Because no other equestrian journey of this magnitude has ever been attempted, the World Ride was recently described by Swedish explorer, Mikael Strandberg, as one of the ten most important expeditions ever undertaken. The following encouraging statements are from other explorers, journalists and Long Riders.
Australian Long Rider, Tim Cope rode 10,000 kilometres solo from Mongolia to Hungary on the trail of Genghis Khan and was subsequently named "Australian Adventurer of the Year" for this exceptional endeavour. Tim wrote:
In early 2004 as I began to plan for the journey I found the Long Riders Guild and began corresponding with CuChullaine and Basha O'Reilly, two extraordinary adventurers themselves, and Founders of this unique association.
From that day on, Basha and CuChullaine were with me every step of the way. Having collated invaluable advice about equestrian travel from all corners of the globe it allowed me to intelligently plan and anticipate the long haul ahead. What’s more, CuChullaine and Basha had reprinted in excess of 100 equestrian travel books, (many of which had been long out of print - www.horsetravelbooks.com ). They make perfect background reading for inspiration, practical, and historical information.
Quite simply, I wouldn't be where I am now without the Guild, and I believe that the ethos of equestrian explorers helps to keep a sense of fresh adventure in society. They also keep an eye on the equestrian world, exposing phoney adventurer claims, bad equestrian travel equipment, and have their finger on the pulse of all that happens in the genuine adventure travel society. What’s more, they do not accept any advertising money, and so all advice is 100 percent independent.
Basha and CuChullaine, I cannot repay you for your immeasurable moral and logistical support. May your forthcoming equestrian World Ride be a lucky one!
Long Rider Christina Dodwell has been described as the greatest living female explorer, has investigated much of the world on horseback, authored numerous books on exploration, made three television films and more than forty documentary programmes for BBC Radio 4, and was awarded the Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.
Christina wrote: "I take this opportunity to congratulate Basha and CuChullaine for their integrity and hard work during the past many years. Their collaborative approach has created something special, in setting up the Long Riders Guild, which now has Members in 39 countries, and creating the Long Riders website with its extraordinary archives documenting the entire history of equestrian travel. They have accomplished all this with close scrutiny checking both the authenticity of claims and the horse-care of the riders, expelling from the organisation any riders who are found to be frauds or who were known to be cruel to their horses - including one who reached the end of his journey and left his horse tied to a metaphorical post. Basha and CuChullaine are determined to maintain this rigorous code of exploration ethics guided by principles of honour and responsibility for the public's trust. They believe this is all the more important because the modern trend for financial profits is becoming more important than principles.
Now, with all of their work documented in the website, Basha and CuChullaine are preparing to make their World Ride. The World Ride project is not a commercial enterprise, it's about education, DNA research, and about the long-awaited journey of two intrepid riders. I look forward to watching their World Ride unfold, and wish them a safe and happy journey."
French Long Rider Jean Louis Gouraud rode from Paris to Moscow. In addition to helping create the first feature-length Long Rider movie, he has published or written many equestrian travel accounts including Serko, Russie: des Chevaux, des Hommes et des Saints and Deux Chevaux pour un Cavalier. He wrote:
“Basha and CuChullaine O’Reilly know the difference between an adventure, a pony holiday and a real exploit. They can distinguish between a journey where the real hero is the horse, and a stunt where the horse is only an accessory.
It is because they know all this that they have decided to undertake what could be the most extraordinary equestrian journey of all time. Their aim is not to get into the Guinness Book of Records but to show the diversity of the equestrian species, its planetary omnipresence, and the richness of the humans who are allied to them. This expedition will take two years. Or five. Or ten. It doesn’t matter: it’s not a race. It’s a journey. And it’s not just about moving through space, it’s also a pilgrimage in time: because it will be regulated by the beat of the horse’s hooves, and above all because of the meetings which they will make along the way in equestrian civilizations some of which are thousands of years old. Have a good journey, my friends.”
Robin Hanbury-Tenison is considered the doyen of English explorers. Hailed by The Sunday Times of London as “the greatest explorer of the past twenty years,” Hanbury-Tenison made the first land crossing of South America at its widest point, led twenty-four expeditions, has authored a dozen books, including the Oxford Book of Exploration and was awarded the Patron’s Gold Medal by the Royal Geographical Society. He and his wife, Louella, made several remarkable equestrian journeys across France, along China’s Great Wall, through both islands of New Zealand and in the interior of Albania.
Robin said: “Basha and CuChullaine O’Reilly have, since I met them a mere seven years ago, achieved a miracle that I would never have believed possible. To be honest, I thought the idea of compiling a collection of the greatest books by long distance riders was a nice idea, and I was flattered that my four equestrian travel books should be included, but I thought it would be an entertaining flash in the pan. To my amazement and increasing admiration, the O’Reillys have compiled the greatest collection of equestrian travel titles ever and somehow, at the same time, without appearing to pause for breath, compiled an equally large and significant collection of classic travel books. They have done this in the face of cynicism and sometimes outright hostility from the establishment, pioneering a new form of publishing on demand. I am proud to have been with them from the beginning and to have done my little bit to help.
Having put equestrian travel back on the map through their Herculean achievements with the Long Riders’ Guild, CuChullaine and Basha O’Reilly are now setting out on what must the greatest long ride ever. Unlike others who have tried this, I know they will succeed. The book they will write will be the ultimate classic on the subject; the research they are doing into equestrian DNA will contribute hugely to our understanding of the diverse horse breeds with which we share the world; their route across countries and continents will inspire others to follow them and so keep riding alive for future generations. We all wish them an interesting and wonderful journey – and look forward to their safe return.”
Jeremy James rode from Turkey to Wales in 1987. With the collapse of communism in 1990, he set out to explore Easter Europe on horseback. Due to his extensive travels in this part of the world, the International League for the Protection of Horses commissioned Jeremy to assist in rescuing the Lipizzaner horses caught in the Balkan conflict. In addition to his two equestrian travel classics Saddletramp and Vagabond, he authored the seminal work on the origins of the legendary Byerley Turk and is Founding Member of The Long Riders' Guild.
Jeremy had this to say: "Having had the very great pleasure of knowing CuChullaine and Basha O'Reilly for many years now, and being honoured to stand in the ranks of the Long Riders, being personally impassioned about the welfare of any horse - I remain completely confident that any journey undertaken by these two will see their horses return in high condition. When helping others to set up expeditions, CuChullaine and Basha have been at pains to ensure that not only are the correct horses used for the prevailing conditions, (climatic and topographical) - but most importantly, that those horses suffer no hard nor ill treatment, are never over-ridden nor abused, never neglected, never have rain scald, nor suffer from pressure sores, galls or fistulous conditions in any way. At the journey's end, I am aware that both have striven to ensure that the horses are then kept by riders for life (preferably) or at least found good, safe homes. The horses that find themselves in the hands of these two will be the lucky ones. Lucky in their keeping and lucky to have the great good fortune to take part in a wonderful adventure and moreover, lucky to have their names inscribed in the annals of equine history."
Brigadier-General Dr. Thomas G. Murnane DVM, DACVPM, USA (Ret'd) entered the army in 1949 and retired as chief of the US army veterinary corps. As a staff officer with the United States Army Medical Research Command he assisted in the military’s response to the Venezuelan equine encephalitis epizootic which occurred in South America and Central America and erupted in the US in 1971. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and is an active member of the American Veterinary Medical History Society.
General Murnane wrote, "A truly great epiphany in my life has been my recent association with Basha and CuChullaine O'Reilly of The Long Riders' Guild Academic Foundation. It all began when I was identified to The Guild as a veterinarian who might assist in their research of the calamitous equine flu epizootic in the US in 1872. The timeliness of resurrecting this information and renewing interest in equine influenza (E.I.) was fortuitous as Australia and New Zealand have recently experienced outbreaks. I was pleased to share in the Guild's edification of the public and authorities as to the consequences of the historically important epizootic of 1872 and enhance awareness of E.I.
The Long Riders Guild Academic Foundation's Equestrian Wisdom and History Series is an ever-enlarging group of republications of the world's classic horsemanship literature no longer available to the interested public. The Series, as well as other publications of The Long Riders' Guild Press, includes well-researched exposés of equine myth and fabrications which provide valuable, often unique, information and entertaining reading to serious equestrians and historians. I am delighted to be among the circle of friends of CuChullaine and Basha O'Reilly, the progenitors and dedicated leaders of The Long Riders' Guild."
Scottish Long Rider Gordon Naysmith is a Founding Member of the Long Riders who rode 20,000 kilometers from South Africa to Austria.
Author of The Will to Win, Gordon said: “It is the mission of The Long Riders’ Guild to reassure the public that they can trust the word of a Long Rider, as being a Member of The Guild is more than just a matter of miles. It is a question of honour, dignity and behaviour. Basha and CuChullaine O’Reilly epitomize those values and are the embodiment of equestrian morality and literary achievement.”
Long Rider and New York Times best-selling author, Douglas Preston, wrote, "The World Ride will surely be one of the great events marking the opening years of the 21st century. CuChullaine and Basha O’Reilly, two extraordinary human beings, are ideally suited to this valuable and significant undertaking. The World Ride will make a timeless statement about human dignity, worth, and unity in the face of a world wracked by nationalism, sectarianism, war, and economic nihilism. It is particularly needed at this dark time in history. By reviving the ancient and deep Brotherhood of the Horse, the World Ride is a plea for a fresh brotherhood of humankind, one which reflects venerable ideals of equestrian diplomacy, peace, and compassion. These are the self-same values promoted by the Long Riders Guild, founded by the O’Reillys a decade ago, which has grown into an organization of international reach and influence. The World Ride will demonstrate, not by word but by deed, that artificial divisions of border, belief, class and custom can be overcome by people of courage and goodwill. Because, in the end, we are all “long riders” in the great journey of life."
the Publisher/Editor of
Connection magazine, wrote, "Because of the efforts of CuChullaine and
Basha O'Reilly and the Long Riders' Guild, the incredible trove of the Guild's
historical archives regarding the horse has been made available to an
international audience via an unprecedented partnership between various media
outlets here in the US and abroad. Horse Connection magazine is
proud to be a part of this groundbreaking alliance in bringing the Guild's
vitally important research to equestrian enthusiasts worldwide."