Subject: Adventurous People and Horses
just finished reading your book, "She Flies without Wings" -
congratulations on a very interesting work.
raise a number of important points in the book, I noticed that
there was a complete absence of any reference to the ancient
art of equestrian travel as it pertains to both men and women.
Riders' Guild is the world's first international association
of equestrian travellers (http://www.TheLongRidersGuild.com).
Each of our members has ridden a continuous journey of at least
a thousand miles, and there are nearly 200 of us in 32 countries.
For example, I rode 2,500 miles from Russia to England, and
later travelled 1,500 miles up the Outlaw Trail in the Western
United States; my husband CuChullaine made the longest equestrian
trip in Pakistan's history; Gordon Naysmith rode 13,000 miles
from South Africa to Austria; Nathan and Elly Foote rode from
the tip of Patagonia to Alaska, etc. etc. [CLICK HERE to read
the rest of this letter]
Long Riders' Guild welcomes anyone who has made a thousand-mile
journey without abusing the horses, I would like to draw your
attention to a number of American women who have made great
trips in the United States, including:
was the first woman to ride alone across the continent in 1910.
rode from Ohio to Los Angeles in 1941. A few miles from her
destination, she was met by Roy Rogers and Trigger, who escorted
her into the city. Shortly after her return home, the Japanese
bombed Pearl Harbor. A few days later, Gene Autry telephoned
Ginny and asked her to be the "advance guard" for the country's
first war bond drive. Ginny then rode from Ohio to New York,
where she led a ticker-tape parade of Hollywood stars, including
Gene Autry, down Broadway. Ginny is a member of The Long Riders'
Guild and still raising horses at the age of 82!
Wilkins was told in 1952 that she had six months to live. So
armed with only $32 that she made from selling home-made pickles,
clutching a gas station road map of the USA, and mounted on
a broken down summer camp horse named Tarzan, this amazing woman
set off to fulfil a long-held dream - to see the Pacific. She
rode for 6,000 miles before reaching Los Angeles, where she
appeared on the Art Linkletter Show. Messanie then returned
home to Maine, and did not die until twenty years later!
Long Rider Member Mary-Ellen Eckleburg rode 3,000 miles down
the Mississippi from the Canadian border to New Orleans. When
some people scoffed that she had cheated by trailering her Arab
gelding across some dangerous bridges, Mary-Ellen turned round
and rode 3,000 miles back to Canada, on the other bank of the
the mother-and-daughter Long Rider team Pat and Linda Schamber
rode from coast to coast.
Eleanor Carter also rode across the United States, despite the
handicap of being totally deaf! And our most recent member,
Lisa Wood, rode 1,500 miles up the Pacific Coast Trail in 1993,
followed by a 3,000 mile trans-US horseback journey in 2001,
and has recently returned from riding in Tibet.
these are all amazing women, The Long Riders' Guild believes
that riding horses should not be a celebration of a triumph
in the so-called 'battle of the sexes.' This battle does not
exist among the equestrian travel community, where it is replaced
by a mutual respect for each other's achievements, regardless
of gender. We Long Riders take no account of nationality, religion,
or sex - priding ourselves instead that we only speak 'Horse'.
book was interesting on many levels. I was particularly struck
by the way you noted that, on the whole, women are better than
men at interpreting non-verbal communications because women
are genetically programmed to understand the needs of babies
and small children.
spirituality of which you speak, the way the horse can take
us to new places inside ourselves as well as on a physical plane,
is by no means limited to women, as your book implies. The 3
m.p.h. average speed of a horse journey slows your body, mind
and soul regardless of your gender, and the result is often
a spiritual awakening.
awakening is in direct contrast to the competition-based search
for Blue Ribbons, and the use of a horse as a "trophy" to validate
the rider's vanity, which is so predominant in the equestrian
community of developed countries. Equestrian Travel is not about
such an external show. It is instead about making an internal
it sad that women in the USA are willing to celebrate the horse,
yet most of them continue to tether themselves to the ring.
The horse represents physical, geographical and emotional freedom.
Yet the majority of riders, men and women, are docile slaves
of the barn, riding in circles like goldfish swimming round
a bowl and imagining they are in the deep blue sea.
Travel is the ancient answer! Equestrian travel is an activity
that requires courage, determination, diplomacy, a passion for
horses, and often a talent for languages. In return, the Long
Rider bonds with his or her horse on a far deeper level than
can possibly be achieved in the dressage ring, or even on a
cross-country course. (I speak from experience, as in my childhood
I was a member of the British Pony Club and competed in those
events, before graduating to hunting, dressage, three-day-eventing,
and endurance riding.) Yet none of those passive equestrian
experiences could equal the thrill of setting off on my Cossack
stallion, Count Pompeii, early in the morning bound for a new
horizon, with no idea where nightfall would find us, or what
unexpected adventures we would meet on the road.
travel, you the rider depend on your horse to get you to your
goal for that night, and your horse depends on you to provide
food, water, and shelter from the worst of the elements. You
Long Rider Lisa Wood said in an interview after her Pacific
Coast Trail ride, "You don't travel 1,500 miles on a horse and
then sell him - you marry him."
like to invite you and your readers to learn more about equestrian
travel by visiting The Long Riders' Guild website: www.TheLongRidersGuild.com.
This website is the repository of more information about equestrian
travel than has ever been collected together in the 3,400-year
history of this most ancient human-equine activity. You will
find the History of Equestrian Travel, the Equestrian Travel
Timeline, which lists all the known Long Rides, thrilling Stories
from the Road, a list of Members, and much, much more.
forward to hearing what you think about the issues I have raised.
The Long Riders' Guild