The Long Riders' Guild

Stories from the Road

Philosophy and History

 

 

Russian Long Rider Vladimir Fissenko (above) rode from the bottom of the world, Patagonia, to the top of the world, Alaska. The journey began in Ushuaia, Argentina and concluded in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, covered 30,000 kilometres (19,000 miles) and took five years to complete. This photo shows Vladimir riding through the notorious Darien Gap jungle that separates Columbia and Panama.

Click on any image to go to the story.

A Journey to Simplify Life
Not only had DC Vision never made an equestrian journey, he had never even mounted a horse!  Yet that didn't stop the young man from Maine from completing a 14,000 mile spiritual odyssey through the United States. DC's story, "A Journey to Simplify Life," is an enduring classic.

 

Why Make an Equestrian Journey?
“Why are you doing this?” pedestrians have asked Long Riders in a multitude of tongues in countries scattered around the globe. Though the answer to this ancient question is as complex as the wide variety of equestrian explorers represented by the Guild, American Long Rider Andi Mills has expressed what may be the perfect answer to “Why?”

 
Finding Happiness on the Trail
Some Long Riders set off in search of adventure. Others might be looking for an escape from a motorized world. A few are seeking to understand the secrets of their own souls. Hetty Dutra is such a seeker. Her ride along the historic Nez Perce Trail ignited a message buried deep within her DNA and revealed how it is never a matter of mere miles that justify the journey. Hetty was deeply touched when she read what Nelson Mandela said. "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."  Twenty years after completing her life-changing journey along the Nez Perce Trail, she set off again – to find more inner secrets of her own soul.

 

A Notion of Youth Fulfilled

Some of life’s most poignant lessons come in small, unobtrusive packages. This remarkable story is one such tiny treasure. Without any fanfare, Robert Schweiger set off in 1976 to make a 1,200 mile ride across the United States. At the conclusion of his trip, he made an important observation which applies to Long Riders throughout history.
Financially the trip netted nothing. Measured in dollars and cents it could be termed a failure, but a dreamer doesn’t sum up success by the coins in his purse.”

This is a timeless bit of writing by one of the tribal elders who kept equestrian travel alive in the days before the formation of The Guild.

 
The End of the Journey 
How does a Long Rider feel after returning to civilization? Triumph? Disorientation? Emotional loss? Mourning for the horses? English Long Rider Louisa Jebb, rode across Iraq and Syria at the beginning of the twentieth century, encountered all those and more. In the final chapter of her wonderful book, she warns Long Riders what to expect. "Last night we were dirty, isolated, and free; tonight we are clean, sociable, and trammelled." 

 

The History of Equestrian Travel
Have you never wanted to get in the saddle and head for the horizon?  Don’t you remember the first time you understood the freedom which the horse offered you? You are not alone!

If you are thinking of turning your back on the security of home to make an equestrian journey, you are already part of an ancient phenomenon. As this article about the history of equestrian travel explains, the desire to explore the world on horse back has nothing to do with money, religion, gender, language or nationality.

 
In Search of Equestrian Freedom
The story behind the founding of The Long Riders' Guild includes this quote. “I am a Long Rider, one of a handful of men and women upholding a 6,000 year old tradition of nomadic equestrian travel. But before you ask what the Long Riders are, let me tell you what they are not. In this age of anonymous air travel Long Riders are not tourists, trail riders or ring riders. They are the equestrian equivalent of saddle borne astronauts, a tiny, hardy band of risk takers and wisdom seekers. They are unlike tourists, who expend their energy coveting vast mileage yet see nothing more meaningful on their journeys than post cards and casual impressions. Long Riders know better than to become obsessed with finding their destination on a map. They inherit from their horse borne ancestors the knowledge that all maps are flat-faced liars save that sacred document called your heart.”

 

Long Distance Riders in the 21st Century
Will equestrian travel continue in an increasingly motorized age? Cristiano Pereira, a reporter for Portugal’s leading newspaper, Jornal de Notícias, interviewed half a dozen equestrian explorers from five countries to find out. This excellent in-depth investigation received an overwhelming positive public response in Portugal and revealed why the lure of Long Riding will endure.

 

Preserving Equestrian Travel

Man’s pedestrian heritage is in no danger of being forgotten. The legendary route known as the “Inca Trail” in South America is one example.  It is a thousand years old and approximately six thousand kilometres (four thousand miles) long.  Because it is one of the oldest pedestrian trails, it is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.

But this trail was created and used by pedestrians, not horsemen.

This article describes the importance of preserving equestrian travel.

 

The Mystic Mantle of the Horse
Renowned Long Rider author Jeremy James understands that to travel on horseback connects us to our surroundings in a way no other form of travel can. In his remarkable article, “The Mystic Mantle of the Horse,” Jeremy investigates how the horse becomes far more than a form of transport. Our fellow voyager becomes not only our physical ally but our spiritual mentor, our touchstone with the elusive agents of nature.

 

Riding to the Top of the World - A Rare Interview with Vladimir Fissenko
Many people travel on horseback. They have ridden on every continent including Antarctica. But one journey stands alone because of its incredible historical significance; the ride that took Russian Long Rider Vladimir Fissenko from the bottom of the world, Patagonia, to the top of the world, Alaska. 
The journey began in Ushuaia, Argentina and concluded in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, covered 30,000 kilometres (19,000 miles) and took five years to complete. It is not only the mileage which makes Vladimir’s trip unique. In addition to all of his other adventures, including nearly being killed by Indians, Vladimir rode through the terrible Darien Gap jungle that separates Columbia from Panama. This jungle is considered so dangerous that the Swiss Long Rider Aimé Tschiffely avoided it in 1926 and the French Long Rider Jean Francois Ballereau also went around it in 1987.

 

Main Stories from the Road page

Africa

 

Asia

 

Australia and the Pacific

 

Europe

 

Indian Subcontinent

 

Latin America

 

The Poles

Turkey and the Middle East

North America

Russia and Siberia

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Philosophy and History


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