The Long Riders' Guild

Stories from The Road - page 1

The Long Riders' Guild is committed to preserving the oral legends and written accounts passed on by the world’s equestrian explorers. One essential part of this effort are the hundred-plus "Stories from the Road."

Therein are found the works of famous equestrian travel authors from the past such as Charles Darwin, Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene, Lord Byron and Aimé Tschiffely, as well as modern masters such as Jeremy James, Robin Hanbury-Tenison, CuChullaine O’Reilly and Tim Cope.

However we also proudly showcase previously unpublished work by Long Riders from a host of countries and any Member of the Guild is welcome to contribute to this, the largest collection of equestrian travel narratives in history. The topics on offer are as varied as the Long Riders they represent. Tales of high adventure include being chased by a pack of ravenous Romanian wolves and being struck by lightning in the saddle. Other stories explore the spiritual search which Long Riders like DC Vision and Andi Mills have articulated for the first time.

A special feature is the extensive collection of French language articles written by Basha O’Reilly, the international correspondent for the magazine Randonner à Cheval.

Click on any picture or link to ride along and enjoy the work of each of these Long Rider authors.

Polar Ponies

Mounted man has been riding through winter weather for centuries. But the story of how horses were used to explore the Arctic Circle and Antarctica has been largely ignored or misinterpreted. Polar Ponies, based upon an evidence presented in “The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration,” explains how meat-eating Siberian horses accomplished remarkable feats in the frozen lands at the top and bottom of the Earth. The photo shows Tom Crean and Teddy Evans alongside the horses used to explore Antarctica in 1912.

Riding Across Korea

Though Korea is now separated into two hostile nations, in 1894 it was a kingdom where ancient customs still held sway. Having already ridden in Hawaii, Persia, Japan and Tibet, Isabella Bird was determined to put her saddle on one of Korea’s notoriously savage horses and set off in search of more adventures.  The first woman to be made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and one of the most celebrated travel writers of the 19th century, Bird’s account of Riding Across Korea provides a glimpse into a lost age.

Davenport’s Dog

It is a common idea. Why not take a dog along when you set off on an equestrian journey? Homer Davenport loved dogs. So when he made a journey into the Ottoman Empire in 1906, in search of the best pure-bred Arabian horses, Davenport decided that his expedition needed a canine companion. As a special Story from the Road explains, life doesn’t always go the way we planned, as Davenport and other dog-owning Long Riders have learned.

How to Ride in Central Mongolia

 

Dutch Long Rider Simone Johanna Aleida wrote the first in a new series of articles which will provide accurate advice about making an equestrian journey in a specific country.

How to Ride in Argentina

Italian Long Rider Valerio Ceconi describes how he spent more than three months making a solo equestrian journey in Patagonia and Argentina.

Lost Sea Expedition Documents a Changing America
Bernie Harberts and his mule, Polly, travelled 2,500 miles with a tiny wagon from Neptune, Saskatchewan to Fort Hancock, Texas. During an in-depth Question & Answer interview with the Guild, Bernie discussed his journey, the film he made single-handed, and the unexpected discoveries he made along the way.

Long Rider Legends
In 1912 four riders known as the Overland Westerners (left) gathered at the small town of Shelton, Washington. They were preparing to embark on a 20,000 mile ride across America that they hoped would bring them fame and fortune. Instead they disappeared into oblivion. An article entitled
Forgotten Heroes, written by CuChullaine O’Reilly in 1997, recounts their tragic story and began an effort to help gain recognition for the legendary Long Riders.

Longest 20th Century Horse Journey Honoured
Four idealistic men set off to ride to all 48 American state capitals. The gruelling three-year odyssey made by the Overland Westerners (left) took them across deserts, mountains and swamps. But what should have been a joyful journey became a tale of tragedy. An investigative article written in 2015 by Washington journalist Tristan Baurick helped bring this neglected story out of the shadows. Entitled The Longest Ride, the article includes photographs taken during the journey and is enriched by explanatory videos.

 

Scholastic Study Reveals New Evidence about Remarkable Ride
The story of the Overland Westerners’ ride to 48 American state capitals should have made them legends. The four men, led by George Beck (left), had endured three years in the saddle. When they arrived at their final destination, the
Panama­-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915, they expected to be greeted as heroes. Instead an Irish cop yelled, “Get them hay burners off the street.”
What Beck and his friends didn’t know was that they were victims of changing times. The American public was no longer interested in mounted champions. They were clamouring instead for modern marvels. Thus for more than a century no one realized that social and political factors had played an important part in undermining the success of the Overland Westerners.
In 2016 American Long Rider Samantha Szesciorka was the first scholar to realize that the fate of the “lost” Long Riders was connected to the dawning of the motor age. Her in-depth study, entitled
Chasing Fame from the Saddle: The Odyssey of the Overland Westerners, reveals how the advent of the automobile had unforeseen implication for Beck and his companions.

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 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.

Saddlebag Safety

Many Long Riders have used the waterproof Ortlieb saddlebags. Yet if not placed properly, the bags ride too low and may injure the road horse. German Long Rider Sabine Keller provides answers and photos on how to resolve this technical problem.

Prior to departing on a solo ride across Argentina, Stevie Anna Plummer read the Horse Travel Handbook and sought advice from experienced Long Riders.  Having spent months trying to locate and purchase horses fit for travel, Stevie Anna had learned how difficult that task was.  So she composed a “Story from the Road” entitled 21 Rules for Buying a Horse. As she clearly warns, this is a process which is filled with deception. Yet the 21 tips she provides a) make perfect sense b) are backed by excellent evidence and c) are written in such clear English that any of the many foreign readers who visit the Guild website can easily understand what she is advising them to do.

Long Rider Discovers Defence Against Deadly Horse Attack

The vast majority of people do not view horses as being potentially dangerous. They adhere to a common belief that horses are "prey animals" who "mean you no harm." This is a dangerous assumption. Having endured multiple encounters with wild horses, American Long Rider Samantha Szesciorka  gave serious thought to how she might protect herself and Sage from curious or aggressive equines. A special report explains how Samantha’s eyewitness experiences resulted in the creation of a simple, inexpensive, and effective invention that can work anywhere and will save Long Rider lives.

Long Rider Safety in the 21st Century

In 2013 the worst accident in the history of modern equestrian travel took the life of a female Long Rider, left her companion seriously wounded and gravely injured their horses. English Long Rider Christine Henchie, 29, was killed instantly by an out-of-control bus in Tanzania. Her fiancé, South African Long Rider Billy Brenchley, 43, escaped death by inches but suffered a broken leg.

That is why Meredith Cherry devoted so much time and effort to locate and obtain a set of equipment which would dramatically improve the margin of safety for her and her horse, Apollo.

Meredith is the first woman to attempt to ride to the 48 states in the continental USA. She spent two years carefully preparing her route and studying equestrian travel history. In addition she sought advice from Long Rider Lisa Stewart, who has made two journeys in the USA.

The result of Meredith’s research is a set of equipment that makes the Long Rider and Road Horse highly visible to drivers. In a special Story from the Road, Meredith provides photographs which show the equipment that is keeping her and Apollo safe during their 10,000 mile journey.

Tips on Equestrian Travel with Children

With the aid of a riding horse and two pack burros, Eliza Allen and her ten-year-old daughter, Zaydee Kiagoes, set off to make a 3,500 mile journey along Australia’s Bicentennial National Trail. Having completed half the trip, Eliza has sent a valuable “Story from the Road” explaining how parents can travel safely successfully with children.

In "Hoofprints of Patagonia" French Long Rider Capucine Lelièvre describes how “Equestrian culture is very much alive at the end of the world". (PDF).  Click on picture to read "Argentine à Cheval."

Ocean to Ocean

A Tribute to "Two-Gun" Nan, the first woman to ride "Ocean to Ocean", and her horse Lady Ellen. This poem was written by the famous Cowboy Poet TJ Casey

Hoofing it on the PCT 

Gillian Larson rode her mare, Shyla, 4,286 kilometres (2,663 miles) from the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail all the way to Canada. The experienced Long Rider, who is currently making her second journey along the PCT, wants to contribute to the success of others who are hoping to experience the PCT on horseback by gathering information for a guidebook.

Meanwhile Gillian has written a special “how to” article for the Guild. It explains the difficulties encountered by Long Riders who travel on this popular trail.

Preparing for a trek on the BNT

Kathryn Holzberger (right) provides valuable advice on how she and Preston Stroud (left) rode 5,200 kilometres along Australia’s challenging Bicentennial National Trail.

In the first equestrian travel article in the Czech language, Dalibor Balut recounts how his journey around the Czech Republic took him on the route previously ridden by Jan Žižka (left), a national hero to the Czech people.

“Let the Tears Flow”

An emotionally powerful article, written by Australian Long Rider Donna Cuthbert, reveals the hidden heartbreak which lies like an undetected threat at the end of many equestrian journeys.

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.

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.


An Equestrian Pilgrimage from England to Spain

The lure of a long-distance ride leads Mefo Phillips to team up with her sister Susie and their spotted Appaloosa horses Leo, a flirt with a passion for Mars Bars, and affectionate Apollo, for a journey along the medieval Way of St. James from Canterbury Cathedral to Santiago Cathedral. Nearing the end of their journey they encounter an unexpected obstacle.

 

 


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.


Growing up on the Pacific Crest Trail

In 1969 Barry Murray, his wife and three young children set off on a journey that was to become a Long Rider legend. The Murrays were determined to be the first family to ride the length of the Pacific Crest Trail, a gruelling 4,286 kilometres (2,663 miles) long route that leads from Mexico to Canada. This “Story from the Road” tells the inspiring story of how husband, wife, children and horses rode into history.


Lucy Leaf overcame a great many challenges during her 8,000 mile journey through the United States. Ironically her life was put at its greatest risk after she stepped down from the saddle. Like other Long Riders in Europe and North America Lucy became a victim of an insect-borne health hazard that poses a danger to millions of horses and humans in dozens of countries. Lucy’s vital report, “Ticks and Travel – A Deadly Peril,” is the first equine travel study to document how ticks carrying Lyme Disease represent one of the most frightening threats faced by Long Riders today.


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.

Turkish journalist and horseman Uğurhan Acar is leading a movement to encourage equestrian travel in his country. He has been interviewed by AÇIK RADYO and formed a Facebook page to promote equestrian travel in his country. The Turkish advocate has now penned “Uzun Yol Biniciliği – (Long Riding in Turkey)” in the hope that he will inspire the first person in his country to become a modern Long Rider.


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.

Click on picture to read an article about the importance of preserving equestrian travel.

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