About the LRG Website
The History - The Long Riders’ Guild website was created by Basha and CuChullaine O’Reilly, whose work with computers and journalism predates the internet age.
|Basha’s first employer in 1967, Sir Bernard Lovell, was Director of the Jodrell Bank Observatory in England. The radio telescope was equipped with a special room that contained large electro-mechanical analogue computers described at the time as “electronic brains.”|
|With the invention of “personal computers,” Basha purchased a “Super Brain” in 1979. The computer cost £2000 ($2670 or $10,785 today). The daisy-wheel printer cost an additional £2000. In the days before the remote control “mouse” had been invented, Basha used CP/M (control programme for micro processing) to convey instructions via the keyboard.|
A talented linguist, she later became proficient in the computer language known as “HTML code”. As her proficiency advanced, Basha began teaching computer processing in 1980. By 1996 she was employed by a Director of Lloyd’s of London.
In 2001 Basha’s computer skills expanded again when she created the first website devoted to international equestrian travel.
|Using CuChullaine’s experience as a journalist and editor, the O’Reillys envisioned creating a website based upon the concept of a 20th century magazine. It was deliberately designed to provide a sense of visual serenity, to give the viewer a tangible way of realizing the immensity of horse-human history, to serve as a treasure trove of rare imagery and to ensure the preservation of vital but endangered equestrian information.|
The Mission – The Long Riders’ Guild website is one of the oldest websites on the internet and is the repository of the world’s largest collection of equestrian travel information.
The Design - It is a "working" website, designed to be educational, not entertaining. Its design is kept deliberately simple to allow readers to easily find specific information. Its use of language is intentionally concise because many of the site's visitors do not read or speak English as their original language. The website has never changed the original concept: i.e. the flying Count Pompeii logo, which is now recognized around the world as a symbol of longevity, trust and emotional stability. The LRG website is like a classic 1930s Rolls Royce. It is simple, elegant and efficient.
Principles not Profits – The Guild does not endorse elitism, narcissism, nationalism, competition and commercialism. The website has always been a commercial-free academic source of equestrian travel information. It provides valuable information for free and prohibits advertisements.
Social Responsibility – The website was founded on the belief expressed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, that the World Wide Web was launched as a trusted service designed to benefit humanity. Whereas the internet was intended to enhance education and share knowledge, as we have all learned in the years since, the internet has become increasingly profit-driven and predatory. Even though the Guild has long used the internet for educational purposes, we became concerned at an early stage that the corporations controlling social media could exploit the public's trust. This suspicion has since been justified. Because the Long Riders' Guild believes in social internet responsibility, it is "Facebook Free" and does not interact with any social media or endorse those who have corrupted the internet and turned it into a dark and addictive experience.
Privacy – Unfortunately the internet has become a lurking place for various types of unsavoury criminals and cyber stalkers. The Long Riders’ Guild does not require you to provide any personal information, does not demand registration, is committed to protecting the privacy of its readers and does not use browser cookies.
The Reaction – Millions of people have visited the LRG site, which houses more than a thousand pages. Many people spend years studying the website prior to departing on an equestrian journey.
|One such example is Canadian Long Rider Bonnie Folkins, who went on to make seven equestrian journeys in Mongolia and Kazakhstan.|
Bonnie wrote, “When I first found the LRG website back in 2007, I was mesmerized. I didn't leave the computer for hours. I was immediately challenged emotionally by the very idea of long riding - something that had never even occurred to me to do. For days, I walked around with internal conflict. Can I do this? Am I too old? Why didn't I ever think of this? The thoughts and questions lingered because I couldn't get my head around them. After I finally found the courage to write, I learned that the Guild always presented equestrian travel as something that was real and accessible. You were not peddling a fashion item or promoting an obscure dream. You weren’t involved in exaggeration, like the Everest conquistadores wearing the latest parkas while their Sherpas are ignored in the background, or the hype of the goofy looking adventure seekers hanging off a cliff on the page of a Patagonia catalogue. I don't trust much of anything these days, but I do trust the Long Riders Guild!”
|Another example is American Long Rider, Lucy Leaf, who rode 7,000 miles in the United States.|
Lucy wrote, "While the internet and its
rapid access to information of every sort still seems like a wonder to me, my
increasing frustration using it grows in equal measure. This is not the case,
however, with one of my favorite websites, that of the Long Riders’ Guild.
Visiting this site is like going home. The information I read ten years ago is
still there today along with continuous updated information, all easily accessed
with a single click on the flying horse logo and the same clear menu. There are
no flashing screens requiring my personal data, no advertisements requiring me
to find the “x” so I can continue, and no cookies collecting my browsing habits
to prioritize the information I receive. The LRG website houses over a thousand
pages, the world’s largest collection of information about equestrian travel,
none of it stolen, and all of it accessible to anyone who clicks on the site,
with no strings attached.
The value of this website is immeasurable for anyone considering an extended equestrian ride, as well as its contribution to the welfare of horses and the understanding of the horse/human relationship throughout our history. But in its near twenty years of existence it also stands out as a model, indeed almost a relic, of what Sir Tim Berners-Lee must have envisioned when he created the World Wide Web - a democratic platform for the sharing of information. The Web was meant for the common good, as a better way to work together.
Most of us are well aware that we now pay a steep price to use the Web: loss of personal data, controlled content, targeted advertising, politically targeted persuasion, discrimination and even surveillance. Many accept this. We must understand, however, that it does not have to be this way.
Berners-Lee, a pioneer voice for net neutrality, is still holding to his vision of the Web as a medium of positive change. The LRG website, one of the oldest websites on the internet, holds to this vision of shared knowledge for the better good. Preservation of this ideal may be just as important today as the preservation of equestrian knowledge, both of which could be lost entirely if we allow it."
The Community – Though the Guild has Members in 46 countries, Long Riders are not automatically synonymous with either the traditional equestrian or exploration communities. We are a small but unique section of humanity, represented by a few people in each generation. What we do is not only difficult, it can also be deadly. We don't wear pretty clothes, ride in circles or jump horses over painted sticks. We take great risks. We usually ride alone. We do not, in most cases, belong to the herd, flock, swarm, hive or pack that most humans find comfort in. Likewise, the Guild website reflects this stand-alone nature.
Continuity - Even though the internet has undergone extreme changes, resulting in the make over of most sites, often to a detrimental effect, and to the anger of regular visitors, the LRG website is remarkable for its consistency. The Guild website has always been a haven of tranquillity, a place to read and find refuge, a point of inspiration. The News is updated and fresh information is quietly added. But it is all done without disruption and without causing any anxiety to the readership. Thus it is singular in that it refuses to try to keep pace with the latest internet fad or fashion. It is, we believe, an iconic website, one that represents what the inventors of the internet originally sought, a sharing of wisdom and a betterment of humanity.
In the years to come the Guild website will endure, like a lighthouse pouring out information into the dark to those in search of help or inspiration.
Terms and Conditions of Website use: Access to this site is provided by The Long Riders’ Guild subject to the following Terms & Conditions.
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