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Five Republics on Horseback
G. W. Ray
come to mind when one thinks of the dangerous and unexplored places of the
nineteenth century world. Africa and Tibet, for example, both challenged
brave explorers in that previous age. Yet one continent, though often
overlooked, offered all the adventure a daredevil could want. South
America was still politically unstable and geographically challenging.
It was exactly for these reasons that George Whitfield Ray came sailing
into Buenos Aires in 1889. A Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, Ray
was a part-time missionary and full-time adventure junky. Within a short
time he had managed to acquire a job as “Official Explorer for the
Bolivian Government”. Shortly thereafter he began a series of
explorations and misadventures which still make for hair-raising reading.
Ray’s account of his South American travels, “Through Five Republics
on Horseback”, was gathered from his years spent exploring the untouched
interior, visiting unknown tribes, and making careful observations of
native life in a host of countries.
Yet it was his equestrian adventures that made Ray justly famous.
On his most noted horse trip into the interior, the equestrian
explorer set out to find a lost tribe of sun-worshipping natives who
resided in the unexplored forests of Paraguay. The journey was so brutal
that it defies belief. The horses were repeatedly attacked by vampire
bats, thousands of which lived in nearby jungle caves. Then Ray and his
horses were reduced to sucking dew off leaves to survive. By the time he
discovered the tribe, Ray’s clothes were in rags, held together by horse
hair thread. The intrepid American did eventually ride back to
civilization, but not without paying a price for his boldness. He lost two
toes to blood-sucking insects whose bites also caused much of the flesh on
his feet to rot off.
Long considered a classic of equestrian travel, “Through Five Republics
on Horseback” is amply illustrated with classic photographs, as well as
drawings that Ray made during the course of his remarkable adventures.
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Mexico on Horseback
first glance one may wonder how qualified were the two young men who set
off from a Texas border town bound for Mexico City in 1931. The author,
Joseph Goodwin was a Yankee with an itchy foot and a taste for peril. In
contrast to this homespun hero was his companion, Robert Horiguichi, the
sophisticated, multi-lingual son of an imperial Japanese diplomat.
To say these two mismatched, would-be equestrian explorers were unprepared
for the deserts, quicksand and brigands they encountered in the Mexican
wilderness would be a mild understatement. Luckily before leaving the Lone
Star state they had procured what they believed were all the necessities
for explorers, including a canteen, an old pistol, and a typewriter to
chronicle their soon-to-be-famous equestrian escapades.
Along with their mustangs, Pistole and Negra, the amateur adventurers set
out to prove that the dangers of the road were as welcome as the
pleasures, something for which they did not have to wait long to discover.
In one particularly harrowing episode, they were surrounded, shot, and
nearly kidnapped by an armed band of Mexican bandits.
“Through Mexico on Horseback” is thus both a stirring tale of high
adventure, as well as a look back at a more innocent time in a now-bygone
Barnes & Noble
one knew they were looking at a hero and his two horses.
Instead the local
press derided him as "a lunatic proposing to ride overland to New York."
The time was 1925.
The place, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Standing on the
threshold of equestrian travel history was a young Swiss Long Rider named
Aimé Tschiffely. Next to him were his two faithful Criollo horses, Mancha
and Gato. Their collective goal was to ride more than ten thousand miles
from Buenos Aires to New York. No one had ever attempted such a journey.
Everyone thought Tschiffely was mad.
Looking back on what
would become the most famous equestrian journey of the modern age, it is
difficult to believe that anyone doubted the abilities of the legendary Long
Rider and his hardy horses. Yet the school teacher who became an equestrian
explorer had been told he was too inexperienced, his horses too old, and the
journey too difficult.
What Aimé Tschiffely
was told was wrong.
This is the story of
the greatest equestrian epic of the twentieth century, a journey that came
about because a man and his horses refused to quit - ever! During the course
of their travels Tschiffely, Mancha and Gato crossed deadly deserts, passed
through jungles, traversed sky-high mountain passes - and rode on. They were
assailed by vampire bats, mistaken for gods and navigated the Panama Canal -
but rode on.
them. No one since has rivalled their accomplishments.
Often imitated but
never outdone, this timeless book remains the most beloved equestrian travel
classic of all time. So saddle up for the ride of a lifetime. But beware:
the story of Tschiffely's Ride has inspired five generations to take to the
saddle in search of mounted adventure.
For more information, please go to Barnes &
El mundo era
un lugar totalmente distinto cuando William MacCann partió de Gran BretaZa
para andar a caballo en 1848.
Méjico y los Estados Unidos
estaban envueltos en una sangrienta guerra de bordes. Oro fue descubierto en
California, despertando la mayor estampida por oro en la historia de la
humanidad, y revoluciones políticas eran fermentadas en Europa, donde una
abierta revolución comenzaba en Hungría poco después de Klart Marx.
Mientras las tensiones políticas
eran muy altas, el compositor alemán Richard Wagner estaba trabajando en su
famosa opera “The Ring of the Nibelung”, y un colegio experimental para
mujeres era fundado en Londres. Dentro de éste mundo turbulento anduvo a
caballo el joven William MacCann.
Sabemos realmente poco respecto a
MacCann basado en sus escritos, excepto que tenía un ojo agudo por la
observación y era un explorador ecuestre por excelencia.
Habiendo partido a América del
Sur al comienzo de los aZos 1840, determinó explorar Argentina
extensivamente a caballo, ¡y que exploración hizo!
El libro original de MacCann
abarcó el estudio de historia, literatura, política, economía , arte,
filosofía y sucesos actuales. Éste volumen masivo, que documenta su jornada
peculiar, combina asimismo descubrimientos geográficos, observación
científica y aventura personal.
Pero fueron sus aventuras
ecuestres las que son el objeto mayor de este estudio. Este científico
amateur, convertido en explorador, fue un talentoso hombre a caballo cuyas
agudas observaciones de las costumbres argentinas continúan muchos aZos más
tarde, siendo claras como un cristal . Desde sillas de montar a arneses,
métodos de entrenar y estilos de montar, MacCann tomó notas de lo que ahora
es una cultura ecuestre largamente olvidada.
Entonces aquí va una abreviada
edición de la gigantesca composición de MacCann, una edición especial en
espaZol en la cual remarca la búsqueda por aventura de este fantástico
explorador de las pampas salvajes de la hermosa Argentina.
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