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Chinese Adventure, Robin Hanbury-Tenison - This is the story of a unique journey in which the explorer Robin Hanbury-Tenison and his wife Louella rode on horseback alongside the Great Wall of China in 1986.  On a series of Chinese horses, and often spending up to twelve hours a day in the saddle, they covered a distance of a thousand miles through regions of China still closed to foreigners.  In their leather chaps and floppy Camargue hats, they were objects of intense curiosity to the Chinese people whom they encountered in their spectacular three-and-a-half month journey through China.
Despite endless difficulties with reluctant officialdom, the Hanbury-Tenisons managed to get permission to travel long sections of the Wall from the Yellow Sea in the east to the edge of the Gobi desert in the west.  They had a support crew of a Chinese interpreter, a driver and a cook, who doubled as a bodyguard.  It was the first time that the Chinese authorities had sanctioned such a journey.
Escaping the roads and towns and industrial landscape, the Hanbury-Tenisons saw a China and its people that few foreigners have ever seen.  From their experience of riding alone across this vast country, away from towns and organized groups, we gain a fresh insight into the past and present of the oldest civilization on earth.  Go to Amazon.co.uk or Barnes & Noble

Or go to the author's own website for a signed copy!

ISBN 1580481364












Eighteen Hundred Miles on a Burmese Pony, George Younghusband - Prepare for a equestrian surprise.  If you think this book is another one of those tired 19th century tales about a heroic white man making his way through a tract of nameless jungle – then think again.
For herein lies the tale of the most unlikely horse hero of that bygone era.
According to his own pen, young British Subaltern George Younghusband was, “sick of the pomps and vanities of this civilized world of ours.”
Though stationed in colorful India, Younghusband decided to spend his army leave by exploring southern Burma on horseback.
In early 1887 the adventurous, if inexperienced, equestrian explorer set off with a Ghurka orderly, a Madrassi cook, an interpreter known as “the Archbishop” and of course the hero of this tale, Joe the Burmese Pony.
There is no tale in all of equestrian travel literature which paints a picture of a more loveable scamp than Joe, this delightful four-footed rascal.
With his keen eye, Younghusband regales his readers with remarks on the customs of the country.  “The whole of our baggage was not more than two respectable mule loads but it made me positively weep to see a great brawny elephant looking quite injured at having to carry a load that one of our regimental mules would have smiled sarcastically at.”
Yet this is no story of brawny elephants.
It deals instead with Younghusband’s Burmese pony, who despite his diminutive size, gave the professional horseman more than he bargained for.
“Having been a cavalry soldier for some years, and rather fancying myself a decent rider, I had never viewed this small atom of horse-flesh otherwise than in the light of a means of conveyance when I was tired. However, he very soon knocked all that nonsense out of me; for he went off like a streak of lightning, stampeded the two elephants, who immediately devastated the village, and shed my goods on the roofs of houses.”
What follows is the good-hearted tale of a young man, discovering an enchanted country, aboard a once-in-a-lifetime horse.
“That pony of mine is quite the wickedest pony in Asia,” Younghusband recalled. ”He is only 12 hands high but contains all the mischievousness of fifty children. When I am in a hurry, he hides behind a tree. Do I want to give him his grain? He goes and stands on the far side of a quagmire. When I want to go slow, he runs away. When I want to go fast, he pretends to be lame. Is my dinner cooking on the fire? Off he goes and tips it over. When I have a basin of water to wash in, darned if he doesn’t drink it. Have I tied him up with everything I possess? He eludes it somehow. Am I dead tired and fast asleep? He sticks his nose into me.” the Long Rider lamented.
Complete with pencil drawings done by the author, this delightful book takes the reader on a mounted journey complete with the requisite adventures, but with the added delight of a pint-sized hero you’ll never forget.
Go to Barnes & Noble or Amazon.co.uk

In the Hoofprints of Marco Polo, Major Clarence Dalrymple Bruce - There is an old saying among the equestrian journeyers of Central Asia that a unique occasion will produce a special man. When such a rare occasion arose in 1905 for a courageous horseman to ride from Kashmir to Peking, Major Clarence Bruce stepped into the saddle and cantered into Long Rider history.

As the 20th century dawned this soldier turned author found himself on the wrong side of the Himalayas. Bruce had previously led a regiment of Chinese solders. Yet fate now placed him in picturesque Srinagar, Kashmir, thousands of miles away from faraway Peking where he wished to be.

So Bruce did what any Long Rider would do – the impossible.

He began by making his way to the mountain kingdom of Ladakh. There he enlisted a crew of “wild looking ruffians and 28 rugged ponies,” then set off on an eight-month journey that taxed men and horses to their limits. Mounted on his trusty 13 hand high Kashmiri pony, Bruce started by leading his caravan over 18,000 foot high Himalayan passes, before descending onto the Devil’s Plain in Tibet. The caravan was hard pressed to avoid detection by these xenophobic mountaineers who were adamant about keeping foreigners like Bruce out of their “forbidden kingdom.”

They needn’t have bothered. Bruce had set his sights on Peking, thousands of kilometers away, so he wasn’t inclined to linger near Lhasa. From freezing in Tibet, Bruce next crossed into Chinese Turkistan. There he stood face to face with the infamous Lop Nor desert.

It was in this dreaded wasteland, as they followed “in the hoofprints of Marco Polo,” that Bruce’s caravan suffered. Men collapsed. Ponies died. Yet they still rode towards mythical Peking. “The ponies never failed us, no matter how impossible the ground was,” Bruce recalled.

“In the Hoofprints of Marco Polo” is that rare kind of book, one that reads as fresh today as it did the day Bruce set his pen to paper. Its pages are full of brave men and braver horses, wild mountains and picturesque tribesmen. Amply illustrated with photos taken by the author, this equestrian travel classic also contains an excellent appendix, complete with all of the author’s geographical observations.   

For more information, please go to Barnes & Noble or Amazon.co.uk.

ISBN 1590480538

Shanghai à Moscou, Madame de Bourboulon - Even though she lived and rode in the adventure-soaked nineteenth century, there were few women who could match the amazing life and exploits of Catherine de Bourboulon. Born in Scotland in the 1820s, Catherine Fanny MacLeod was taken by her mother to live in the United States at an early age. Later the young traveler journeyed on to Mexico. There MacLeod discovered Phillipe de Bourboulon, a Frenchman who not only became the love of her life but harbored a spirit as wild as her own.
Soon after they married the newlyweds left Mexico, arriving in China in 1849. They lived among the splendors and intrigues of the Chinese imperial court for ten years before deciding it was time to return to Europe. Then Catherine made an amazing suggestion. Rather than embarking on the first ship bound for France, she and Phillipe would instead ride 12,000 miles through some of the most desolate and dangerous portions of Asia!
“Shang-Haï à Moscou” is thus the account of this amazing journey undertaken by the young lovers on horseback from 1859 to 1862. Written in French from diaries Fanny kept during the journey through Mongolia, Siberia and Russia, the book is compiled from a series of magazine articles published in Paris during the mid-nineteenth century. Alas, Catherine MacLeod de Bourboulon died soon after her return to Europe. She was only 38 years old. Much of her exciting story was later plagiarized by Jules Verne for his famed Cossack novel, “Michael Strogoff.”
Illustrated with dozens of pen and ink sketches from Catherine’s historic trip, this is the first time the fantastic travel account has been offered for sale in the English speaking world. The rediscovered classic remains fascinating reading for students of the horse or history. Note - because these stories appeared in magazine form, the pages are not numerically sequential. 
Go to Amazon.co.uk or Barnes & Noble

A Traveller in China, Christina Dodwell - Christina Dodwell’s wanderlust, combined with her inventive and unorthodox methods of travel and her unquenchable curiosity about people, make her the ideal guide to the remoter parts of China’s vast territory. She visits regions largely inhabited by the many ethnic minority groups, still living their distinctive lifestyles.

A four-day bus journey to Kashgar begins Christina’s journey, followed by a canoe journey from Lake Karakol. She followed Marco Polo’s route to Beijing, past the ruined cities of the Silk Road. In Xinjiang she spent time with migrating Kazakhs setting up their summer camp. Her canoe journey on the Yellow River resulted in her finding a hitherto-unknown portion of the Great Wall, and in Beijing she tracked down the house in which her grandmother had lived in the time of the warlords. In a side trip to Tibet, Christina spent time in a nomad tent, sharing the elaborate plaiting and ornamentation ritual of a women’s hairdressing session.

Christina joins Chinese tourists when she visits the oldest surviving frescoes in China, the Xian terracotta army, and spends a few days at the famous lamasery of Taer’si. She witnessed the dragon boat race on Lake Er Hai, But her most precious moments were camping alone on the edge of an ice-bound lake, finding a way to unvisited beehive tombs in the Gobi, climbing a remote sacred mountain in Yunnan Province and paddling her small canoe cautiously into the mighty Yangtse.

Christina’s great courage, open mind and unbounded curiosity enable her to go to places few would dare visit, and she almost invariably finds kindness and hospitality wherever she travels.

For more information on this book, please visit Amazon.co.uk or Barnes & Noble.

Unbeaten Tracks in Japan - Volumes One and Two, Isabella Bird - She was a legend, and now she is forgotten. Her name was Isabella Bird and she was one of the greatest equestrian travellers of all time.

Of moderate means, unhealthy, unwed, physically unimpressive, Isabella Bird chose to venture out into the world, a place which in the late nineteenth century was still full of dangers, discomforts, and unexplored countries.

“Unbeaten Tracks in Japan” is one of her five famous equestrian trips. She had ridden throughout the Hawaiian paradise, crossed the mighty Rocky Mountains on horseback, explored Tibet from the saddle and went on to canter across Morocco when she was in her seventies. But her 600 mile solo ride through Japan was a monumental mixture of mounted adventure and keen cultural observation.

Suffering from an unspecified illness, Isabella left her English home in 1878 journeying to Japan to “improve her health.” Her unorthodox cure consisted of buying a local horse and exploring the islands of the reclusive Japanese homeland. The Long Rider author carefully docu-mented various aspects of the fascinating culture she discovered, describing a host of subjects ranging from “Children’s Games” to “A Narrow Escape.”

"I lived among the Japanese, and saw their mode of living, in regions unaffected by European contact. As a lady travelling alone, and the first European lady who had been seen in several districts through which my route lay, my experiences differed more or less widely from those of preceding travellers," she wrote.

Though her quest for equestrian adventure was to turn her into a compulsive traveller, Isabella’s famous lone trek through the interior of Japan remains a classic and is presented now in its original two volume set, complete with delightful drawings.  For more information visit Barnes & Noble or Amazon.co.uk


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