to
protect the endangered Žemaitukai horses and the need to preserve the
nation’s horse heritage.
Gintaras Kaltenis, one of the Long Riders who has been involved in each of
these journeys, has written to the Guild to announce the formation of the
“Lithuanian Free Riders.” Inspired by the Long Riders’ Guild, this new
national group is dedicated to promoting the harmony which exists between
horses and humans who participate in equestrian journeys.
The story of Louis Meunier’s incredible Afghan adventures, both in
the saddle and in the country, has now been released in a new book entitled
Cavaliers Afghans. “
2005 the French Long Rider Louis Meunier
off on a perilous ride across war-torn Afghanistan. His intention was to ride
from the northern city of Maimana, south through the heart of the country to the
ancient minaret of Jam, then west to Herat. Accompanying him was the Afghan Long
Rider Hadji Shamsuddin. Their adventures, and Louis’ near death, marked one of
the most remarkable equestrian journeys of the early 21st century.
conclusion of his ride, Louis stayed in Afghanistan, where he undertook many
special projects including helping organize the first Afghan ascent of that
nation’s highest peak and directing an
award-winning film about the Kyrgyz who reside in the remote
also became deeply involved with buz khazi, the fabled and often violent
national equestrian sport of Afghanistan. Riding his Afghan stallion, Tauruq,
Louis participated in many buz khazi tournaments in Kabul.
Long Rider Catherine Thompson has kindly sent the LRG a Testimonial.
can't imagine my long ride happening without the Long Riders' Guild. Very close
to the beginning of my ride preparations, which perhaps might better be called
the beginning of my dreamings, I stumbled upon the LRG website and instantly
buried myself within it spending hours reading and imagining; seeing other
people's perspectives of what a long ride can be from both practical and
was a wonderful time, this imagining, but really, it was when my ride came
closer into being, and I came into more direct contact with CuChullaine and
Basha O’Reilly, that I learned of what an amazing thing they have created and
what a true gift to the world of equestrian exploration they and the Guild are.
many of those around me were telling me with a sort of knee-jerk negativity that
what I dreamed of doing was not possible (and why would I want to do something
so silly in the first place?), I would receive a lovely gentle encouragement
from Basha or CuChullaine at various times that told me that not only was what I
envisioned possible, but that it could be life changing, deepening, opening.
they and the Guild represent a way of being in the world that brings together a
quiet elegance with a vibrancy to create a way of being in the world through
what appears on the surface to follow a path from another era. An honourable
path. A beautiful path. It is a path to a new world I think. From my heart, I
thank them both and those other Members in the Guild that have helped me along
of the great horseback adventures of the modern era has drawn to a sad close,
with the death of respected South African Long Rider Billy Brenchley.
death of Brenchley on May 10, at the age of 45, after a long battle with
leukaemia, closes the last chapter in a remarkable journey of exploration on
horseback. It was an adventure that claimed the life of his fiancée, Christine
(Christy) Henchie, 29, early last year in a horror accident involving a bus.”
|The Guild would
like to welcome its newest Member, Benjamin Reynal who made an
extensive journey through 15 provinces of Argentina. Using the same two
Criollo horses, he travelled through Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Entre Rios,
Corrientes, Chacho, Santiago del Estero, Jujuy, Salta, Tucuman, Catamarca,
La Rioja, San Juan, Mendoza, San Luis and Cordoba.
Here is a link to his news archive.
Long Rider Sea G Rhyder has
kindly sent the LRG a Testimonial.
rode "ocean to ocean" from
California to Maine, following in the hoofprints of Historical Long Rider
Messanie Wilkins. She
As to this matter of the Glorious Guild of Equestrian Explorers which Basha and
CuChullaine O'Reilly have manifested. If ever I wanted to be a member of a group
(and I never had before) here was such a group. Have you seen the photo of the
gathering in London? Like heroes from another age - these were my rock stars!
Not that I realistically thought that they would ever accept me as a Member. I
knew when I was out of my league - me with my $1 pinto gelding and my outlaw
pack pony - with no fancy degrees or patrons or sponsors or name-brand
equipment. I was flying by the seat of my pants, scared and more than a bit
defensive. I certainly wasn't keen on following rules and being judged by people
who had no idea what I was dealing with. In short, at 46 years of age, I was an
adolescent Long Rider - caught on the horns of bravado and insecurity.
Which of course the Guild understood perfectly as they/you gently pulled me in
to a fellowship the likes of which I thought had passed centuries ago, a
fellowship of encouragement as well as accountability, one that shares hard won
wisdom across continents and centuries.
The word "solidarity" springs readily to mind. From Messanie Wilkins, riding
Tarzan across the USA in 1954, before there even was a Long Riders' Guild - who
wrote a book about her journey, which kicked through the rest of my excuses when
I read it the summer before I finally packed my ponies and started my own ride;
to Katie Cooper, now a Long Rider in her own right, reaching out to me with
incredible grace and compassion when I was at the lowest point of my own ride
with an injured animal and her first attempt had just dead-ended for the same
reason, befriending me during my long lay-up, and gently nudging me to contact
the Guild, calming my fears; to Basha O'Reilly, patient with my prickly e-mails
as she vetted me for Membership in the Guild, inquiring into the welfare of my
ponies, my methods of funding, who I was and what I stood for, getting to know
me and making sure I understood what the LRG stands for; to Doug Preston and
Walter Nelson, the first Long Riders I met in person, inviting me to Walter's
birthday party in Abiquiu, New Mexico as I rode through and welcoming me into
the Guild as a peer; to CuChullaine O'Reilly, sending timely historical photos
and stories to remind me that no matter what was happening it wasn't the first
time and I wasn't alone; to Lucy Leaf, playing trail angel in Massachusetts when
the ponies and I were so very weary of the trail and then coming to the Messanie
Wilkins celebration and parade in Minot at Journey's end; to Jeremy James, the
best pen pal and source of wisdom and laughter a Long Rider could ever hope for,
reminding me to be gentle with myself when I stepped down from the saddle and
re-entered "normal" life.
And always, always the remembrance of what's truly important, that which the
Guild embodies and helps its Members to always hold sacrosanct. It's not the
name, the fame, the hardships endured, the mountains summitted, the miles or
seasons or borders crossed. It's the relationship with our equine partners that
I think about the idea of a "lineage," not the literal sort of blood lineage
that produces kings and cretins, but the spiritual lineage of, for example, a
lama or martial arts master. (Though these tend to produce a sense of hierarchy
- of which the LRG feels blessedly free.) The art and act of mentoring is one
of the most important human relationships - and behind the immensity of
valuable, fascinating, historical and practical information collected and made
accessible by the LRG stand the conscience and wisdom and invested intelligence
of true mentors, not only CuChullaine and Basha O'Reilly, but (largely because
of them) the entirety of the Guild, reminding us that we are not riding alone,
sharing the stories of other Long Riders past and present, each with our place
in this planet-spanning tribe, passing the gift on as we have received it, not
for money, not for glory - but because it's the right thing to do! I humbly find
myself now a member of this lineage, blessed by the mentorship inherent to the
form. I have become a better human being - in and out of the saddle
I recognize and deeply appreciate how critically instrumental the help of the
O'Reillys, and my fellow Long Riders, has been in this Sea Change. Their
inspired and erudite mentorship steadied me when I wavered and trimmed my sails
when I'd lost the wind. They called me to my highest, gently and persistently,
believing that's who I most want to be, tactfully ignoring my failings while
shining like the sun on what little virtue and grace I do possess, encouraging
me to grow in positive directions. I have been so blessed, spiritually and
morally, by their attention and guidance.
Thank you, Basha and CuChullaine, for two years of encouragement, advice,
camaraderie, understanding, patience and psychic first aid. Most of all, thank
you for envisioning and upholding the Long Riders' Guild.
South African Long Rider Billy Brenchley passes away
The Guild regrets to report that the
legendary South African Long Rider Billy Brenchley passed away on Saturday 10
May, after a long battle with leukaemia.
The Guild deals with hundreds of
equestrian travellers, from all parts of the world. That's not to say that their
trips are not important to them on a personal level.
But what Billy and Christy attempted
to do was Homeric in terms of its scope. The couple set off in 2005, determined
to complete the first ride from the most northern point of Africa, Cap Blanc in
Tunisia to the most southern point of Africa, Cape Agulhas in South Africa. Ten
countries and an untold number of hardships awaited them.
They were detained in the Sahara
desert for 75 days while the Libyan government debated whether to allow them to
enter. Egypt, with its sandstorms, tick bite fever and heat waves proved
After riding across Tunisia, Libya,
Egypt and northern Sudan, Billy and Christy were halted by the impassable swamp
known as the Sudd. If the equestrian explorers wanted to progress they would
have to load their two horses onto one of the few remaining cargo barges and
float south to the distant city of Juba. Their thousand mile nautical journey is
unique among modern equestrian travellers.
As they made their way through
Southern Sudan, they passed areas where major battles had been fought. The
landscape was littered with unexploded mines.
It was in Uganda that Christy and
Billy made an astonishing discovery. Horses had disappeared from the country
during the reign of Idi Amin. The unexpected sight of two Long Riders mounted on
mysterious animals caused pandemonium in the countryside. They were followed by
hundreds of curious people. Billy can be seen in the photo (above) speaking to a
group of school children who asked, “Is
that a kangaroo? Does it grow horns? Does it eat people?”
after their arrival in Uganda, Billy became very ill. He was diagnosed with
Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and immediately flown to South Africa for emergency
treatment. After a lengthy sixteen month treatment, he and Christy returned to
Uganda and resumed their journey, determined this time to reach South Africa.
The Long Riders had travelled into
Tanzania when tragedy struck. In the worst accident in the history of modern
equestrian travel, English Long Rider Christine Henchie, 29, was killed
instantly on Monday, January 28 2013 by an out-of-control bus in Tanzania. Her
fiancé, South African Long Rider Billy Brenchley, 43, escaped death by inches
but suffered a broken leg.
A crowd of enthusiastic locals who had turned out to cheer the Long Riders past
their village were also killed and injured by the reckless driver. Charles
Mahugija, 60, and Willy Masanja, 55, were slain and twenty-five bystanders,
including many small children, were brutally mown down by the speeding vehicle.
As soon as the Guild learned the news,
this special report.
That story was in turn printed by
Horse Talk, the international equestrian news service, which spread the news
round the world like wildfire.
Within hours, Long Riders began
sending in messages, registering their shock and loss.
This in turn led to the creation of a
special condolence document for Christy. When Long Riders from around the
world heard about Christie Henchie's death, they rushed to send their heartfelt
Christie’s memorial service was held
in South Africa, where the injured Billy had been flown in time to attend. But
soon afterwards his leukaemia struck again. In emails to the Guild he explained
that no matter how much time he had to spend in hospital, he was determined to
regain his strength and finish the ride in honour of Christy.
That desire was not to be.
In February he rallied his strength
enough to pay a final visit to see the couple’s horses. They have been cared for
by friends in Tanzania. After seeing his horses a final time, Billy returned to
Life is full of forgettable people,
who fill the world and our lives with trivialities and trouble. A handful of us
were blessed, for too short a time, to say we were enriched by knowing Billy and
Christy. They were heroes on so many levels.
Hollywood Starlet confirmed as Historical Long Rider
Few Long Riders ever attracted more
spotlights than did the would-be movie star who called herself Vonceil Viking.
The year was 1927 when the attractive blonde announced to the press that she was
going to ride her horse, “Broadway,” from New York to Los Angeles. Whereas other
equestrian travellers have told reporters that they were setting out on
horseback to find fame, fortune, love or just a job, Viking’s mission was to
ride to Hollywood, where she hoped to become a movie star. According to a photo
caption from the Los Angeles bureau of the Associated Press, Viking arrived in
Los Angeles on February 10, 1928, after having “covered 4,000 miles in sixteen
states.” But details about the journey have long been shrouded in mystery.
Thanks to historical research
undertaken by Dr. Alfred Willis, newspaper accounts have just been discovered
which indicate that Vonceil did in fact make the entire journey “ocean to ocean”
as she planned.
reportedly left New York City on 3 October 1927. On 8 November 1928 she was
reported via wire service to have passed through Washington, DC, on an
unspecified date, possibly late October? Two 1927 press photos show her and her
mount in front of the US Capitol. She spent two days in Lynchburg, Virginia,
then passed through Danville, Virginia, on 7 November 1927, per a local Danville
report. From Washington to Danville via Lynchburg is a distance of about 250
miles. A retrospective feature published in Lexington, North Carolina, on 1
March 1928, recounts her journey through North Carolina in the past November.
This article contains a report of three accidents and includes details about two
of them. The worst of the three accidents had occurred in Concord, North
Carolina. From Danville to Concord is a distance of about 120 miles. On 30
December 1927 the Victoria, Texas Advocate reported that Vonceil Viking had left
Fort Worth, Texas, on the 29th, thus 74 days into her ride. On 6 January 1928,
the Las Vegas, New Mexico Optic announced her imminent arrival in Roswell, New
Mexico. Her arrival in San Bernardino, California, was reported in the local
paper on 8 February 1928, thus shortly before her arrival in Los Angeles on the
10th. From San Bernardino to central Los Angeles is a distance of about 60
Willis has promised
to supply more details about Vonceil’s ride as and when they are found.
Though few today remember either their
journeys or their books, Cora and Jan Gordon were top notch English travel
writers of the Jazz Age whose exploits took them to a variety of exotic locales.
In 1923 they travelled through Spain with a donkey cart. The photo above shows
an amused Cora standing beside their donkey, “Colonel Geraldine". Then in 1925
the Gordons undertook a perilous equestrian journey through the mountains of
Albania. The Guild has now been asked to inform our readers about “the
oldest and only primary source of information and research on the net about Jan
and Cora Gordon.”
This website is a treasure trove of information, photos and pictures
regarding the life and travels of this colourful couple.
The Third Annual Tschiffely Trail
Ride is to be held in Switzerland in July.
The Tschiffely Literary Estate is
happy to announce that the annual trail ride held in honour of Swiss Long
Rider Aimé Tschiffely continues to attract riders from many countries.
Swiss Long Rider Peter van der Gugten is helping to arrange this year’s
event, the details of which can be seen on the attached poster.
A new edition of
Tschiffely's Ride has just been
published in England! This is the
finest edition we have ever seen, and includes
contributions from Robert Cunninghame Graham, Robin Hanbury-Tenison and Basha
Brazilian Long Rider Filipe Leite has reached Bolivia, after overcoming a
diplomatic nightmare in Panama.
Prior to his departure on this
historic ride, the LRG warned Filipe that it wasn't bandits and bears that posed the
greatest threat to his dream of riding from Canada to Brazil. It was, as accurately predicted, the hostility of bureaucrats at the borders which would
threaten to halt his progression.
The unreasonable antagonism which
Filipe encountered at the Panamanian border marks a low mark in modern
equestrian travel history. Panama has already unfairly halted many other
travellers from continuing to ride either north or south. In one particularly
infamous incident, Panamanian authorities threatened to shoot a Long Rider's
horses on the airport tarmac, if they were unloaded from the plane which had
just brought them from Ecuador.
Anyone reading Filipe's recent blog
entry about this difficulty can sympathize with the tactical and emotional
crisis he found himself in.
"With the Panamanian door literally
slammed in my face, I was left winded and searching for a new plan of action. I
felt so hopeless. So scared. And I feared the worst: having to leave Frenchie,
Bruiser and Dude behind."
Those of us who have followed and
supported Filipe's efforts from the beginning joined in his anxiety as weeks of
delay turned into months of a paperwork nightmare, all the while he struggled to
find a way to rescue his horses from the clutches of pen-pushers and office-wallahs.
Thankfully, he and his equine pals are
now safely in Bolivia and their journey is once again on track.
Upon reflection, this incident
reminded us of a scene from an old John Wayne movie. In that film a young man
found himself worried, consumed with doubt, fearful that he when the moment of
truth came he might not have the courage needed to overcome fearful odds.
In his rough way, the Duke expressed
his confidence in the young man's bravery.
Wayne said, "You're going to find
yourself standing your ground when you ought to run. Speaking out when you ought
to keep your mouth shut. Doing things that seem wrong to a lot of people, but
you'll do them all the same. You're not the type to run. You're going to spend
the rest of your life getting up one more time when you're knocked down."
And that's what Filipe Leite has done.
He has stood his ground, done the
right thing, had the courage to get up when life knocked him down, to swing back
into the saddle and ride on to Brazil.
Panama may bow its head in shame. But
Brazil should be proud to welcome this hero home.
To learn more about Filipe’s
extraordinary journey from Canada to Brazil
visit his website.
Long Rider Artefacts and Photos to be preserved by Eton College
Robin Hanbury-Tenison, explorer, Long
Rider, author, and photographer has been honoured by having the valuable
collection of artefacts and photographs he collected during decades of travel
placed on permanent display at Eton College’s Natural History Museum.
Often described as the “Doyen of British Explorers,” Robin is
also one of the founders of Survival International. As such, he has been a
tireless champion of the rights of indigenous peoples and, in the early years of
his travels, an obsessive photographer of their homelands as they were eroded by
the modern world.
Hanbury-Tenison photographed extensively and collected objects from remote
tribal people while travelling during the 50s, 60s and 70s. These objects and
images were unearthed recently to create the exhibition, many having not been
looked at for fifty years.
Following the very successful two
month exhibition of the photographs and artefacts at the National Theatre last
year, they went on to the Dimbola Gallery on the Isle of Wight for four months
and will then be going to Aberystwyth University for July and August before
returning to Eton.
Thanks to a very generous donation of
£12,000 to Survival by a Benefactor, Robin’s valuable collection of artefacts
are now all on permanent display at Eton's splendid Natural History Museum. The
Museum is open to the public (free) every Sunday afternoon.
Threats to the Trails
Guild receives a constant stream of news from equestrian and wagon travellers
from all points of the globe. In Europe, we are happy to report, extraordinary
progress is being made to not only encourage equestrian travel but to make it
easier for horse travellers to cross international borders with increasing ease.
stark contrast, three reports have arrived within a few days of each from the
United States and Canada, all of which should be of great concern to the
citizens of those countries.
American Long Rider Jayme Feary (pictured above) wrote to share news about a
development which has terrible implications for recreational, trail and Long
am contacting you about a matter of some importance to Long Riders and other
persons who travel horseback in the U.S. The National Park Service is proposing
a rule change for Bryce Canyon National Park that could spread to all national
parks. The new regulations, if approved, would require all horseback riders
riding in--or passing through--Bryce Canyon National Park, to pay for a guide
employed by the park's official concessionaire. The fee would depend on the
number of riders. This essentially means that Bryce Canyon National Park would
become the equivalent of a dude ranch. If these rules are accepted in Bryce,
they may spread to other national parks. Can you imagine a day rider or
equestrian traveller having to hire a guide and pay $100-$345 every time he or
she enters a national park?
Here is a link to a brief from the National Park
Service that summarizes the proposed rule changes. .
It includes an email address for any persons who wish to provide written
was Jayme the only American to notice the chilling hostility which is being sent
out against equestrian travellers.
1994 American Long Rider Hetty Dutra made a journey along the entire length of
Nez Perce National Historic Trail. To mark the twenty-year anniversary of her
journey, Hetty planned to re-ride her route in the summer of 2014. But she wrote
to say that her plans had been wrecked when the Superintendent of Yellowstone
National Park refused to grant her permission to ride and camp within the park.
Because of this official antagonism
the historic Nez Perce National Trail has been effectively rendered obsolete by
a park official bureaucrat.
Finally, hostility to horses has been
detected north of the border as well.
the last few years Danielle Hess and her family have enjoyed spending their
summers travelling across their native Saskatchewan, Canada using a horse-drawn
wagon. But Canadian Conservation Officers have used increasingly stringent
Wildlife Park Acts to either prohibit the wagon travellers from entering the
national parks or to escort them out.
Danielle wrote, “I
am so thrilled to have stumbled across the Guild website. My husband and I have
that same drive to travel with our horses that so many of your Members talk
about. It's a yearning deep inside and I find it disheartening that so many
people are anti-horse and have forgotten that if it wasn't for these four legged
friends we wouldn't be where we are today. Sadly it is so soon forgotten the
progress they helped us achieve.”
Brazil Loses a
The photo shows Jorge and his stallions, standing next to Mancha and Gato,
who are on display in the national museum.
Brazilian Long Rider Jorge Dias de Aguiar has passed away at the age of 86. He
is survived by his brother, Pedroca Luis de Aguiar. Along with their friend,
José Reis, the three men set off in 1991, determined to make an epic 17,000
kilometre long ride throughout their native Brazil. The journey lasted more than
two years and forced them to endure extreme hardships.
Known as the “Brazilian
Buffalo Bill,” because of his long white hair, Jorge enjoyed a life full of
adventures. In 1969, dressed as a beggar, he wandered across the Brazilian
countryside to see how people would treat him if they knew he was not from a
wealthy family. Between 1979 and 1981 he travelled the world, riding camels in
Pakistan, an elephant in Nepal and walking 1500 kilometres across India in the
company of a Buddhist spiritual guide.
But in addition to completing his famous ride through Brazil, Jorge made another
deeply important equestrian journey. Accompanied by his two milk-white Manga
Larga stallions, Jorge rode from his home in Brazil to the Lujon Museum in
distant Argentina. He undertook the journey in honour of Swiss Long Rider Aimé
Tschiffely and the two legendary Criollos, Mancha and Gato, who accompanied him.
From Suffragettes to Lady Long Riders
spent the best part of ten years exploring the western portion of the United
States, master Long Rider Bernice Ende has racked up more than 20,000
miles under her saddle.
Bernice’s team consists of Essie Pearl, a Fjord mare and Montana Spirit, a
In the past she
has ridden through all parts of the American West, and even ventured over the
border into Canada. But Bernice has now undertaken her greatest challenge, a
two-year, 8,000 mile ride that will take her from Montana across the northern
portion of the USA to the Atlantic, then across the border into Canada and all
the way to back to Vancouver.
Many would be tempted to focus on the mere mileage of such an endeavour. But
Bernice is unique among Long Riders. Instead of talking up the hardships, she is
using the ride to remind people that this is the 100 year anniversary of women
winning the right to vote in Montana. Having entitled her journey “From
Suffragettes to Lady Long Riders,” this mounted champion of female liberty is
carrying a message in honour of all those women who sacrificed so much in the
cause of freedom.
To learn the details about Bernice’s ride,
visit her blog:
To learn how lady Long Riders fought for their political and equestrian rights
And the Long Riders’ Guild would like to issue a special thanks to Russ Barnett,
Outfitters Supply. This company has provided top quality equestrian
travel equipment at the very best prices to Long Riders for years. But beyond
that, Russ and his staff have been instrumental in helping bring about the
renaissance of modern equestrian travel by providing emotional support to
Bernice and many other Long Riders. We urge you to visit and support this fine
and trusted company:
Bernice’s two-year planned journey across the United States and Canada.
There have been three new
Testimonials by Long Riders and friends of the Guild.
To help encourage equestrian literary
accuracy the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation commissioned the creation of
the most precise and detailed Equestrian Writer’s Guide ever created. Leading
the project was author Susan Craft, who had incorporated the LRG-AF’s
equestrian advice into her own fictional work. Assisted by an international team
of published, best-selling Long Rider authors, the result is an extraordinary
set of equestrian facts, figures, distances and writing rules which reflect the
honesty of true equestrian experience.
As an author of historical fiction, researching for my
novels brings me the same excitement Alan Quartermain must have felt hunting for
King Solomon's mines. I've been known to spend an entire day in a library
scribbling notes from someone's diary, spending a wallet of quarters making
copies of maps and old newspapers, and trekking from one book or document to the
next with a perseverance Lewis and Clark would have applauded. I enjoy the chase
when a clue leads me from one historical treasure to the next.
Imagine my delight when I discovered the Long Riders Guild website and began
communicating with CuChullaine and Basha O’Reilly as I tried to “get it right”
about horses in my American Revolutionary War novel, The Chamomile. And what an
honor to be asked by the LRG Foundation to compile A Writer’s Guide to Horses,
an effort to provide authors comprehensive information about horses to assist
them to accurately portray horses in their works.
As word spread over the past two years, the Guide has seen success and not only
through my own works (I wrote two sequels to The Chamomile, which will be
published in 2015. I relied on the Guide
for both novels. One novel, entitled Laurel, involves a 300-mile journey on
horseback through the North Carolina mountains and across the South Carolina
backcountry, and the other, Cassia, includes the glorious horses that have run
wild on the Outer Banks of North Carolina since the 1600s.) Several members of
the Colonial Quills, a group of authors who write about Colonial America, have
bookmarked the link to the Guide and have used information from it in their own
novels. Visitors to
have left comments about how valuable the Guide proved for them.
British Long Rider
Hugh MacDermott made a series of equestrian journeys in Argentina and Chile,
during which time he crossed the Andes Mountains on several occasions, forded
raging rivers and
traversed severe desert landscape.
There isn’t much CuChullaine and Basha O’Reilly don’t know about long riding and
a huge amount of their knowledge is on the brilliant Long Riders' Guild which
they created. I was 21 when I set out on my own long ride. I didn't know much
about anything and I knew nothing about equestrian travel. CuChullaine and the
Guild’s website were invaluable and saved me and my horses a considerable amount
of suffering. It is an honour to be a Member of the Guild and the worldwide
network of Long
Riders that Basha and CuChullaine have brought together.
When we told people we were going to attempt a long ride across Mongolia we
received many responses. "I'd love to do that" when they didn't even ride and
"Wow! What a great holiday" were two that popped up more often that one would
When we contacted The Long Rider's Guild, Basha and CuChullaine O'Reilly put us
through our paces, checking we had done our research, planning and that we
understood the huge responsibilities involved. We were overjoyed to hear from
who appreciated the enormity of what we were about to do.
The Long Rider's Guild have supported us through tough times and through the
celebrations when we finished our ride. They never doubted us, they always
offered their services, their support and any help required. They made us feel
The Long Rider's Guild inspired us to take our love of horses and riding to a
whole new level and we have never regretted it. New doors of opportunity have
opened for us since completing our ride, which we have welcomed with open arms.
We will always be grateful for Basha and CuChullaine's support and friendship
and we will continue to be inspired and wowed by normal people doing amazing
things under the group name of The Long Riders' Guild.
Main Testimonials Page
In an equestrian world all too often
awash with stories of commercialism, corruption and cruelty, the public yearns
for a positive perspective and classic heroes. The Long Riders’ Guild is an
equestrian honour society dedicated to protecting the horse from abuse, the
public from being misled and the media from being deceived.
Testimonials have been gathered over the course of many years and now appear
in a special
collection. They cover a broad range of activities connected to the
various activities of the Long Riders’ Guild, including exploration, ethics,
spirituality, historical research, literature and social justice.
Unlike the entrenched equestrian sports world, which often turns a blind eye to
abuse and cruelty so long as it does not disrupt their income stream, the Long
Riders’ Guild is intent on maintaining the highest ethical standards in the
equestrian world. It encourages harmony between horse and human. Its mission is
to care for the vulnerable and speak up for the voiceless. Admittance is never a
foregone conclusion based upon the accumulation of mere miles.
s job of the Guild to reassure the public that they can trust the word of a
Long Rider, the Guild has published a
strict set of ethics.
A new section on the Guild website articulates these ethical guidelines.
Carrying the Long Riders’ Flag
During the twenty years since the Guild was formulated Long Riders have
successfully journeyed across every continent except Antarctica. These trips
required intrepid teams of humans and horses to survive innumerable dangers,
overcome tremendous hardships and endure intense emotional challenges. Certain
expeditions have an extraordinary extra quality about them. Such rare endeavours
are granted the honour of carrying the Guild’s flag to the far corners of the
A new feature on the Guild website explains which Long Riders have been
entrusted to carry the organisation’s flag and why each person was specially
European News Coverage
The world’s first bi-lingual
collection of equestrian travel articles has been
published on the Guild website. The articles were commissioned by Europe's
leading equestrian travel magazine,
Randonner à Cheval.
They offer interviews with the world's leading equestrian explorers, information
and images from expeditions around the world and never-before-seen extracts from
the forthcoming Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration. The stories are
available in English and French.
Welcome New Long Riders
Thanks to an explosion of
international interest, the Long Riders’ Guild continues to grow by the
inclusion of equestrian travellers whose journeys represent the past and
present. The Guild would like to
welcome the following new Long Riders.
Mary Jo Alfieri,
José María Argento,
Chris Bradbury, Katie Cooper, Alfons Cotti,
Jim and Tom Dickinson,
Suellen Fintari, Hugo Gassioles, Phil Jakubowski, Beth Jamison, Noor Mohammad
Khan, Jo Kimmins, Pam Kline,
Lennon, Jamie Maddison, Clay Marshall, Tim Mullan, Grant Nicolle, Brian
O’Connor, David O’Connor, Sally O’Connor,
Juan Francisco Perfumé,
Marc von Polier,
William Reddaway, Dirk Schleibaum, Bianca Schmidt, Nicole Sousek, Sam Southey,
Matt Traver, Richard Waltrapp,
Gryph Wulfkil and
Historical Long Riders
The Guild has now identified and
documented details of nearly a thousand Long Riders both past and present. Many
important Historical Long Riders have been recently discovered. This
includes Count Vittorio Alfieri, the Italian poet who defied Napoleon and made a
journey with fourteen of England’s finest horses over the Alps; Fynes Moryson
the Englishman whose journeys in the 1590s resulted in some of the earliest
written details about European equestrian travel; and Ludwig Leichhardt, the
German equestrian explorer who disappeared in Australia in 1848. Other new
discoveries include Nick Beucher,
Tex Bunteen, Evelyne Burnaby, John Talbot Clifton, Pascal Coste, Will Drew,
Edith Durham, Eugene Flandin, Thora Gauthier, Christopher Gist, Wilhelm Karl
Herrmann, Raymond Joyce, Martin Luther, Francois Andre Michaux, Claude Sosthène
Grasset d'Orcet, Robert Ker Porter, Ross Salmon, Otto Schoerner, Naomi Scully,
John Lloyd Stephens, Annie Royle Taylor and Arthur Young.
Missing in Action
The Guild began with five Members from
three countries. Since then it has expanded to more than 40 countries and
documented the journeys of hundreds of living equestrian travellers. Most of the
in Action” Long Riders have been found. But the Guild has now expanded its
search for MIA Long Riders to the Orient. Leading the list is the Chinese Long
Li Jing, who rode 9000 kilometres from Votkinsk, Russia to Beijing, China
in 2009. There are other Long Riders in China and Japan who are also being
sought. If you have any information on how to reach Li Jing, please contact the
Long Riders’ Guild has mentored or assisted more than 150
Exciting new journeys are about to begin, including the first ride across the
length of Japan by the veteran New Zealand Long Rider Ian Robinson. Plus, many
remarkable journeys have recently been completed. German Long Rider Gunter
Wamser completed his epic 20,000 mile ride from Patagonia to Alaska. British
Long Rider William Reddaway rode to the four corners of England, during which
time he visited 30 historic cathedrals and abbeys. American Long Rider Sea G
Rhydr completed her "ocean to ocean" ride across the United States. Dutch Long
Rider Arita Baaijens completed the first modern circumnavigation of the entire
Altai Mountain Range on horseback.
National Geographic honours Long Rider
National Geographic has
honoured Australian Long Rider,
Tim Cope, who made an astonishing 6,000 mile
solo journey from Mongolia to Hungary. Nat Geo aired a television
On the Trail of Genghis Khan - which is also the name of Tim's book.
11,000 Riders Set World Record
Though it doesn’t qualify as a
journey, two Associate Members of the Long Riders Guild participated in
the world's largest equestrian gathering. Robyn Hepburn and Nigel Brown
joined an estimated 11,200 horses and riders in an astonishing equestrian event
held in Mongolia.
Stories from the Road
In an alarming article entitled,
“Nightmare at the Border,” Long Rider Filipe Leite explains how crossing
international boundaries has been the most difficult hazard during his epic
10,000 mile ride from Canada to Brazil.
A vital report entitled, “Ticks and
Travel – A Deadly Peril,” has been released by Long Rider Lucy Leaf. It is the
first equine travel study to document how ticks carrying Lyme Disease represent
one of the most frightening threats faced by Long Riders today.
Renowned Long Rider author Jeremy
James understands that to travel on horseback connects us to our surroundings in
a way no other form of travel can. In his remarkable article, “The Mystic Mantle
of the Horse,” Jeremy investigates how the horse becomes more far more than a
form of transport.
journalist and horseman Uğurhan Acar has written
“Uzun Yol Biniciliği – (Long Riding in Turkey)” the first equestrian travel
Though many Long Riders have crossed a
continent, only one has written an epic length poem about such a journey. “The
Long Trail West” recounts how Canadian Long Rider Lorern Stubbs followed the
trail of adventure across prairies and mountains to the distant sea.
Having lived in Greece for many years, British Long Rider Penny Turner has often
saddled her horse and set off to explore the fascinating country. In a poignant
article entitled “Exploring
the Wild West of Northern Greece,” the renowned naturalist recalls how she
encountered Nature’s beauties and Mankind’s evils.
Word from the Founder
Equestrian Explorers face
a new type of threat.
governments, equipped with unethical powers over our privacy and an ability to
track our movements on the internet, pose an innovative menace to Long Riders.
During their journey across Mongolia
British Long Riders Tim Mullen and Sam Southey undertook a survey of the
incidences of colic among Mongol Horses. The first “Mongol Colic Study” reveals
How American Drugs corrupted English Horse Racing.
Revelations of horse doping at a top British stable rocked that nation’s
racing industry. CuChullaine O’Reilly, the founder of the Long Riders’ Guild,
charts the introduction of doping to Britain's racetracks more than a century
ago, revealing that cocaine and other illicit stimulants were introduced
from across the Atlantic by unprincipled American trainers.
Historical Long Rider Aimé Tschiffely
continues to exert a powerful influence on the world of equestrian travel.
Two new editions of Tschiffely's
Ride have been authorised. Skyhorse has released the classic book in the
USA and Head of Zeus will publish a new edition in the UK in May 2014. A French
edition is also under way.
Tschiffely Memorial Ride will take place in the summer of
2014. If you wish to participate please contact Long Rider
Peter van der Gugten.
According to numerous stories in the
British and European press, it is alleged that some contestants in the endurance
racing world routinely bribe vets, trainers and other competitors. As details
of the scandal emerged Aimé Tschiffely
was unexpectedly held up as an example
of equestrian ethics.
A company called
Bohemia Junction Limited
has been launched in London "as a meeting place for creatives in music, film &
the arts inspired by the 1950 auto biography Bohemia Junction by renowned
novelist & Long Rider Aimé Felix Tschiffely."
more news about the famous Long Rider visit his
The Long Rider Anthem
Famous Canadian cowboy song-writer
Corb Lund has
written and recorded a song about Aimé Tschiffely.
Here are the first few verses:
The Only Long Rider I Know
He might have needed a longer look
He might have read old Tschiffely's
The truth will come with ten thousand
miles in the saddle
He's seen a few good years
Between Criollo ears
And all he knows is the trail goes on
He's the only one I know
Pure as the driven yayo
Drifting past the ghosts of Mancha and
The LRG News Archive
The LRG News Archive contains the world’s largest collection of equestrian
travel news. It has now been re-formatted so that all hundreds of news stories
are listed alphabetically under the name of the Long Rider.
Hall of Shame
Long Riders' Guild was formed to advance the ancient art of equestrian travel,
to educate people on how to make an equestrian journey, to ensure that horses
are never abused, to lay false claims to rest, to protect the public from
mounted charlatans and to alert the media that care should be taken when
interviewing so-called horse travellers. Sadly, just like any human effort,
there are occasional outlaws who appear in the world of equestrian travel.
Details have been published
regarding the activities of the English
travellers who killed or wounded 81 horses in 49 days, the French travellers who
starved their horses for 80 days in the Arctic Circle, the Hungarians whose
horses were confiscated by the police and the Americans who were convicted of 21
counts of abusing their horses.
Walt Disney and Hidalgo
In 2004 the Walt
Disney studio released
an infamous film entitled “Hidalgo.” Supposedly “based on a true story,” the
movie promoted the lies of a counterfeit Long Rider known as Frank Hopkins.
In the intervening years since, the Hopkins Hoax and the Hidalgo movie have come
to be viewed as an act of deliberate cinematic deception. All the while it has
continued to be commonly assumed that Walt Disney himself would not have
condoned this blatant disregard of the truth.
Disney the man has escaped any criticism – until now.
Evidence has been discovered which demonstrates that
the studio's contempt for academic
truth was in fact set in motion by Walt Disney and that Hidalgo was only the
latest example of a company policy originated by Disney himself.
It saddens us to report the loss of
several of the Guild’s mounted heroes.
made many long rides throughout France.
rode from Seville, Spain to Penzance, England. He also made the first modern
ride to all four corners of Ireland.
rode from Tatsienlu, Tibet to Dibrugarh in the Naga Tribe territory of Northern
India. Author of
"Journey with Loshay",
and Guerrillas and
"Patterson of Tibet"
spent 30 years collecting equestrian travel articles and rode from the Atlantic
to the Pacific Ocean.
rode across the USA, twice, starting in 1941.
For information on earlier news stories,
please visit the