The Long Riders' Guild

The most famous Long Rider image in history.  Aimé Tschiffely and his horses, Mancha and Gato, on the crest of the Andes Mountains in Peru.  This is the image which appears on the cover of Tschiffely’s Ride, the most influential equestrian travel book ever written, which has been published in English, French, German, Italian, Swedish, Spanish, Polish and Finnish. 

 

 

Because he lacked any equestrian travel experience, the haughty hidalgos of Argentina mocked the Swiss school-teacher. A local newspaper described him as a ‘lunatic’ trying to ride to New York.  Unaware of the hardships he would endure, Tschiffely began his journey wearing traditional English jodhpurs.  

 

Tschiffely departed from Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1925.  His odyssey lasted two and a half years and took him through eleven countries.  He rode 10,000 miles across mountains, plains, deserts and jungles.

In Bolivia, Tschiffely had to travel across the Mata Caballo (“Horse Killer”) desert.  He wore protective clothing against the blowing sand and rode at night with the help of the light from a full moon.

 

Near Lake Titicaca, the Long Rider encountered giant stone pillars, whose origins are lost in dim forgotten centuries.

Tschiffely’s horse Gato is led across an awe-inspiring chasm in Peru.  This structure swayed so much that nervous travellers were often blindfolded, strapped on a stretcher and carried across by the Indians.

 

As he travelled north, news of his journey began to circulate through the international press. Even so, Aimé Tschiffely had to deal with suspicious border guards throughout the journey.  Here his papers are being inspected at the frontier between Ecuador and Columbia.

 

To cross the Panama Canal Tschiffely obtained the assistance of the American Canal Zone police, who took the horses through the famous waterway. They are seen transiting the Pedro Miguel lock.

 

A new hazard threatened the horses in the jungles of Central America.  Tschiffely had to put blankets on Mancha and Gato to protect them from repeated attacks by blood-sucking vampire bats.

 

Victory in sight! After riding through Mexico Tschiffely entered the United States. Having survived numerous dangers, the Long Rider and his horses were hit by American drivers on three separate occasions.

 

Tschiffely was hailed as a hero by the President of the United States and gave a speech to the National Geographic Society in Washington D.C.
Upon his arrival in New York the Long Rider was greeted by a ticker-tape parade and presented with a gold medal by Mayor James Walker (centre).

 

Tschiffely and his horses sailed back to Buenos Aires, where the Argentine military presented him with a silver gaucho dagger in honour of his courage.
In 1999 the Argentine Congress passed a law celebrating 20th September of each year as the “Día Nacional del Caballo” (National Day of the Horse) – to commemorate the day Aimé arrived in New York in 1928.

 


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