The Long Riders' Guild

Stories from the Road

Russia and Siberia

Basha O'Reilly (above) rode from Russia to England, then rode from Mexico to Hole-in-the-Wall, Wyoming along the Outlaw Trail. A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers’ Club, she attended the first international meeting of the Long Riders' Guild, located and visited equestrian travellers throughout Europe, created all of the Guild’s various websites, has published hundreds of equestrian travel books in many languages and is the Executor of the Tschiffely Literary Estate. Author of "Count Pompeii - Stallion of the Steppes" and “Bandits and Bureaucrats.”

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Riding Across Russia – The Story of Count Pompeii
It seemed like a perfectly natural thing to do. Go to Russia, befriend the Cossacks, buy three untamed horses, and then ride them more than 2,500 miles back to England. Of course no one had actually been allowed to ride out of the Soviet Union during the 20th century. But none of those minor obstacles mattered to Basha O'Reilly. In her story "My Kingdom for a Horse." Basha explains how, after arriving on the steppes, she found Count Pompeii, the wild Cossack stallion who went on to become the flying symbol of The Long Riders' Guild

 

From the Ukraine to Paris on Horseback
In 1889 Russian Long Rider Mikhail Asseyev rode from Kiev to Paris (1,646 miles) in 33 days at an average of more than 50 miles a day. Upon his arrival in Paris, the horses were in such excellent condition that the French government awarded the Cossack officer a gold medal. This journey in turn became the inspiration for the modern equestrian travel movement.

 

 

From Paris to Moscow on Horseback
It took five years of careful diplomatic negotiation with sceptical members of the Soviet Union’s government, before French Long Rider Jean-Louis Gouraud obtained permission to ride into Russia.  Despite all of the bureaucratic trouble, Jean-Louis rode into Red Square in the summer of 1990.

 

Mission of Mercy to Siberia
Kate Marsden was a battle-hardened nurse who had cared for the wounded during the war between Russia and Turkey in 1878. Yet even those wartime experiences had not prepared her for the gruelling equestrian journey she undertook in 1891. Having learned of the horrific conditions under which Russian lepers were forced to live, the resolute nurse sought out the imperial assistance of England’s Queen Victoria, as well as the Empress of Russia, then set off to ride thousands of miles across the wilds of Siberia. The nurse, turned equestrian explorer, was intent on bringing medical relief to Russia’s forgotten wounded, as well as finding a herb which was allegedly a cure for leprosy. After having completed one of the most difficult equestrian journeys of the late 19th century, Marsden returned to England where the valiant Long Rider became one of the first women to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

 

Queen of the Cossacks - The Astonishing Story of the Woman who rode across Siberia twice!
The annals of Long Rider history include a number of brave men. They will have to move aside so as to make room for Alexandra Kudasheva, one of the most remarkable female equestrian explorers of all time. She rode across Siberia alone in 1910 and then repeated the journey a few years later.

 

Finding Siberia’s Legendary Horses
The Yakutia region in western Siberia is home to one of the world’s oldest equestrian cultures. A unique breed of horse exists in this region, one which can survive in minus sixty degree weather. Though these horses and their riders had been previously known, their existence was shrouded in doubt due to strict travel restrictions imposed by the Soviet Union. In 2004 Swedish Long Rider Mikael Strandberg set off to explore Yakutia. Prior to his departure, the Long Riders’ Guild requested that Mikael attempt to discover if any Yakut horses had survived the communist era. In a historic report, Mikael reported how he found a thriving horse culture amongst the Yakut tribesmen!

 

Exploring Siberia’s Equestrian Culture
Yakutia, a vast, sparsely populated part of Siberia contains the infamous “Pole of Cold.” The coldest temperature in the northern hemisphere was recorded there, a bone-breaking minus 97 degrees Fahrenheit.  Thus when people think of Siberia the word “horse” does not automatically come to mind. Yet an ancient equine symbol appears on the newly minted coins for the region (left). Why?

New Zealand Long Rider Ian Robinson is the first foreign equestrian explorer to venture into Yakutia in 125 years. His remarkable “Story from the Road” provides an eyewitness account that reveals how he rode through a landscape so vast and uninhabited in 2016 that he did not see another human being for seventeen days.  But this is not only a tale of survival. Ian returned with evidence of an incredible equestrian culture that rides horses which defies belief.

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Russia and Siberia

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