Last month’s blog was about two of our more adventurous hosts, Barry and Joe Armitage, who spend their lives seeking out and preparing for their next adrenaline rush. There are a group of equine adventurers just like them, who plan and complete amazing trips on horseback in locations all around the world. Many of these people are members of the Long Riders Guild.
The Long Riders Guild was set up in 1994 for men and women around the world who have ridden more than 1000 continuous miles on a single equestrian journey. It’s an invitation only organisation of explorers and to date has members in 45 countries. Members include Claudia Gottet, who rode 8000 miles from Arabia to the Swiss Alps, and Vladimir Fissenko, who rode 19,000 miles from the bottom of Patagonia to the top of Alaska. Another member we know pretty well is Wendy, the MD of Unicorn Trails, who earned her place in the guild by riding in the Andes of Ecuador.
If you’ve ever been gripped by the desire to leave behind a comfortable life in the search for new horizons you’re certainly not alone. The need to explore and travel to destinations unknown is a part of many people throughout the world. Charles Darwin claimed that migratory desire is one of the strongest instincts and was a long rider himself, using horses for his exploratory missions in South America, Australia and Africa.
There are many equestrian travel books available, documenting amazing record breaking journeys and proving what amazing feats horses and humans alike are capable of. Australian adventurer Tim Cope has written a book about his incredible 6,000 mile journey across the Eurasian Steppe, following in the footsteps of Genghis Khan. Beginning in Mongolia, he travelled through Kazakhstan, Russia, and the Ukraine, finishing his journey in Hungary. Take a look at the many books on offer, perhaps you’ll gain inspiration for your own adventure!
Not many people will begin with a 10,000 mile mega-journey, endurance riding and even the more adventurous riding holiday options are good ways to begin and give a bit of insight into what preparation is required for a long rider style expedition. Planning what to pack for a holiday can be stressful enough, never mind having to organise provisions for horse and rider on an epic trek. Take note of the way the horses are cared for on any point to point trails you go on – are they stabled or tethered each night? How is their feed and water transported? What happens if a horse loses a shoe on the trail? All important things to consider!
Whatever you aim to achieve, make it enjoyable for yourself and your equine companion. There’s no competition to ride record breaking numbers of miles, wherever you find yourself in the world just ride on and enjoy the view.