“What began with five Long Riders from three countries has now spread to more than 40 nations.
In every case, one equestrian traveller inspires, encourages, warns or educates another.
One helps you. After your ride, you in turn share your hard won wisdom with those who follow in your hoofprints.
The Guild has always been about aiding our fellows, not winning at their expense.
Likewise, the Guild’s strict standards of protecting the welfare of the horse are also a contrast to the majority of the modern equestrian world.”
The above is an extract from an email we received from CuChallaine O’Reilly the founder of The Long Riders’ Guild. To become a part of what they do has been a dream for us since we found their website and read about all their amazing journeys in 2005. We hope to make this trip a success and to become a member by the end of this year. The guild not only places great emphasis on the welfare of the people undertaking a long ride, but also on the horses’ welfare. This might seem an obvious thing to do but there are an awful lot of people out there for whom the horse (and other animals) are seen as lower forms of life than humans and therefore not worthy of our respect, care and protection.
For Tim and me the horses we take on our Mongolian long ride are our companions. Without them we would not be able to do what we are attempting to do. Spending time around horses can be very special but it can also be very fraught and dangerous. It is important to remember that horses have minds, their own thoughts and are not in any way shape or form a pet. Experience and the confidence to work with them is extremely important. One must also remember that they will be totally reliant on our care and attention during this type of trip.
Mongolians do not generally fence off their land. This means large numbers of horses roam about when not in use. I can guarantee most horses when first captured will not be best pleased to have us take this freedom from them and put them to work! The very least we can do is show them compassion.
Tim and I have been in contact with three members of the guild who have ridden, worked and lived in Mongolia. They have been extremely generous in sharing their experiences with us and have demonstrated why being a part of The Long Riders’ Guild is so special.
During our time in Mongolia we hope to find others who share our beliefs and to learn not just more about ourselves, but more about the Mongolian way of life, their attitudes towards their animals and their land.
I hope that Tim and I will become worthy members and will be able to share our journey with other long riders and to inspire others to undertake their own adventure, with or without horses.