The Long Riders' Guild

The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration



CuChullaine O'Reilly

The three-volume Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration is the most extensive study of equestrian travel ever created.


Volume 1 consists of The Preparation, The Horses and The Equipment, Volume 2 consists of The Challenges and Volume 3 consists of The Journey, The Aftermath and The Epilogue.


Former generations of horse travellers took the basis of their equestrian knowledge for granted. For centuries they passed on wisdom in an oral tradition, never foreseeing the day when horses would be replaced as the primary mode of transportation.


The result was the loss of humanity’s collective equestrian travel wisdom. A treasure trove representing more than 6,000 years of cumulative human-horse travel experience was lost in less than 100 years due to global apathy. Thus as the 20th century came to a conclusion mankind knew more about the surface of the moon than it did about the once vital topic of horse travel.


CuChullaine O’Reilly, the Founder of the Long Riders’ Guild, spent more than thirty years searching the world for this endangered equestrian knowledge. Early in his search CuChullaine was told by James Allen, the world’s most respected equestrian publisher, that no such comprehensive study had ever been attempted. Nothing of an international nature had yet been created.


According to Allen there were only two types of available texts. A few travellers had left accounts of their individual journeys. But these were intended as entertainment. Any information had to be carefully extracted from amidst hundreds of pages of narrative. The only exceptions to this rule were two out of print studies written in French and German. But these were based upon the authors’ limited travels and did not take into account the immense knowledge of other Long Riders. Plus, because they were penned in the late 20th century both volumes were badly out of step with the new internet age.


The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration is not the limited personal view of the author. It is not the recollections of a single traveller. It does not promote the superiority of one race or culture.


The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration contains the collective wisdom of more than 400 Long Riders. The pages reveal their forgotten equestrian history, complete with their gallant struggles against inconceivable odds. Their books are honoured in the Bibliography which includes more than 200 titles dating back hundreds of years. The pages are enriched by nearly a thousand images, drawings and photographs.


As might be expected this comprehensive book, which took six years to write, offers every conceivable type of advice about the basics of equestrian travel such as how to plan a route, how to choose a travelling companion, how to find a road horse, how to load a pack saddle, how many miles to travel per day, how to feed and shoe your horse, how to cross rivers, how to negotiate borders, how to survive in traffic, how to deter horse thieves, etc.


Thus the Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration is a book containing hundreds of pages of practical wisdom gained from the travels of the greatest equestrian explorers.


It is also a guidebook to the inner way. The wise Long Rider knows he is setting off on two journeys, the external and the interior, that he will be required to travel along the parallel streams which run through every equestrian journey, the practical and the philosophical. Both require careful study. A few books have addressed the practical aspects of horse travel. But no one has examined the philosophical side. The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration doesn’t just tell you how. It reveals why.


The Epilogue deals with issues that confront us all as human beings.


This unique work represents an Ark, not of animals two by two, but of mankind’s equestrian travel knowledge, consisting of every scrap of wisdom found in ancient tomes, the lessons learned from countless miles, the practical knowledge garnered from generations of horse-humans, our species' collective equestrian evidence gathered together for the first time, preserved, and presented to posterity. It is a book that serves as a bridge to mankind’s collective equestrian travel heritage. Its message transcends nationality and time.


After decades of unrelenting labour, the Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration is nearing its conclusion. If you would like to be informed of its completion, please email the Long Riders Guild webmaster.


Advance Reviews


“The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration constitutes that rare find: a work that is at once historical and literary. Author CuChullaine O’Reilly possesses the singular gift of being able clearly to convey a vast store of knowledge and, often, genuine wisdom. That gift comes only from one immersed, heart and soul, in a living tradition, in this case the tradition of the horseman and particularly the Long Rider.”
David Dorondo teaches the first university course on “The Horse in European History” and is the author of “Riders of the Apocalypse: Germany Cavalry and Modern Warfare.”


“Today, in the West the horse/man relationship has been reduced to contrived spectacles for the pursuit of coloured ribbons. CuChullaine O’Reilly’s book is providing all equestrians an enlightened view of horsemanship rooted in history.”

Known as the “compassionate inventor,” Robert Ferrand created the MAMP adjustable pack saddle, developed the world’s first computer saddle pressure mapping system and invented the Saddletech Gauge that measures the shape of the horse’s back.


“CuChullaine O’Reilly is the lore-master of the Long Riders’ tribe. After decades of amazing research, his wonderfully written Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration represents a literary landmark in the study of horse travel.”

Russian Long Rider Vladimir Fissenko rode 18,000 miles from the bottom of Patagonia to the top of Alaska.


“What an achievement and what a depth of profound knowledge are on display in the epic Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration. I believe CuChullaine O’Reilly’s mammoth undertaking in producing such a vast and comprehensive work will be treasured not only by future Long Riders but be seen as a unique treasury of horse and human wisdom. The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration is a beacon of sanity lighting the way.”

Explorer John Hare is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers’ Club who was awarded the Lawrence of Arabia Gold Memorial Medal for exploration under extreme hazard and is the author of “Shadows Across the Sahara.”


“The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration is not about one nation. It represents the collective wisdom of humanity’s travel on horseback. This is a book of marvels that includes precious stories, valuable ideas, forgotten history and endangered practical knowledge. Such a book could never have been written by an idle spectator of passing events. Equestrian travel is CuChullaine O’Reilly’s ruling passion and no reader will doubt that the Encyclopaedia represents a labour of love. “

Lithuanian Long Rider Gintaras Kaltenis rode from the Baltic to the Black Sea and is the author of “Zygis Zemaitukais iki Juodosios Juros.”


“No one has written about equestrian travel as CuChullaine O’Reilly has. The author misses nothing. His breadth of knowledge is astonishing. The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration is a compilation of collective experience across the ages, across cultures, and across the globe. It contains information that will be easily lost if not recorded. This book is not only vital to equestrian travelers, it is essential to our human history.”

American Long Rider Lucy Leaf made an 8,000 mile journey through the United States.


“The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration by CuChullaine O’Reilly is a timeless equestrian classic. This work is fresh, extremely well written and feels as if you are reading a best seller. Once I commenced reading it was hard to put it down as every page was packed with juicy real-life stories and important historical facts. Only a renowned Long Rider and celebrated author such as CuChullaine could have put together this Bible of Equestrian Travel.”

Brazilian Long Rider Filipe Leite rode from Canada to Brazil and is the author of “The Long Ride Home.”


“The Long Rider ‘tribe’ is scattered across the continents. Thus a mass of collective knowledge and tradition lay dispersed in the legends and customs of so many cultures. It gathered dust in the journals of the old time explorers. And it was held by the memories of hundreds of Long Riders who never had the chance to share this treasure with the wider world, until now. The Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration, authored by the foremost expert, scholar and gentleman of horse back travel and exploration, CuChullaine O’Reilly, has brought this vast collection of wisdom together for the first time. The Encyclopaedia, however, never reads like a dictionary of dry facts. It is a highly readable volume filled with entertaining and inspiring stories, quotes and anecdotes.”

New Zealand Long Rider Ian Robinson rode through Afghanistan, Mongolia and Tibet alone and is the author of “You Must Die Once.”


For more information about this book, please contact the Long Riders Guild

Back to Home page