A Long Rider is a person who has ridden over 1000 consecutive miles on horseback. Long riding sounds romantic, but it is a real feat of hardship and a test of physical and mental challenges.
Long riding, as a concept, has been around for hundreds of years – for as long horses and humans have relied on each other throughout history. Yet today, that reliance is now seen as a unique sport without a stopwatch; not well known, but as enduring as the relationship on horseback. HRL’s coverage of this activity was greatly assisted by Lady Long Rider Bernice Ende (our beloved former contributor and Author/Person of Interest), and continues with LRG Founder CuChullaine O’Reilly’s generous contributions!
What is a Long Rider and the Long Riders Guild?
A Long Rider is a person who has ridden over 1000 consecutive miles on horseback. The Long Riders Guild is an international organization that honors those who do so and documents the history of their rides. Founded by CuChullaine O’Reilly in 1994, they are without commercial interest, refuse advertisements, are non-political, and seek unity no matter race, gender, or ethnic background. They encourage academics, the arts, and science. They oversee the Long Riders Guild Academic Foundation, where according to their founder, ”poets, scientists, authors, and equestrian experts come together to share their knowledge.” What better roundtable than that?
With documented rides from Paris to Moscow, through the war zones of Afghanistan, and across the world, Long Riders battle with everything from climate to political uprisings and, in reality, the earth itself – all to achieve the goal of reaching their desired location. Over 100 members are also members of the Royal Geographical Society, which supports research and advanced geography.
Why do they do it? Of course, each individual has their particular objectives and reasons for this arduous mode of travel. In reality, it is a love of life, land, and the exploration of both. What better way to actually see the world and not just drive through it?
Here is an excerpt from the Long Riders Guild website: “In the midst of space-age, high-speed technology, a band of humans has slowed down the earth and sky sweeping past them by seeing the world from the back of a horse. They are called Long Riders. To learn more about an international meeting of some of these ardent equestrian travelers, adventurers, passionate explorers, and their documented journeys, click here.”
Unfortunately, Long Riders have been affected by the Covid19 like everyone else. News updates from the Long Riders Guild site show the worldwide pandemic has caused problems for riders, some attempting to cross borders into other countries, and being subjected to current laws to prevent the spread of the virus. Even equestrian travel within limits has ceased – proving that even with the advantages of social distancing on horseback, no one is immune to this current event.
Long Riders are a very select group and deserve recognition as they indeed represent the combination of words in horsemanship. HRL was delighted to have one of their finest, Bernice Ende, to tell her stories for HRL. With Bernice’s passing in October, we are now equally thrilled to welcome LRG Founder CuChullaine O’Reilly with the generous contribution of The Last Great Journey: Solo across Siberia, detailing Nikita Gretsi’s attempt at a solo equestrian journey from Russia’s Pacific to England’s Atlantic – more than 14,000 km, or 8,000 miles.
And to the Long Riders Guild at large…we hope to see more of your adventures on horseback very soon!