I feel extremely lucky that "The Horse Travel Handbook" by CuChullaine O'Reilly (founder of the Long Riders' Guild) has recently been published, in time for me to read and learn from it before my ride begins!
I've been preparing for my ride for almost three years. Even (and especially) now, I still have questions for what I need to do to get ready, and what I can expect or should plan for while riding. Things we take for granted every day, even when on vacation, become major dilemmas for my logistics - will I actually be able to find enough food, shelter, and supplies when I need them? What exactly is the best way to secure a horse for the night when there are no fences? Do I need to learn how to trim Apollo's feet myself? How much rope do I need to bring? Why am I doing this and is it even possible?!
All these questions and more are answered within the pages of O'Reilly's excellent book. From the long rider daily routine to emergency preparedness, from buying the ideal long ride horse to what to expect when your ride is done, he covers it all, with information gleaned from his own experience and from countless other long riders throughout history and modern times.
At this point in my planning, I am down to the 'nitty gritty' details. As I've said in earlier posts, planning a long ride is so different than planning a trail ride or a pack trip or an endurance ride that it can be confusing about what is the best answer for each unusual and unique long ride problem. I have been able to find most of the answers I need within this book. I've also found answers to questions I didn't yet know I had, and verified answers that I had to muddle through on my own in the early part of the planning.
For those of you who are reading this post that ride horses but don't plan on doing a long ride ever in your life, you should still get this book! If only for the section on trail emergencies, including weather, wildlife, and illness, because these are issues all horse people deal with whether we ride one hour or one thousand miles down the road.
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