“What a surprise! If the Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration isn’t a Magnum Opus, then nothing counts. I believe CuChullaine O’Reilly has written the most astounding book in equestrian historical literature.
What dedication - and most accessible. Punctuated by photography, proof evident, bibliography, first-hand accounts, nothing is omitted. The references are so thick the mind staggers. The academics will reel. O’Reilly has put them to shame. It’s nuts and bolts, philosophical, thoughtful, heart breaking, heart warming - and advisory. It lies before you - a real treasure.
What a solid, indivisible, scholastic, sensitive examination and revelation of man and his travelling horse it is. It is not describable in a few mere sentences because it’s huge - the fruit of CuChullaine’s many long years of effort - and if you wonder if it’s paid off, then you might have to wait for eternity because that’s how long it will last.
It’s a staggering achievement.
To have sat down to compose a cyclopaedia is one thing but to deliver an encyclopaedia is quite another. Ben Jonson, one of the most learned men in the 17th century, composed an encyclopaedic work of the English Renaissance literary and social scene. Pierre Larousse was a French encyclopaedist who created an outstanding educational work in 19th-century France. O’Reilly ranks alongside Jonson and Larousse for his thoroughness and industry.
What an accumulation of detail, what a mind! I cannot imagine how exhausting it must have been because of the extensive nature of its composition.
And to have created the Horse Travel Handbook too. What a pair of masterpieces!
CuChullaine has fulfilled his purpose in life a few times over with these two diadems.
The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration will fall instantly into the collectible, a must for any horseman’s library.
I’m deeply honoured to find my name and photographs in it, deeply honoured.
What a staggering achievement!
CuChullaine, you’ve joined the Immortals.”
Jeremy James FRGS
Founder Member of The Long Riders’ Guild
Jeremy James is the English equestrian author who undertook pioneering research into the role of the horse in the Ottoman Empire before writing the historically accurate book, The Byerley Turk. He is also the author of the equestrian travel books Saddletramp and Vagabond, as well as Debt of Honour: The story of the International League for the Protection of Horses.
Editor’s Note – The author presented autographed proof copies of the three volumes of the Encyclopaedia to his friend, Jeremy James.
In the accompanying letter to Jeremy, CuChullaine wrote, “It is true that 400 Long Riders contributed some essential bit of advice or shared a key experience. A few equestrian explorers appear more than once. You are a singular exception in that you appear more than fifty times in the three volumes. To say that you have influenced the course of equestrian travel would be a vast understatement. Between your two equestrian travel books, the Byerley Turk, your emails, and phone conversations, you single-handedly contributed more equestrian travel and spiritual wisdom than any other person in history. It is fair to say that in some respects the Encyclopaedia is in a way a tribute to your life, your travels, your search for knowledge, your curiosity, your generosity, your kindness – and our friendship. If anyone has a right to step back and say, 'I helped bring this to life,' it is you.”
After reading and reviewing the books, Jeremy asked permission to donate the historically important volumes to the National Library of Wales. In a letter sent to CuChullaine, Jeremy wrote, “There is, in reality, no better home for them, to be more widely known or to be comprehended properly than the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. After all, Wales is still a landscape people traverse by horse and the magnificent library building is a fitting home for your work, and you, by your ancestry, being a Celt. It fits.”