The Long Riders' Guild

Jakki Cunningham

People often describe me as mad - embarking on long rides with a bunch of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds over periods of several months to change the lives of these young people through horses.  With huge encouragement from the Long Riders Guild, I know that the opposite is true.  It is the world of the hedonistic pursuit of money, the Clash of the Titans between the multinationals, the world of faster and faster travel, competitiveness and consumerism, the onward and relentless march to destroy our beautiful planet that is mad, if not insane.  Thank goodness for the LRG who, after my first long ride in 2005, did me the great honour of making me a member of the Guild and from then on has supported me with my dream of changing the lives of young people through long rides and horses. 

To quote but one of them, "After a few falls off my friendís horse I felt horses wasn't for me, but that all changed when I got involved with the Caravan of Hope.  A friend of mine got me into the charity and what a life changing experience it has been for me. Waking up to beautiful horses every morning was a pleasure, living with them for so, so long where we were a family they were like brothers and sisters. It was scary at first I admit with the horses, but as time went by it became so natural to be around them. It has been by far the best experience of my life, from caring to the horsesí needs, riding in all weathers, which by the way is good fun riding in the rain!  Cantering along grassy tracks, what an adventure we have all had. I want to continue riding, learning more about these magnificent creatures, that deep down if you get to know them everyone has a love for, horses are my new best friend who created a journey that changed my life."   

My very deep thanks to the LRG for their continued and ongoing support and for honouring The Caravan of Hope with the LRG flag which we so proudly carried on the last project in 2012.  Long Riders speak the same language wherever they ride across the world.  The language of meditative silence from travel on horseback, the language of those who know what it means to live simply, the language of stoicism when faced with inevitable problems, the language of respect for our noble horses, the language of friendship towards the people we meet along the way, the language of childlike awe faced with the magnificence of nature, the language of peace as we slowly walk, trot or canter over the months or years along our respective journeys.  May the Long Riders Guild continue to bond us on our long travels with horses so that we, in turn, may help others!

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