The Long Riders' Guild

Stories from The Road - page 2


Taking a keen interest in the natural world is one of the treasured traditions of equestrian explorers. Carl Linnaeus, who devised the system used to classify all living beings, rode across Lapland in 1732. Before he wrote his famous book, Charles Darwin rode in South America, Australia and Africa. British Long Riders Tim Mullen and Sam Southey also rode in search of answers. During their journey across Mongolia they undertook a survey of the incidences of colic among Mongol Horses. The first “Mongol Colic Study” reveals surprising discoveries.

Having lived in Greece for many years, British Long Rider Penny Turner has often saddled her trusty horse, George, and set off to explore the fascinating country. In a poignant article entitled “Exploring the Wild West of Northern Greece,” the renowned naturalist recalls how, while riding through the remote north of the country, she encountered Nature’s beauties and Mankind’s evils.

Though many Long Riders have crossed a continent, only one has written an epic length poem about such a journey. “The Long Trail West” recounts how Lorern Stubbs (right) and fellow Canadian Long Rider Phil Jakubowski (left) followed the trail of adventure across prairies and mountains to the distant sea.

After being inspired by the legendary Swiss Long Rider, Aimé Tschiffely, Filipe Leite set off on an historic journey from Toronto, Canada to his home in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Even though Filipe knew he would face many challenges, he had not realized that one of the terrible obstacles which had hampered “Tschiffely’s Ride” was waiting to threaten his own progress. In his alarming article, “Nightmare at the Border,” Filipe explains how crossing international boundaries has been the most difficult hazard during an epic 9,000 kilometre ride through nine countries.
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.
Click on the picture to read DC's story, "A Journey to Simplify Life." 
“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, North American Long Rider Andi Mills has expressed what may be the perfect answer to “Why?” Click on picture to read her definition! 

Once Lithuania’s independence had been assured, the country’s riders began to revive their ancient equestrian culture. Not only were traditions rejuvenated, a series of remarkable journeys were taken on Lithuania’s famous Žemaitukai horses. Gintaras Kaltenis is one of the modern Lithuanian Long Riders who is leading an effort to reclaim his country’s heritage and protect its horses. Having authored a book about his country’s riding renaissance, he agreed to answer questions for a special interview.

In July 1962, when equestrian travel was in danger of blinking out, three young women set off to ride from Pennsylvania to California. Click on picture to read a short but moving account of their adventures.

The worst accident in the history of modern equestrian travel has taken 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 on Monday, January 28th 2013 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.

When Long Riders from around the world heard about Christie Henchie's death, they rushed to send their heartfelt condolences. 
wpe3.jpg (16250 bytes) In 1925 Aimé Tschiffely, a Swiss teacher living in Argentina, set out on an epic ride with two Criollo horses, Mancha and Gato.  The amateur explorer's goal was to travel ten thousand miles from Buenos Aires to Washington, DC, over some of the world's most inhospitable country.  Their odyssey lasted two and a half years, forced horses and rider to survive through near-impossible conditions, and ended with a hero's welcome at the White House.  Click on picture to read about the astonishing ride that changed the course of equestrian travel history forever. 

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.  This desire has nothing to do with money, religion, gender, language or nationality.  Click on picture to read an amazing history of equestrian travel.

You think you’re ready. You’ve laid your plans with great care. The equipment is the best you could buy. You run through your mental check list one last time, decide you’ve done everything you can to prepare properly before setting off on your great equestrian adventure. So you take a deep breath, and then, just when you’re ready to put your foot into the stirrup, swing into the saddle and ride towards the unknown horizon that’s been beckoning to you for so long, an unforeseen foe threatens to stop you in your tracks.

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 is preparing to set off again – to find more inner secrets of her own soul.
Arthur Patey Elliott and Goldflake travelled from Land’s End to John O’Groats, covering 1176 miles during August, September, and October 1955. It is possible that he was inspired by Aimé Tschiffely and Margaret Leigh, and also possible that he in turn inspired Bill Holt.

It seemed like a perfectly natural thing to do. Go to Russia, befriend the Cossacks, buy three wild 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.

Click on picture to read how she found Count Pompeii, the wild Cossack stallion who went on to become the "poster horse" of The Long Riders' Guild, in her story "My Kingdom for a Horse."

After surviving a host of physical dangers and emotional challenges many a Long Rider has had to face a final dilemma. What to do with the cherished horse who has carried you so far and changed the fabric of your life? The options are never pleasant when the journey ends far, far away from the Long Rider’s home.  At the conclusion of his ride through Turkey, Welsh Long Rider Jeremy James was faced with such a difficult decision. In his moving story, “The Old Man, the Lake and the Stallion,” the Long Rider known as the “poet of the saddle” shares memories of a painful past.  Click on picture to read his moving story.

When asked in 1879 why she wanted to journey to such an outlandish place as Patagonia, Lady Florence Dixie replied without hesitation that she was taking to the saddle in order to flee from the strict confines of polite Victorian society.

“Palled for the moment with civilization and its surroundings, I wanted to escape somewhere, where I might be as far removed from them as possible. 

Click on picture to read an extract from her book in which she relates how she and her party narrowly escaped a wild fire.

 Click on picture to read the most moving account of how a Long Rider feels after returning to civilization.  "Last night we were dirty, isolated, and free;  to-night we are clean, sociable, and trammelled.This is the final chapter in Louisa Jebb's wonderful account of her journey in Iraq and Syria at the beginning of the twentieth century. 
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