The Long Riders' Guild

Stories from the Road

Indian Subcontinent

CuChullaine O'Reilly (above) is the Founder of the Long Riders’ Guild who has spent more than thirty years documenting and studying equestrian travel. He led the Karakorum Equestrian Expedition through Pakistan and was thereafter made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers’ Club. He has mentored equestrian expeditions on every continent except Antarctica. He is the author of “The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration,” “The Horse Travel Handbook,” “Khyber Knights,” “The Long Riders” and “Deadly Equines.”

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Khyber Knights

With a savage war being waged a few miles away between the Soviet Union and the Afghan mujahadeen, CuChullaine O’Reilly set off in 1983 to make a solo ride across Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province. Riding through a hotbed of political intrigue and tribal violence, O’Reilly journeyed from Peshawar to Chitral, the first to do so since 1937 when the last mounted British army patrol made the journey.
 

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An Amazing Escape

Peek into the footnotes of the history books and you will often find passing references to those second-sons and footloose daughters that once roamed the world on horseback. These Long Riders sprang from all parts, for their need was an individualistic expression, not a national trend. One such wide-ranger was Harry de Windt. His life seemed to be a perfect battle within itself - one day Harry could be seen lounging in the most fashionable salons in Paris, the next day he could be found battling to stay alive in some God-forsaken patch of nameless territory. Yes, Harry was a Long Rider to the end of his polished fingertips, with his gourmet appetite for adventure. If, as some people say, The Long Riders' Guild represents the equestrian equivalent of The French Foreign Legion, then Gentleman Harry de Windt would be the General to lead such a band through the snow-covered wilderness of nineteenth-century Persia, as he does in this story which describes a hair-raising incident which occurred during his ride to India in 1891.

 

Following Marco Polo
American Long Rider Harry Rutstein spent ten years making a journey to trace the 13,000-mile overland route – Venice to Beijing – taken by Marco Polo in the 13th century. Using every means of travel available, from horses to camels to goatskin rafts, Rutstein became the first person known to have authenticated and retraced Marco Polo’s journey. In this story, Harry recounts how in 1975 he rode across Afghanistan, which was still a land unspoiled by the forthcoming decades of war, bloodshed and foreign occupation. Harry was one of those lucky enough to have ridden to Bamiyan, where he saw the legendary statue of Buddha that was later destroyed by the Taliban.

 

Imprisoned in India
Daniel Robinson decided to travel from China to India in 2007. The young man made a journey which required equal doses of courage, stamina and naivety, but his journey had ended with him being unfairly imprisoned. Thanks to an international campaign which was organized by the Long Riders’ Guild, Daniel was freed. The article entitled
“The Price of a Pilgrimage recounts this incredible equestrian adventure.

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