The Long Riders' Guild

2022 - News

 

A Message of Peace from the Guild

"As children of the Cold War, we were taught to fear each other because of nationalistic propaganda. Our friendship is a symbol of overcoming tribal hatred. In the name of the Long Riders' Guild we invoke the peaceful message of harmonious horsemanship. War is never the answer. An invasion that results in the slaughter of innocents is unjustified. Instead of resorting to violence we need to remember that no matter where we were born, our mother tongue is horse."
Ukrainian/Russian Long Rider Vladimir Fissenko
American Long Rider CuChullaine O’Reilly

 

Literature & Film

 

The Long Rider –
Documentary Film Wins First Award

The 16th annual Beaufort International Film Festival drew to a close February 27, with an awards ceremony honoring the best of the festival. Held at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts, the ceremony bestowed awards in 20 categories. The Long Rider grabbed the prestigious Audience Choice Award. The feature-length documentary directed by Sean Cisterna tells the story of Brazilian Long Rider Filipe Leite’s journey on horseback from Alaska to Patagonia, a trip of more than 25,000 kilometers that took eight years and crossed 12 international borders. In a statement to the Guild Filipe wrote, “This is the beauty of the Long Riders’ Guild. With Members in more than 40 countries, the organization breaks down borders. It is not about competing or winning ribbons, but about helping one another explore this extraordinary world on horseback.”

 

Expeditions

 

Carrying the Guild Flag across Kyrgyzstan

Ashley Parsons wrote, “After a year of waiting to travel with us, and then six months of travel, I’m happy to return the Guild flag to you with a few more kilometres under her belt. For just over 1600 kilometres I carried this flag in my front right saddlebag, occasionally pulling it out. The local Kyrgyz who saw it were admirative and impressed, but I think it had more impact when I would sometimes pull it out at night while organizing gear. Early on in the trip it struck me that though I didn’t know who else had carried this flag, nor over what terrain and conditions, I had now become part of the flag’s history. The thought never failed to make me blush, that I was now connected in a small material way to some of my heroes. It also comforted me: of course I was! And finally it made me proud, even honored. So though it may be a small light-weight material object, it brought me humility, confidence and honor during this long ride across Kyrgyzstan. Thank you for entrusting us with this symbol of Long Rider values. I hope its next porter can feel all the support from those of us who have carried it before.”

 

Long Rider Honoured by Royal Geographical Society

To mark the conclusion of his 25,000 kilometre “Journey Across the Americas ", Brazilian Long Rider Filipe Leite has been made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. This marks the first time since 2016 that a Long Rider has been awarded this distinction. The nomination was made by Pedroca de Aguiar. , who is Brazil's 80-year-old Long Rider FRGS and one of the Guild’s rare Living Treasures. It was Pedroca who mentored Filipe prior to departure. In a message to the RGS and the LRG Filipe explained, “During my journeys across Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, I lectured to children about geography, the importance of following your dreams and never giving up.”

 

The Guild welcomes its New Members

 

Nikita Gretsi rode across Siberia’s deadly Road of Bones.

Miriam Reisch rode across Germany and France.

New Friend of the Guild
Stepan Sleptsov is of Eveny descent, a community of reindeer herders in Yakutia. An expert in survival in the Siberian taiga, he risked his life to help Nikita Gretsi cross the deadly Road of Bones in minus 40 degree weather.

 

In Homage to the Long Riders

Who are the ‘Long Riders’ and what do they know
Where have they come from and where do they go?

They travel on horseback like the people of yore
The stars are their ceiling the grassland their floor.

They ride from the east and they ride from the west
They travel to travel to be the worlds’ guest

Who are the long riders and what do they know
Where do they ride from and where do they go?

They ride from the north and they ride from the south
With the wind in their pockets the rain in their mouth

They see the bald eagles they hear the wild wolves
Their horses protect them for horses aren’t fools

Who are the long riders and what do they know
Where do they ride from and where do they go?

They ride across mountains and forests and streams
Their pen is their amour their paper a shield.

They arrive without warning they leave when they may
A week is a whisper and a lark is a day.

Who are the long riders and what do they know
Where do they ride from and where do they go?

Tell me long rider what makes you so wise
With your wind-beaten features and lonely green eyes.

Tell me long rider of the perfume of day
Of the sage and the soil and the scent of the hay.

Oh tell me long rider when the moon lights your way
Are your shadows behind you did you throw them away?

Who are the long riders and what do they know
Where do they ride from and where do they go?

Tell me long rider when your riding is through
Will you come to my door or must I come to you?
Caroline Baldock

 

Lost Heroes

 

Hero of Desert Exploration Passes Away

Explorer John Hill was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Societyand a Friend of the Guild. After travelling across the Sahara with dromedaries and across the Takla Makan Desert with Bactrian camels, he was awarded the Lawrence of Arabia Gold Memorial Medal for exploration under extreme hazard. He described his life as an explorer in an exclusive interview with the Guild. In 1993, he took advantage of a chance offer from a Russian scientific team to research the status of the wild Bactrian camel in Mongolia. In 1997, John founded the Wild Camel Protection Foundation of which Dr. Jane Goodall DBE is the Life Patron. A prolific author, his books include the story of the equestrian journeys he made in northern Nigeria in 1957. Because of his extensive knowledge of travel history, he was chosen to review the Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration. John described the EEE as “The greatest horse rides ever, as chronicled in a unique treasury of horse and human wisdom.” A close friend to Guild founder, CuChullaine O’Reilly, John wrote a few days prior to his death to say, “My camel is saddled for the last great expedition. I have been honoured to learn about the invaluable work you have done for an amazing group of horse riders who will never be forgotten thanks to YOU. What a champion for them you are. I will certainly hug your Basha We will tell stories and in due course wait for you to join us.”

 

2021 - News

 

Legendary Long Rider Dies

Basha O’Reilly was the Founding Member of the Guild who rode from Russia to England, created the Long Riders’ Guild website, published hundreds of horse travel books, and left a legacy of love. READ MORE…

Royal Geographical Society Lecture

Ten years after Vyv Wood-Gee rode from Scotland to Cornwall she set off on a 1500 mile journey to see the 3,000 year-old Uffington white horse and its counterparts carved into hillsides around Britain. In a lecture to the RGS, the Long Rider explained, “We no longer rely on horses for transport, work or war, but the question I wanted to ask was whether Britain is still at heart a horse land.” Following routes historically used by pack ponies, pit ponies, Reivers and Romans she proved it was.

Long Rider given British Horse Society exceptional achievement award

With extensive knowledge from a lifetime of trekking across Britain, at 80 years old and with impaired vision Jane Dotchin became an internet sensation after her recent 600-mile round trip to the North of Scotland. “I’ve been doing it for 40 odd years. I’ve been to Ireland and all over. I used to go way down to the south of England but you can’t cross the roads now because the traffic is terrible.”

Long Rider inducted into Cowboy Hall of Fame

Bernice Ende made her first equestrian journey in 2005. Since then she has completed eight rides, including carrying the Guild flag “ocean to ocean” in both directions.

Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation

 

Siberian Horse DNA Tested by Texas University

With the assistance of the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation, Professor Ivanov Revoriy Vasilievich, of the Yakut National Institute of Agriculture, obtained DNA samples from the different types of Siberian horses and transferred the valuable equine evidence to the Texas A&M Institute for Genome Sciences and Society. In 2020 Professor Revoriy published an article which raised the possibility that Yakut Horses Could be Direct Descendants of Ice Age Horse. Emeritus Professor Gus Cothran and Professor Rytis Juras, principal investigators at the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, will oversee the research. Image courtesy of Egor Makarov.

Long Rider Honoured as “Living Treasure”

 

Bob Orrell English Long Rider Bob Orrell has been designated a Living Treasure.

The Guild welcomes its New Members

 

Vincent Cochin rode through the Andes Mountains in Chile.

Elsa Kent rode from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise awareness of the need to introduce environmental education into school curriculums.

Kyle Mackay rode from New York to Minnesota, via Canada.

Larissa Mueller rode from Hawke's Bay to Hawke's Bay, aiming to ride as much of the coast of New Zealand as possible, which is roughly four times the length of the country.

Sebastiao Mlhareiro Neto rode across Brazil on the Velho Chico Expedition:

Expeditions

 

Ocean to Ocean Solo Journey Begins

Though children, women and men have ridden “ocean to ocean” across North America, no one has ever dared attempt to ride from Russia’s Pacific to England’s Atlantic. The first solo equestrian journey across Eurasia will require Nikita Gretsi to travel 15,000 kilometers and survive minus 60 degree Siberian cold. READ MORE…

Long Rider Celebrates his 88th Birthday in the Saddle

To celebrate his country’s history, geography, traditions and culture Pedroca de Aguiar carried the Guild flag 4,000 kilometres across Brazil. One of the Guild’s rare Living Treasures, Pedroca arrived at the Atlantic Ocean on his birthday, February 16th The oldest Long Rider in the saddle was accompanied by a new Member of the Guild, Sebastiao Mlhareiro Neto.

Basha O’Reilly Remembrance Ride

During his fifth equestrian journey, Dalibor Balut carried the Guild flag across Eastern Europe in 2019. This year Dalibor set off on a 600 kilometre trip through the Czech Republic in honour of his friend, Basha O’Reilly. The talented film maker created a documentary which explains how Basha inspired and helped him become a Member of the Guild.

Riding Across the Mountains of Kirghizstan

Ashley Parson and Quentin Boehm pioneered a modern route across the nation known as “The Land of Horses.” The route, which took the Long Riders from Djalalabad to Kapakon, required the team to traverse the Arpa Steppe, cross the Jaman Mountains and pass across glaciers, before they reached Tash Rabat, the legendary 15th century caravanserai.

Honouring America’s Wild Horse Heritage

Samantha Szesciorka completed her third ride on her adopted wild horse Sage. Their journey was made in honour of the 50th anniversary of the Wild Horse & Burro Act. The Nevada Discovery Ride, which was sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management, encouraged the public to protect and adopt wild horses.

Literature and Film

 

Dutch Translation Published

The Horse Travel Handbook is a cavalry-style manual drawn from its parent edition The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration. It is small enough to fit into a saddlebag and contains the most critically important information that a Long Rider may need to consult while travelling. The Dutch translation of the popular book is now available.

An Epic Horseback Journey That Will Long Be Remembered

The death of Basha O’Reilly early this year shocked the Long Rider community. Accomplished American Long Rider Lucy Leaf, who rode her horse 7000 miles across the United States in the 1970s, reviews O’Reilly’s book, Bandits and Bureaucrats, which chronicles a remarkable 2500-mile ride from Russia to England in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union. READ MORE…

A Tale of Unconditional Love

The lives of many Long Riders have been deeply enriched by the unexpected appearance of a dog. Tim Cope is an extraordinary example. When the young Australian set off to ride 10,000 kilometres from Mongolia to Hungary he hadn’t counted on being adopted by Tigon, a Kazakh hunting dog. Yet this unexpected canine friend bounded along in joy as the Australian Long Rider crossed wolf-infested steppes, made his way over mountains, negotiated dangerous bridges and rode ever westwards for three years. Long Riders know that a journey of this magnitude involves intense loneliness and emotional hardship. Tim and Tigon is the heart-warming story of how a dog blessed with courage and an enduring smile enriched the life of a great equestrian explorer.

A Masterpiece of Horse History

Modern equestrian literature is seldom blessed by the appearance of such a singular book. Dr. Paula Sells has spent her life with horses, ranging from competitive riding as a child to championing the environmental advantages of horse logging, of which she is an expert. During the course of her life Sells watched with increasing regret as the magnificent physical heritage and historical artifacts connected to Great Britain’s tack rooms began to disappear. In an extraordinary insight, Sells realised that an effort should be made to document the remaining evidence and interview the survivors whose lives had been intertwined with saddles and harness. The project took far longer than Sells anticipated because she discovered that tack rooms were as varied as the equestrian activities they served. After years of diligent research, and visits to all corners of the country, Sells compiled a rich collection of equestrian lore. The Tack Room details 27 equestrian activities, including for the first time equestrian travel. Stories from the past are set alongside the recollections of master saddlers. Every chapter contains a treasure trove of enchanting images and a feast of facts. Cavalry and explorers, pit ponies and polo, craftsmanship and tradition, leather and brass, are all beautifully revealed in a life enriching book composed with courtesy and care.

A Lonely Ride inspires a New Film

In 2005 the Long Riders’ Guild received an email from a young man named Hugh MacDermot. He wrote to say that he had been inspired to ride across Argentina because of Tschiffely’s Ride, the most influential equestrian travel book of the 20th century. A forthcoming film reveals how the journey transformed Hugh. “Tschiffely’s philosophy and travels had followed me throughout my life and I decided I was going to follow in his footsteps. I couldn’t speak Spanish but set off with the belief that it would all work out.” What Hugh discovered was that a dream will be tested against unforeseen hardships of all kinds. The photo shows Hugh and Pancho crossing the Tuyunan River.

Lost Heroes

 

It saddens us to report the loss of the Guild’s mounted heroes.

 

Adios to the Lady Long Rider

In 2005 a ballet teacher borrowed a horse and set off on what was to become an extraordinary equestrian experience. Sixteen-years and 30,000 miles later, that remarkable woman’s amazing journey has come to an end.

Bernice Ende began her equestrian travel career in 2005. Riding a borrowed horse named Pride, Ende learned many essential lessons as she began her apprenticeship riding south from Montana to New Mexico.

She wrote, “The reasons for swinging into the saddle for my first ride seem vague now. It seems impossible that I even made it! I simply did not know what I was getting myself into. I rode on a wave of ignorance. I cried the day I left and cried for weeks until fatigue finally broke the fear into tiny digestible pieces.”

What happened next took the new Long Rider and everyone else by surprise. Despite the hardships of solo travel, Bernice discovered an insatiable urge to return to the saddle. Astride her new horse, Honor, and accompanied by faithful dog Clare, the trio (right) set off a 5,000 mile exploration.

Despite the winds of change that blew across her country, Bernice became a reassuring sight to weary Americans as year after year she swung into the saddle and rode into people’s lives. Clare perched atop the pack saddle for 17,000 miles before succumbing to old age. Honor was replaced by Essie Pearl. What didn’t change was Bernice’s insatiable desire to explore her country.

In 2016 Bernice became the first person to ride “ocean to ocean” across the United States in both directions on the same journey. Carrying the Long Riders’ Guild flag, the team reached the Atlantic Ocean on October 8, 2015. After wintering over on the East coast Bernice resumed riding. Bernice reached the Pacific Ocean on June 17, 2016. By the time she rode back to Montana, Bernice had been in the saddle for two and a half years and had ridden 8,000 miles.

Long Rider history is filled with examples of travellers who drew inspiration from others. Bernice was no exception. Having entitled her journey “From Suffragettes to Lady Long Riders,” the mounted champion of female liberty carried a message in honour of all those women who sacrificed so much in the cause of freedom. When she 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 think it's so important that women know they can do anything," Ende said "This is a way of saying to women, go and ride your dreams."

In 2018 Bernice’s book, Lady Long Rider, was published. The Foreword, written by CuChullaine O’Reilly, states, “There are millions of people who ride horses. In stark contrast, there are only a handful of Long Riders scattered around the world. And even among the Long Riders there are only a rare few, like Bernice Ende, whose journeys transcend miles and instead resonate in countless lives for years to come.”

At the conclusion of her second journey, Bernice pondered, ““I shake my head when I turn in the saddle and look at the long ribbon of road behind us. Oh how can it end?”

It didn’t.

Bernice is riding among the stars.

Genghis Khan meets the Matrix

Equestrian exploration is where tradition and technology meet. One of the most dramatic examples occurred, not in a laboratory, but where you would expect to find an equestrian explorer, in the wilderness. The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration documents how newly invented flexible solar panels provided light to Long Riders. Among the first to employ the concept was Tom Fairbanks, who rode from Washington to Montana via the Bob Marshal Wilderness..

Equestrian News

 

Australian Government Imposes Severe Restrictions on Travel -

The Long Riders’ Guild has received word that the government of Australia has severely restricted freedom of travel both into and out of that country.

Writing from that nation a resident warned, “Australia is the only country in the world that has banned citizens from leaving the country. The law came into effect in July 2020. It was only last month that it was expanded to include dual citizens or 'ordinary citizens abroad' in the ban. The rest of the world doesn't seem to know about this, and when I speak with people abroad, they don't believe me. Many think that an exemption is easy to come by. It is absolutely not “just a formality” to gain an exemption to leave because they scrutinise the applications and require a lot of proof, evidence, a legal statutory declaration, and documentation:”

Seeking confirmation, the Long Riders’ Guild was directed to the following quote, which can be confirmed by inspecting this page of the Australian Home Affairs website.

“If you are an Australian citizen or a permanent resident you cannot leave Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions unless you have an exemption.

If you are seeking exemption from Australia’s outbound travel restrictions on the basis that you are leaving Australia for three months or longer, your proposed travel must be for a compelling reason and you must provide evidence to support your claims.

Note: A person who makes a false statement in a statutory declaration is guilty of an offence.

Due to the current COVID-19 situation in Australia international visitors are encouraged to return home.

You should only travel if you have a compelling reason and it is essential that you travel now.

Because of the new restrictions, an estimated 45,000 Australians are stranded overseas and cannot afford to pay the $13,000 fee required per person to return home.

A traveller who did return to Australia shared this warning.

I was only able to get back in because I got a job with a company who paid the $10,000 AUD for a one-way ticket back for me, and I paid the $3,000 AUD mandatory hotel quarantine fee. Upon landing in Aus, you are met by Public Health officials for tests and interrogation. Then the military load you onto a bus, take you to a designated quarantine hotel with a large police presence, where you are escorted to your room by a soldier and then left in there for two weeks with no fresh air until the soldiers and nurses return to take a pcr test and give you the paperwork to allow you to leave.“

The health emergency is predicted to severely reduce horse travel along the nation’s famous Bicentennial National Trail.

“This will certainly affect equestrian travel within Australia because the states keep shutting their borders to each other. Each time cases rise, the borders shut. It's become like separate countries as opposed to states.”

 

For information on earlier news stories, please visit the Archives pages.

 

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