Equestrian World Ride temporarily halted due to animal abuse

Equestrian World Ride temporarily halted due to animal abuse

Posted: Dec 02, 2010 09:56 am EST

"This disaster has delayed our departure" , the founders of the Long Riders Guild, CuChullaine and Basha O´Reilly tells ExWeb´s Mikael Strandberg over phone; "But, we still plan to make the first ride around the ancient Equestrian Equator that encircles the globe, thereby demonstrating how the horse bears a message of unity to all humanity."

The World Ride

CuChullaine and Basha O´Reilly have spent the last ten years of their lives in constant labour creating the Long Riders Guild, its library and scientific foundation. During this time they have helped more than a hundred equestrian expeditions take the field. And, in the summer of 2010, Basha and CuChullaine OReilly prepared to depart on an historic equestrian journey.

"Though twelve men have walked on the moon, no human being have ever ridden a horse around the planet" , CuChullaine tells ExWeb and adds: "Our mission was to ride 12,000 miles along the Equestrian Equator that girdles our globe."

Abuse

ExWeb: "But disaster struck when you arrived to start your World ride from Paris in France?"

CuChullaine: "Regrettably the ride was halted not by bandits or bureaucrats, nor any of the usual challenges which so often end an equestrian expedition. In what appears to be the first such occurrence in modern Long Rider history, our horses were harmed by the trainer entrusted with their care. My horse, Sikunder, was so physically abused he became unrideable and nearly dragged me to death, while Bashas famous Cossack stallion, Count Pompeii, whose flying logo graces the Long Rider website, was systematically starved."

ExWeb: "How could this happen? You two are probably the most experienced Long Riders on earth."

Basha: "The World Ride involved flying my horse, Count Pompeii, from the United States to France, transporting CuChullaines horse from England to France, and moving electronic and equestrian equipment from two continents to a base camp. We had originally intended to base ourselves in Normandy, but a domestic crisis in our hosts household forced us to look for last-minute accommodation. We turned for help to the most trusted Long Rider in France. Upon his strongest personal recommendation we sent our horses to the trainer, to be cared for while we concluded our affairs in England. The subsequent events left our horses shattered and the World Ride temporarily placed on hold."

ExWeb: "Do you take personal responsibility for the damage to your horses?"

Basha: "Of course, because a Long Riders life depends on his horse, the emotional bond between the two species is incalculable. There is an emotional similarity between child- and horse-abuse, because horse-owners are in a position of trust and authority, like parents. As a result of entrusting our horses to a person whom we believed was a professional, we are overcome with guilt, and feel a bit like parents who, having dropped their beloved child off to Sunday school, discovered that the priest there was a paedophile! This is an unregulated trade that preys upon the trust of the public and the laxity of the governments."

ExWeb: "How have these events affected your plans for the World Ride?"

CuChullaine: "This disaster has delayed our departure. We still plan to make the first ride around the ancient Equestrian Equator that encircles the globe, thereby demonstrating how the horse bears a message of unity to all humanity."

ExWeb: "Will Sikunder be able to set off on the great journey? And how are your horses now?"

Basha: "We still dont know if Sikunder will have healed well enough by Spring. You have to imagine that he is akin to a child who lacks the gift of human speech, and what has happened to him was so traumatic that our immediate concern is to re-establish his sense of emotional security."

ExWeb: "Why do you travel with horses?"

Basha: "So long as humanity has fostered a desire to explore this globe, people have swung onto the back of a trusted steed and departed into the unknown, the void, the danger, the bleak, the frightening, the exhilarating, the glorious unexplored reaches of our world.

Even in this age of anonymous air travel, which forces one to journey within the confining steel cocoon of a plane or car, riding a horse links a person to the incredible world around us. You dont watch the world flying by. You interact with it. You dont travel at the speed of sound. You sashay along at the pace of the wind. You dont suffer through security checks. You slow down your heartbeat to join the rhythm of the horses hoof-beats.

Equestrian travel continues to thrill, not because it has changed through the ages but because it hasnt. It fulfils a craving for adventure, travel and excitement."

ExWeb: "Do you have any advice to other Long Riders after this tragedy?"

Basha: "There is a silver lining to this dark cloud. While our horses are recovering, CuChullaine is devoting most of his time to completing the Horse Travel Handbook. This is the most comprehensive summary of equestrian travel wisdom ever accumulated and includes the knowledge of Long Riders past and present. In addition to explaining how equestrian travellers can cope with challenges on every continent, he will certainly be issuing a strong warning to exercise extreme caution when it comes to the care of your horses."

CuChullaine OReilly is the Founder of the Long Riders Guild, the worlds international association of equestrian explorers and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club.
He is currently completing the Horse Travel Handbook, the most comprehensive equestrian exploration guide ever written.

Basha OReilly is a Founding Member of The Guild. In 1995 she rode from Volgograd to London, becoming the only person in the twentieth century to ride out of Russia. After riding the infamous Outlaw Trail from Mexico to Wyoming, she was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club in recognition of her equestrian explorations.

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Regrettably the ride was halted not by bandits or bureaucrats, our horses were harmed by the trainer entrusted with their care. Sikunder, was so physically abused he became unrideable and nearly dragged me to death, while Bashas famous Cossack stallion, Count Pompeii, whose flying logo graces the Long Rider website, was systematically starved.
Image by The Long Riders Guild courtesy The Long Riders Guild, SOURCE
So long as humanity has fostered a desire to explore this globe, people have swung onto the back of a trusted steed and departed into the unknown, the void, the danger, the bleak, the frightening, the exhilarating, the glorious unexplored reaches of our world
Image by The Long Riders Guild courtesy The Long Riders Guild, SOURCE
We still dont know if Sikunder will have healed well enough by Spring. You have to imagine that he is akin to a child who lacks the gift of human speech, and what has happened to him was so traumatic that our immediate concern is to re-establish his sense of emotional security-
Image by The Long Riders Guild courtesy The Long Riders Guild, SOURCE
CuChullaine OReilly is the Founder of the Long Riders Guild, the worlds international association of equestrian explorers and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club. He is currently completing the Horse Travel Handbook, the most comprehensive equestrian exploration guide ever written.
Image by The Long Riders Guild courtesy The Long Riders Guild, SOURCE
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