Russian Geographical Society Honours Legendary Long Rider
Gennadii Semin (left), President of the Russian Equestrian Federation, and Long Rider Jing Li spoke at the Russian Geographical Society in Moscow on, December 5, 2018.
In an ironic twist of fate, the man who was known as “The World’s ‘Most Wanted’ Long Rider,” carried the Long Riders’ Guild flag to the Moscow headquarters of the Russian Geographical Society, thereby honouring the Russian roots of modern equestrian travel.
With Members in 48 countries, every important equestrian explorer in the world was listed as a Member of the Guild - except for the remarkable Jing Li.
The Guild became aware of Jing Li when he concluded a gruelling 9,000 kilometre (5,592 miles) ride from Votkinsk, Russia to Peking, China in 2009.
|In 2007 Jing Li determined to set off on a trans-continental journey that would take him across Russia, Siberia and China. Such a journey had not been undertaken since 1892, when the Japanese Long Rider, Baron Yasumasa Fukushima rode from Berlin to Tokyo.|
Having acquired a strong desire for equestrian travel, Jing Li’s second equestrian journey took him 3,000 kilometres (1,864 miles) along the length of the Great Wall of China.
News of these journeys was received by the Long Riders’ Guild, but despite a nine-year search, repeated efforts to locate the elusive equestrian traveller were to no avail.
Then in early 2018 the Guild received a message from Gennadii Semin, President of the Russian National Equestrian Organisation. He wrote to explain that Jing Li had departed on a solo journey from the Caucasus Mountains and was riding north across Russia. Thanks to the assistance of FITE, Jing Li was located and became a Member of the Guild.
Though locating Jing Li was important, establishing contact with the Russian Equestrian Federation provided an opportunity to encourage “the language of friendship” via horse travel in that country.
“I believe that the activities of the Guild are very important for promoting equestrian travel,” Gennadii Semin said in an interview, which confirmed that FITE shares the Guild’s belief that the horse is a sentient being, not a disposable commodity.
“The Guild’s approach to the well-being of the horse is understood. That is why each of our members is required to comply with the Code of Ethical Treatment of a Horse,” Semin explained.
In the Guild we say that the mother tongue of all Long Riders is "horse."
That is the ancient language of friendship which the Russian Equestrian Federation and the Long Riders’ Guild both understand.
|Count Pompeii is the Cossack stallion who travelled 2,500 miles from Volgograd to London with Basha O’Reilly. This legendary Russian horse is now the flying logo of the Long Riders’ Guild.|
The Long Riders’ Guild flag represents those horse-humans who protect, preserve and promote the ancient art of equestrian travel. Though the Guild’s equestrian explorers have crossed every continent except Antarctica, only exceptional journeys are granted the privilege of carrying the Guild’s flag.
As an example of the Guild's philosophy of equestrian brotherhood, a Guild flag that had previously crossed the United States with an American Long Rider was dispatched to Moscow, where it was carried by Jing Li on his ride north across Russia.
|Though it had taken nearly a decade to locate Jing Li, the search has been worth it. When asked to explain why he had set off to become a Long Rider, Jing Li responded, "This is not a game, I think of it as the meaning of life.”|
After riding 4,380 kilometres (2,721 miles) across Russia, on December 5, 2018 Jing Li carried the Guild flag into the Moscow lecture hall of the Russian Geographical Society.
To mark the occasion, Gennadii Semin, President of FITE, the International Equestrian Tourism Federation, presented a special lecture which explained how Russia played a remarkable role in horse-human history.
“The history of equestrian travel is directly related to Russia,” Gennadii Semin said, in a lecture that was translated into English and is available on-line.
Gennadii cited a special study published by the Guild that documents the astonishing and dangerous journeys done during the last 300 years. This unique report documents the women and men who had the courage to ride across Russia, from the days of the Czars, through the era of the Soviet Union, and who are blazing new trails in the 21st century.
|To commemorate the ancient trade route used to transport Chinese tea to Russia, Jing Li is now making plans to ride 11,250 kilometres (7,000 miles) from St. Petersburg, Russia to Jiang'an China.|
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