The Long Riders' Guild

Stories from the Road

Tips on Travel

 

 

Tim Cope (above) rode 6,000 miles solo during a three year journey from Mongolia to Hungary in the hoof prints of Genghis Khan.

Click on any image to go to the story.

That rare thing, the Road Horse
The term “Road Horse” was once commonly used to describe an equine capable of successfully completing extended journeys under a variety of conditions, across any type of country, in any type of weather. In 1847, author and equine travel expert, Rollo Springfield defined such an animal.

“The Road Horse is a strong, vigorous, active kind, capable of enduring great hardship; its stature rather low, seldom exceeding fifteen hands; the body round and compact; its limbs strong, sadly this breed has of late been neglected by those preferring fashion instead of utility.”

 

 

 

The key to equestrian travel, the Pack Horse
Hollywood would have us believe the erstwhile western hero can travel for weeks on end, all the while covering hundreds of miles with just his saddle bags and a blanket. All too often when night arrives the cinematic rider has mysteriously produced a coffee pot, frying pan and enough food to fabricate a hearty evening meal. In fact even a brief list of camp necessities, let alone the food, soon makes it apparent one needs a pack horse and pack saddle.

To Shoe or not to Shoe - an Everlasting Dilemma
The tradition of guarding horses’ hooves did not simultaneously originate alongside riding. In fact hoof protectors didn’t become essential until paved trails and hard roads began causing frequent damage to the animals’ feet. Thus it was the advent of artificial terrain, such as cobblestones and gravel, which helped stimulate early man’s research into equine foot security and even these initial attempts at horseshoeing were not practised for many centuries until after the horse himself was in general use.

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

 
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.

 

Rules for Buying a Horse
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.  She composed an article entitled “21 Rules for Buying a Horse”. As Stevie Anna 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.

 

Across Europe on Horseback - Border Nightmares and Fairytale Hospitality

Beginning in 1993 Italian Long Riders Antonietta Spizzo and Dario Masarotti made multiple journeys across Europe and Russia. They provide an accurate description of the horrors of crossing borders on horseback, balanced by the joys of travelling through Europe and enjoying the local hospitality.

 

 

Crossing International Borders
After being inspired by the legendary Swiss Long Rider, Aimé Tschiffely, Filipe Leite set off in 2012 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 was the most difficult hazard encountered during his epic ride.

 
Busted by Bureaucrats
In 2006 British Long Rider Stephen McCutcheon set off on a historic equestrian journey, a 10,000 kilometre ride from Delhi, India, to Beijing, China!  No one had undertaken a journey in this area and of this magnitude since 1905, when the English Long Rider, Major Clarence Dalrymple Bruce, rode from Srinagar, Kashmir, to Peking, a trip of shorter duration. McCutcheon tried to make equestrian travel history by blazing a new path from the heart of the Indian sub-continent to the capital of China. It wasn’t to be.  McCutcheon became the first person since the Partition of 1947 to have ridden across India and Pakistan. Having reached the western deserts of China, McCutcheon was attempting to ride through the Pamir mountains when he was nearly killed in a brawling mountain torrent.  Having barely survived that danger, McCutcheon's expedition was then stopped by antagonistic Chinese officials. Steve was arrested because of a lack of proper paperwork and the magnificent journey was halted.

Horse Thieves

Many things have changed since our ancestors began to ride thousands of years ago. But stealing a horse still causes a calamity with terrible repercussions.  To learn how to guard against this crime it is necessary to understand that horses are stolen for a variety of reasons, including greed, revenge, tribalism, transportation, hunger, prestige and a desire for fame. Regardless of what motivates the culprit, the horse is a prime target in every country.

 

 

Struck by Lightning
Before setting off to ride across America in 2003, Mike Winter told his wife and family not to worry. What could possibly go wrong on a short 3,500 mile trot across the United States? But Mike, and his mustang Apache, had no way of knowing they were riding straight into storm tossed trouble. "My Pal Apache," recounts the miraculous tale of the horse and Long Rider who were struck by lightning!

 

Nightmare on the Bridge
Australian Long Rider Tim Cope set off in 2004, determined to make a 6,000 mile solo journey from Mongolia to Hungary. He endured many hardships but crossing a bridge in Kazakhstan brought Tim and his horses face to face with death and disaster.

 

 

Tunnels and Bridges
In the summer of 2017 David, Stacia, and Teresa Nahachewsky began a journey from Alberta to British Columbia, Canada. After riding 1,600 kilometres (1000 miles), the Long Rider family had encountered bad bugs, endured harsh weather and avoided dangerous traffic. But waiting up ahead were a series of Bridges and Tunnels that tested the bravery of horses and humans.

 

Traffic – The Long Rider’s Nightmare
Roger Dunnam set off in 1988 to ride from Wisconsin to Kentucky. What should have been a quiet journey became a narrow escape from death, when Roger and his horse were intentionally hit in a deliberate act of road rage.

 

The Horse is Sick
As a child Evelyne Coquet’s dreams had been filled with images of her medieval equestrian hero, French nobleman Duke Godfrey de Bouillon, who had ridden from Paris to Jerusalem during the First Crusade. By the age of twenty-three Evelyne was an accomplished horsewoman ready to follow her wandering star. Thus she set out in 1974 to make preparations for the journey of a lifetime. Believing that a trouble shared is a trouble halved, she enlisted her nineteen-year-old sister, Corinne, to accompany her. It was no gentle pony trek the Coquet sisters were undertaking. Starting from the cathedral of Notre Dame, their route was to cross nine countries, some fiercely at war, take them across more than 6,000 kilometres of dangerous roads, lead them through gruelling deserts and over storm-covered mountains during winter conditions. Yet Evelyne soon discovered that the dream of equestrian adventure is a great deal different from the rough realities of the road.

 
Expect the Unexpected
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.

 

Tips on Equestrian Travel with Children
With the aid of a ridiOng horse and two pack burros, Eliza Allen and her ten-year-old daughter, Zaydee Kiagoes, set off in 2016 to make a 3,500 mile journey along Australia’s Bicentennial National Trail. Eliza has shared valuable advice, explaining how parents can travel safely and successfully with children.

 

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 this 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.

 

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 her horse. 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.

 

Wolves and Long Riders
In 1910 an account was published which described how an equestrian traveller was attacked by wolves, while riding through the Carpathian Mountains.

 

Condors over Cuzco
Ana Beker encountered a tremendous number of hazards during her 17,000 mile ride from Argentina to Canada in 1952. In one infamous incident which occurred in the Andes Mountains, Beker’s horses were attacked by condors.

 
Insects - An Unexpected Danger
Before setting off on an equestrian journey, most travellers realise they will be required to endure many hardships and survive danger. Common worries include deadly traffic and murderous criminals.  What most horse travellers forget is that the lives of them and their horses are often at risk by a forgotten enemy – the insect. The list of horse travellers who became victims of deadly insects includes Alexander the Great and Charles Darwin.
Ticks and Travel – A Deadly Peril
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.

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.

 

Long Distance Travel on Horseback
Sergeant Robert Seney was one of the most significant American Long Riders of the late 20th century. A lifelong horseman, Seney’s mounted career stretched from the cavalry era to the age of the modern Long Riders. Seney rode the Pacific Crest Trail three times and made six journeys between 1967 and 1980. His combined travels through all 48 states exceeded 24,000 miles in the saddle. Bob Seney shared sound advice for would-be Long Riders.

 

Maxims of the Saddle
Daniel Denison Slade, one of America's first veterinarians, made an equestrian journey across New England in 1883. He was wise enough to provide would-be equestrian travellers with a list of tips on how to make a successful journey. The “Maxims” provided by the good doctor still hold true today.

 

Reality versus Romance

You think you’re ready. So you take a deep breath, 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.

Only things don’t work out as you planned. The dream you had longed to enjoy becomes an unexpected type of equestrian nightmare.

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