Explore the World – in a Chariot !
With a growing number of equestrian explorers riding across the planet, we receive a great deal of news at Long Rider HQ.
But once in a while something truly amazing crosses our desks – something like the discovery that the ancient chariot has been ‘reinvented’ at the dawn of the 21st century.
A British inventor named Simon Mulholland contacted The Long Riders’ Guild to announce that he was preparing to travel the length of Hadrian’s Wall, the ancient battlement built by the Romans to keep out the wild Scots.
Though the route along the wall is only about one hundred miles, it was HOW Simon proposed to make his journey that left us speechless.
Instead of riding a horse along the old Roman road, six-foot four-inch Simon announced that his “minimal pony” was going to be providing the power.
Though he only stands ten hands tall, the pony-powered champion of this story is called Henry and he’s an old-hand at making modern history.
Originally bought for Simon’s children, the sad day arrived when they grew too big to ride little Henry.
That’s when “Dad” Simon got the idea to make a chariot which Henry could pull.
The rest, as they say, is equestrian history.
Four years of constant tinkering, long nights over the work bench, and more than a few puzzled looks from a bewildered Henry, finally saw the development of a ‘space-age’ chariot made of light weight stainless steel and ABS plastic which can be disassembled into a bag and carried on an airplane.
Being horse riders, the Guild was more than a little skeptical.
Who could drive such a contraption?
Everyone from a six-year old child to troopers in Queen Elizabeth’s Household Cavalry.
What kind of horse would you need to pull it?
Any healthy equine, from ponies less than 36 inches tall to towering Shires, could easily trot down the road with an adult rider perched behind on the chariot’s comfortable seat.
But what about travelling?
After all, this was The Long Riders’ Guild, we reminded Simon.
There again, no problem.
This Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang English equestrian inventor had perfected a small trailer which can be hitched to the back of the chariot, allowing the chariot rider to trot off towards the sunset with his or her various bits of camping gear, pony grain, etc.
The more questions we asked, the more enthusiastic we became.
We learned that the chariot didn’t require the rider to invest in a lot of expensive tack such as saddles, special riding clothes, etc. You just hitch up your horse and you’re off down the road in whatever you happen to be wearing.
Plus, it acts like an equestrian quad-mobile, giving the chariot rider freedom to turf-surf at a brisk trot, all the while travelling so lightly that the large wheels leave no marks on sensitive meadows or trails.
But the best part, in our opinion, is that the engineering principles involved in the chariot allows even small horses and ponies, who would otherwise be considered too small to carry an adult, to be active, happy and productive once again.
Is it new?
Not according to Hammurabi, that dashing king who travelled around Babylon by chariot back in 1728 B.C.
Yet new or old, it didn’t take us long to realize that Simon Mulholland might just have offered the new world an old miracle.
To learn more about Simon and Henry’s chariot journey along Hadrian’s Wall visit their website
Please click here for more fantastic photographs.
Click here to read an article about the Saddlechariot on the excellent online equestrian magazine, Horse Talk in New Zealand.
The article below appeared in the British
magazine "Equestrian." Click on any image to enlarge it.
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