Basha O’Reilly, adventurer and renowned Long Rider, dies at 73

Basha and Count Pompeii set off to ride from Volgograd, Russia to London, England.
Basha and Count Pompeii set off to ride from Volgograd, Russia to London, England.

Basha O’Reilly wasn’t born in the saddle, but it didn’t take her long to climb on a horse and begin a life filled with adventure and romance.

From the moment she climbed aboard her first pony, Mustard, she was destined to be an equestrian explorer.

Basha, who died in France on January 13 after a brief illness, found solace in the saddle, feeding what came to be an insatiable appetite to see the world on horseback.

Her obituary is not a notice about death. It is instead a lesson in love.

Born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1947, Barbara (Basha) Cornwall-Legh began riding at the age of five. She went on to ride at Olympic-level dressage, before being drawn to the adventures of equestrian travel.

After beginning her travels in Mongolia with Colonel John Blashford-Snell of the Scientific Expedition, in the summer of 1995 Basha visited the Russian Steppes.

There she fell in love with a blazing red Cossack stallion named Count Pompeii. That was the start of a 2500-mile expedition in which she beat off a would-be rapist and an attack by robbers.

The miles of thick forests and rocky shale made the going so tough even the hardened Cossack riders who were to have accompanied her to the Russian border, gave up after two weeks, saddle sore and weary.

Born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1947, Basha Cornwall-Legh began riding horses at the age of five. This photograph shows Basha riding Mustard, her first pony.
Born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1947, Basha Cornwall-Legh began riding horses at the age of five. This photograph shows Basha riding Mustard, her first pony.

Undeterred, after a six-month journey Basha arrived in Britain to a huge fanfare of publicity and wrote a book, Bandits and Bureaucrats that detailed her exploits.

Yet after her return to England, Basha knew her previous view of life had been dramatically altered.

“The thing that stood out in my mind about Russia was the freedom,” she said after her early adventures in the saddle.

“It was a magical experience. The trip made me aware that possessions are not the be-all and end-all of life. I also knew that my priorities in life had changed forever.

“Equestrian travel was what I wanted to live for. Riding Pompeii had taught me that you can either have faith or fear, but not both. That was my mantra now.”

Unfortunately, Basha discovered that after her return she no longer fitted in with the people who had previously defined her identity.

“I was not lonely – I am an only child and came to terms with being on my own long ago – but I was alone,” she once said.

“Nobody I knew could begin to understand my contempt for possessions, my urge to travel, my love for spending all day in the saddle and all night under the stars, getting boiled, frozen, soaked and seriously frightened by turns.”

While working at Lloyds of London, she felt unsettled and booked herself a two-week trip to ride through Transylvania in September, 2000.

“Then an envelope landed on the mat, containing an incredibly polite and formal letter from the equestrian journalist CuChullaine O’Reilly. He told me he, too, was a horse traveller, had started the Long Riders’ Guild and was very interested in documenting the experiences of other equestrian explorers.

“At the bottom of the letter was an email address, so I replied electronically and asked about his travels.

“CuChullaine wrote back to say that he had made two equestrian journeys in Pakistan and so our correspondence began.”

Basha O'Reilly, pictured in Toucy, France. She once said: "Equestrian travel was what I wanted to live for. Riding Pompeii had taught me that you can either have faith or fear, but not both. That was my mantra now."
Basha O’Reilly, pictured in Toucy, France. She once said: “Equestrian travel was what I wanted to live for. Riding Pompeii had taught me that you can either have faith or fear, but not both. That was my mantra now.”

With each exchange of emails, they learned more about each other and the many things they had in common.

“We were not just horsemen but passionate about, and in tune with, horses.

“We were nomads who longed to get back in the saddle and head over the horizon with little more than a toothbrush and a sleeping bag.

“We shared a love of mountains, of wild places, of freedom, and of animals. We also shared a hatred of arrogance – men for women, one race or religion for other races or religions, people for animals – and of imperialism, and snobbery.

“I began to look forward to getting to the office in the mornings, so as to read his latest letter.”

In an early email, CuChullaine told her: “You’re a traveller, accept it. No four walls will ever close you in again. If you weren’t born a nomad, you are one now.”

Basha described reading that sentence as a releasing moment. “For the first time I understood my urge and I also realised he understood me, too.

“As we found we had more and more in common, our liking for each other turned into love.”

Soon after, she turned 53. A birthday party thrown by family and friends had left her more restless than ever. No matter what Barbara did, as she was known then, she couldn’t shake off the idea of going to see CuChullaine.

She sent an email to CuChullaine, mounted Count Pompeii, and set off riding, all the while wracked by self-doubt.

CuChullaine replied, astutely opining on why she had been restless during her birthday party.

“You were unhappy at the dinner because all the jolly goings-on were merely a disguise designed to hide away the embarrassing sadness that was pulling at your soul.

“Your friends and family were busy feeding your body. They will never understand that it is the purest essence of your being, the soul’s soul that is starving. You couldn’t find that spiritual nourishment at the table, so you went riding on Count Pompeii instead.

CuChullaine O'Reilly, who rode through Pakistan, with his mount, Pasha.
CuChullaine O’Reilly, who rode through Pakistan in the early 1980s, with his mount, Pasha. After having made lengthy trips by horseback across Pakistan, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers’ Club.

“You could ride all day. You could ride all night. You could ride to Russia. You could ride to the moon. But you have to realize that you have passed into an invisible country where the horse and the trip are only segments of the puzzle that will give your life the meaning that you seek.

“You are sad today because you are in search of clarity and spiritual happiness … the wind will blow and you will long to go with it. The rain will fall and you will wish you were outside letting it wash away the chains that you locked around yourself.

“A stranger will enter your life and you will long to respond.

“You are in danger of becoming sunk into the everydayness of your life and your soul is crying out in terror that it longs instead to be alive.

“You need to listen to your desires and define what great purpose it is that makes your life unique. You are searching without knowing it, riding in circles that will never end, not knowing that your life needs to be focused on the attainment of some legendary goal that even if unattainable, would define your existence and your legacy.

“Yours is a deep, deep old soul surrounded by well-meaning strangers. They will be happy when you are happy.

“They cannot articulate what mute truth lies in your heart. You do not belong, sweet Basha. You are not one of them. You never returned. You just rode back.

“Barbara was washed away. She is part of some unannounced dusty trail. She is part of your past. It wasn’t a birthday party. It was a wake for someone who no longer exists. Let go Basha and live.”

How CuChullaine met Basha

The couple may never have met at all had it not been for the accidental influence of Horse & Hound magazine.

Whereas Horse & Hound has gathered its share of editorial awards during its long journalistic life, only a handful of people know that this magazine is responsible for changing the pair’s life.

In the 1990s, when CuChullaine was searching the world for obscure equestrian travel books, his literary ally, James Allen, of J.A. Allen Publishing in London, would spend months hunting up clues for obscure titles.

In those pre-internet days, such books were as rare as hen’s teeth.

Consequently, twice a year Mr Allen would send CuChullaine a package wrapped in brown paper and tied with string. Inside each mysterious package would be unheard of literary treasures.

That is how he discovered the forgotten Long Rider authors Bill Holt, Margaret Leigh and many other names that went on to become synonymous with the Long Riders’ Guild Press, but had all fallen out of print.

Basha and her Russian stallion, Count Pompeii, who features in the flying mascot of the Long Riders' Guild.
Basha and her Russian stallion, Count Pompeii, who features in the flying mascot of the Long Riders’ Guild.

In one such package, Mr Allen included an article from a recent edition of Horse & Hound.

There was no book involved (yet), but Mr Allen thought CuChullaine might enjoy reading the recently written article that recounted the remarkable story of how a plucky Englishwoman had just ridden a Cossack stallion from Russia to London.

There, staring off the page of the Horse & Hound article, was Basha Cornwall Legh.

She was sitting on the living room floor in front of a fireplace with a book in her lap. There was a smile across her pretty face. She looked like an amused lioness trying to decide if she should devour the photographer or not.

CuChullaine was so smitten that he cut out the photo of Basha and put it in his wallet, where it stayed for five years.

Life intervened and he devoted his time to writing his first book, Khyber Knights.

With that task completed in 2000, he believed that equestrian travel had reached a crisis. He decided to ask four Long Riders from three countries to meet him to discuss how equestrian travel could be saved for posterity.

The only female Long Rider he knew to invite was Basha Cornwall. He sent her a formal written letter inviting her to participate and she surprised him by replying via one of the first emails he ever received.

Soon afterward she telephoned — and they spoke non-stop for two hours.

CuChullaine recalls it was an electrifying conversation because it was the first time either of them had ever been able to speak about the intense experiences they had undergone during their journeys with horses.

They also discussed how equestrian travel was either ignored or not taken seriously by the traditional equine establishment.

In an email to Basha, CuChullaine wrote to explain his belief that horse travel, and its literature, deserved to be defended.

“The need is there. The audience is there. The problem, in my opinion, is that traditional publishers do not recognize Long Riders as a potential audience. We are, I believe, the largest, and last, unexplored segment of the equestrian world.”

The marriage of CuChullaine and Basha.
The marriage of CuChullaine and Basha.

He continued: “I am no longer willing to sit idly by and watch books of great historical value be shoved aside, or ignored, so that bookshelves can be filled with volumes of passé pedestrian trash. But I believe that with the advent of the internet we are eventually going to be able to track down, locate, and bring together the Long Riders of the world for the first time in history.”

In the ensuing weeks, what began as a talk about horse travel unexpectedly grew into something else.

After months of constant communication, via the newly installed medium of emails, as well as frequent telephone calls, CuChullaine realized that he had accidentally met what he described as the most astonishing woman he had ever encountered.

With nothing but a faded photo from Horse & Hound to go on, he asked Basha to marry him over the telephone.

To his delight and relief, she agreed.

Basha flew to the United States, where she and CuChullaine hosted the first Long Rider meeting, after which she returned to Britain, and sent her stallion, Count Pompeii, to the United States.

When she came back to the US, they were immediately married.

Two hearts, one goal

That was 21 years ago and Basha and CuChullaine were never parted during a unique career devoted to equestrian exploration and equine research.

In 2001, they launched the Long Riders’ Guild website, the commercial-free repository of the world’s largest collection of equestrian travel information. The Guild has supported or advised more than 100 equestrian expeditions that crossed every continent except Antarctica.

Basha’s Cossack stallion, Count Pompeii, is the flying logo on the Long Riders Guild flag.
Basha’s Cossack stallion, Count Pompeii, is the flying logo on the Long Riders Guild flag.

That same year they created the Long Riders’ Guild Press, which republished the world’s most precious equestrian travel books.

And the pair travelled through Europe, finding legendary Long Riders in England, Wales, France, Germany and Switzerland.

In 2005 the couple hosted an unprecedented gathering of equestrian explorers. Twenty-eight Long Riders from around the world assembled in London. They met at the Royal Geographical Society to witness the donation of more than 100 equestrian travel classics published by the LRG Press. Ten of the Long Riders present authored books in the collection.
In 2005 the couple hosted an unprecedented gathering of equestrian explorers. Twenty-eight Long Riders from around the world assembled in London. They met at the Royal Geographical Society to witness the donation of more than 100 equestrian travel classics published by the LRG Press. Ten of the Long Riders present authored books in the collection.

In 2007, they broadened their work by creating the Long Riders’ Guild Academic Foundation, a broad-based program designed to include a plethora of subjects ranging from history, archaeology, art, cultural studies, military, etc, to anything and everything related to mankind’s links to the horse.

In 2009 they published the first Equestrian Writers’ Guide.

In 2012 they created what is believed to be the world’s strongest set of equestrian ethics.

Three years later, they orchestrated the liberation of Long Rider Geldy Kyarizov, who had been held as a political prisoner in Turkmenistan for 13 years.

In 2018 they published the Encyclopaedia of Equestrian Exploration, the most extensive study of equestrian travel ever created. The first and second sets of the Encyclopaedia were presented to Great Britain’s reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, and to Prince Charles.

Having written and published the Horse Travel Handbook in English, the couple focused on translating the book into French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian.

On Wednesday, December 30, 2020, Basha and CuChullaine celebrated the arrival of the newly published Dutch translation.

The next morning, after months of work Basha had 20 pages left to complete the French translation, when she became ill.

She was rushed to hospital, where after a brief illness she passed away peacefully in her sleep.

In addition to her tasks as the Guild webmaster and the director of the Long Riders’ Guild Press, Basha was also the executrix of the Aimé Félix Tschiffely literary estate.

When asked to explain their unorthodox romance, CuChullaine replied: “I believed that if I loved Basha with all my heart then I would find more happiness than I had ever imagined.

“That is what I’ve done from the first minute I saw her. For 20 years my heart beat in two bodies, as hers did in mine.”

Horsetalk thanks CuChullaine O’Reilly for sharing their personal correspondence.

62 thoughts on “Basha O’Reilly, adventurer and renowned Long Rider, dies at 73

  • January 19, 2021 at 1:29 am

    Basha will be greatly missed by all who knew her and, especially by those who benefitted from her huge energy in publishing their books. She and CuChullaine revolutionised the equestrian travel world, revealing what a significant role long riders played in recounting their global journeys. It was a massive task and only brought about by her largely self-taught skills in using the internet to disseminate information and bring like-minded people together. This has grown to a huge group of people united by their love of horses and travel. She leaves a legacy to be proud of in CuChullaine’s safe hands.

    • January 19, 2021 at 6:58 am

      Robin…indeed. In Star-Trek times the work of Basha and CuChullaine will be read and appreciated. No one in the past 17 years needed to leave hearth and home to become a Long Rider ignorant of what was about to happen. Fewer horses will suffer, due to ignorance of the Rider. What a gift for the ages.

    • January 20, 2021 at 5:16 pm

      We long riders of Mongolia and Mongolian friends of The Long Riders Guild send our prayers, and deepest sympathy,

      Alpamys, Dalaikhan, Norbek, Bahat and Nurlan

      Undraa, Turuu, Ivell and Enerel

    • January 24, 2021 at 2:34 pm

      Basha first visited my life a few years ago after I asked a question about a long ride to CuChullaine and then wrote an article that both of the O’Reillys enjoyed. She helped me revise the article, asking me very intelligent questions and making suggestions that were thoughtful and important. My contacts with Basha were limited to emails but these were many and brought out to me how warm and savvy Basha was. I came to feel that I knew her and I was very saddened to learn of her sudden passing this month. I pray for the repose of her immortal soul, and I pray too for her widower my dear friend (if he will let me say that of him) CuChullaine. During Basha’s last hospitalization, I offered to send her flowers or anything that she might prefer to flowers. The world is a better place having benefitted from her life.

  • January 19, 2021 at 3:18 am

    “Small Horses”
    Though we never met in person, what I remember best about Basha is her curiosity, willingness to ask questions and encouragement.
    In late 2004, I was tackling my first Long Ride with mule Woody and pony Maggie, from Atlantic to Pacific Oceans. Woody was 14.2 hands and Maggie was much smaller, about 13 hands. I was green as they come in the ways of horse travel.

    I was riding across Oklahoma. The wind howled non-stop, the road stretched seemingly to space and I wondered how Maggie could complete the 2,500 mile trip. I needed, more than anything, to hear from someone in the know that I should just keep going. I reached out to Basha for help. She assured me my diminutive pack pony Maggie (aka Magnolia) was up to the task.

    She wrote: “Who cares how many inches Magnolia would register on a tape measure? Those small horses are notoriously strong.”

    Then she went to ask me all sort of questions about my trip, right down to how my hoof boots were working out. That made me feel I like I knew more than I actually did. And that’s just what was needed to keep me moving forward.
    “Those small horses are notoriously strong.”
    That is how I’ll remember Basha.

    Bernie Harberts / North Carolina, USA /

  • January 19, 2021 at 3:50 am

    Such a free and gentle spirit, as Basha has, is rarely encountered in life, no matter how much one travels. I recognized this in the first moments of meeting her in the Fall of 2002 after my first Long Ride. I see her today galloping in glorious union with Pompeii across the plains and hills of Heaven. I salute you, Basha and will always honor your contributions to future Long Riders who can Go Long and have knowledge and wisdom from Day One of how to care for their mount and themselves. You are missed.

  • January 19, 2021 at 4:18 am

    This story goes straight to the heart, an inspiration to all of us to listen to the call of the soul. Thank-you CuChullaine for sharing the intimacies of your meeting and time together. Though you both valued personal privacy, I think Basha would approve. Your life together shows what can be accomplished when two souls on the same path merge.
    Basha’s choice of faith over fear, learned from her Long Riding experience, comes through clearly. Basha never sought the limelight, but I always knew she was the light behind so much accomplishment, not to mention the steady engine that churned it out. The love and respect these two had for each other shone through every email that came through the Long Rider community. It’s a love story that warms every heart. And an inspiration to all of us about possibility. Ride on, Basha.

  • January 19, 2021 at 4:49 am

    Once in a lifetime one meets an extraordinary person. Basha O’Reilly was such person. Basha’s love of a red Cossack stallion, a dream to chase the horizon, her passion to bring to the world her love of the wondrous equine and a lifetime of dedication has gifted to the world the Encyclopedia of Equestrian Exploration. A gift that will spur the sole of horse people for many many years. As Bash and Count Pompeii gallop across the heavens she’ll smile as she looks down to see riders saddling up in search of the horizon?

  • January 19, 2021 at 5:43 am

    Basha was truly one of the great riders and explorers of our era. She lived ten lifetimes in one. The world will miss her tremendously, as I will personally. I extend my heartfelt condolences to CuChullaine, her family and friends on their great loss.

  • January 19, 2021 at 6:03 am

    Basha O’Reilly was a truly extraordinary person: brave, generous, kind, and charmingly modest.
    We got to know Basha and CuChullaine through a mutual friend Jean Cunninghame Graham (Lady Polwarth), a great-niece of R B Cunninghame Graham who always spoke of Basha with unbounded admiration and affection. Her exploits and achievements were remarkable. And like Don Roberto
    Cunninghame Graham, one of Basha’s greatest adventures was the adventure of being herself.

  • January 19, 2021 at 6:31 am

    Basha O’Reilly’s extraordinary talents including being fluent in a number of languages. Her many-faceted abilities and hard work contributed immeasurable to the success of the International Long Riders Guild. Her kindness and courtesy made long riders welcome at the Guild and made her husband CuChullaine welcome in her life. We will all miss her.

  • January 19, 2021 at 6:43 am

    Basha will be missed, she was a real motive force. It’s interesting to read in her obituary how her long distance ride on Pompeii were to have such a profound effect on her and her future way of life. Many long riders have found the same. Their lives are changed by their experience, they don’t fit in where they did before, they have a different outlook on life and certainly for themselves. Many get lost for years in this peculiar trap. In a way, it is unsurprising that she met her soulmate in CuChullaine O’Reilly. They shared this together, this other wordly, spiritually changing dimension that flips the longer rider from one mind to another. Together they made a marvellous, compensatory team. Whereas CuChullaine had the literary talents, Basha had the computer know-how. They’d both covered the distance by hoof, much had no need to be said, it was already known. From their union sprung the brotherhood of Long Riders, who hold some pretty lofty values between them, they’re not run-of-the-mill, they’re not low life, they’re not crooks or bandits, they hold finer values and this defines them. All of them. It’s the stamp, the crest of the LRG, it comes quite naturally. Basha had it in spades: we shall miss her, CuChullaine most of all. God speed him, give him strength to carry on alone, he will. She’ll be around to hold his hand, in the Long Rider’s Way.

  • January 19, 2021 at 6:50 am

    I am paralyzed by sorrow and by the thought of not having Basha with us. Not only was Basha beautiful and elegant, but she was a citizen of the world. She was a human being of principle, integrity, honesty, deep feeling, and purity of conscience. She was also courageous, purposeful, and unwavering – those qualities that made her a legend in the milieu of long riders. I am eternally grateful to have known her. My life could never have been the same without her. Her mission in the Long Riders Guild was as a brilliant role model for both men and women. Her meticulous work as an authoress will outlive her for centuries. Basha experienced the ultimate privilege of touching the mystery and serenity of the “long quiet”. It is in that spiritual paradise that her soul will find a resting place.
    My heartfelt sympathy to her beloved Cuchullaine, her daughter, grand-daughter, and all who adored her.

  • January 19, 2021 at 7:34 am

    To know Basha was to love her. She was unfailingly kind, gracious, and cheerful, and had the wonderful British habit of saying that one’s ideas or thoughts were “brilliant.” In all my years, I’ve never met a single person who even remotely reminded me of her. A unique, inspiring, and deeply memorable individual.

    I will always treasure the memory of having known Basha.

  • January 19, 2021 at 8:28 am

    What a huge loss. Basha forged a life of adventure and was a true explorer in every sense of the word. What she and CuChullaine built is a gift to the equestrian world. Basha will most certainly live on in the way her work will forever inspire others. My deepest sympathy to CuChullaine, her family, and her friends.

  • January 19, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    The Queen Bee of the LRG is off now on her eternal long ride with Count Pompeii. I’ve known CuChullaine for almost 40 years and was in regular contact with Basha for years as I helped with book cover design, artwork for the website and other assignments to advance the noble cause. But I never stood face to face with her and that is a great sadness. Her legacy is beyond secure and there is much more work to be done. I’m sure CuChullaine is a making a list for me as I write this!

  • January 19, 2021 at 8:32 pm

    Oh Basha, you will be missed.
    We never met in person. But over the years – long after she and CuChullaine mentored me through my first failed attempt and, later, successful long ride – the occasional aside to CuChullaine’s emails became a more personal correspondence, a voice on the phone, and grew into the kind of friendship only horse people share (even though I ride a mule; she was gracious). When Count Pompeii died, the depth of her grief revealed a soul as wide as the sky and a heart as deep as the sea. And reading this tribute was a gift; thank you CuChullaine, for sharing the story of the love of your life with us, that we all may know her a little better and hold her even more dear. Ever kind, generous of spirit and undaunted, an incredible adventurer, tirelessly working in the background on the huge project of the Long Riders Guild for the benefit of future generations, she was a true light, a real class act. May she ride with joy through the Elysian fields on her beloved Count Pompeii – RIP, Basha! And as always, Sir Walter sends his regards.

  • January 19, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    There are not many people, who you can feel are great friends, even though you have never met. Basha is one of those few. Around the world friends she never met have her in their prayers, their hearts, their thoughts. But she is not to be grieved, she is to be celebrated for the adventure, one few of us would even dream of let alone achieve, her life truly was. Ride on my friend, ride on…

  • January 20, 2021 at 4:15 am

    There are few love stories like Basha and CuChullaine (and Count Pompeii!). Their enthusiasm for life and each other was unparalleled. I had the absolute pleasure to spend some, all too brief, moments with them but will treasure those memories for the rest of my life. Their unbridled enthusiasm for their work and their passion for the stories that they brought back to life was nothing short of amazing. Their work will live on for generations because of their enormous amount of work. CuChullaine I dont envy you the prospect of continuing the work without Basha, but you must! That body of work is important and relevant.
    Basha the world has lost one of the best – we will all miss you!
    Loads of love

    • January 22, 2021 at 9:08 am

      My memory of Basha is that of a wonderful person and friend. I know she was and is in the next life tremendously intelligent. I know this because she asked all the right questions to me, and followed up with great intelligence and warmth too. I cannot think of a single negative thing to say about her (not that I would at a time like this). She knew what she was talking about, she cared about others in her heart, and she kept persevering despite medical obstacles. I will never forgot Basha, even though I only knew her a few years and our exchanges were limited to internet-mediated contacts. May Basha, friend, dost, rest in eternal peace!

  • January 20, 2021 at 4:22 am

    Basha was a true adventurer and an amazing woman with a big heart. May her soul rest in peace, galloping across the heavenly steppes with Count Pompeii. My deepest sympathies to CuChullaine and the family of Long Riders.

  • January 20, 2021 at 6:41 am

    I have worked with Basha and Cuchullaine in Publishing for the last almost 4 years, two truly lovely people so dedicated to each other and to the Long Riders. Though we have never met in person, Basha was wonderful to work with and I shall miss her emails and occasional calls very much. Sending my heartfelt thoughts to CuChullaine and family. xx

  • January 20, 2021 at 8:16 am

    This is a great loss, one that makes me terribly sad. She will be missed.
    I will always remember her kindness and her warm personality, her emails, the books she sent half way across the globe to my children, her constant presence through letters, asking how we were.
    Her energy and enthusiasm was contagious.
    She was, like we say in Argentina, “irremplazable”, unique.
    Hold on dear Cuchullaine.
    Benjamin Reynal, Patagonia, Argentina.

  • January 20, 2021 at 8:34 am

    I met Basha and CuChullaine for the first time many years ago in the fall of 2002 in Zürich.
    It was absolutely fascinating to meet people that did share the same experiences, the same spirit, and the same love for travelling with horses over long distances. This was long before information about adventurers on horseback was made accessible thanks to the Long Riders Guild and finding likeminded people, I considered myself incredibly lucky. Years later we were invited into their home in Kentucky and our friendship continued. But friendship was not just reduced to the few occasions where we met in person.
    During my long journey I could always count on Basha and CuChullaine. There wasn’t a question I could come up with where they wouldn’t know where to find the answer. But most of all, I know, if worst case happens, they would be the people I could call, and they would do whatever they could to help.
    But Basha and CuChullaine did a lot more then being my personal mental support. They have collected and created an enormous treasure. If a young adventurer comes along today, there is the place to find information, inspiration, and motivation. Basha is leaving behind a very precious legacy. Not only for this she will always be remembered.
    My deepest sympathy to CuChullaine, her family, and her friends.

  • January 20, 2021 at 1:36 pm

    I only met Basha briefly once, but we have corresponded for the past seventeen years on many things we had in common. She was a lovely person possessed of a remarkable mind, and she will be sorely missed. My deepest condolences to CuChullaine and all of her circle.

  • January 20, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    I first got in contact with Basha and CuChullaine around 2 years ago, when I started planning my own journey. From the very moment I wrote to them, they have offered their help, wisdom and support at every corner. My life changed in an amazing way from the moment they entered my life. But I am not alone and I know that they both have dedicated an enormous amount of time, energy and love into helping others around the world.

    Basha was a most extraordinary and inspiring person. I am extremely grateful that I had the privilege of knowing her and am most thankful for the enormous amount of support, wisdom and inspiration that she provided me with continuously. Both Basha and CuChullaine have devoted decades of their life into preserving generations of information which was at the brink of extinction. I know that Basha was working hard to make sure that this information would be available for even more people across the world. Her selflessness has always amazed me.

    I know that whilst she will be deeply missed, the legacy she leaves behind will continue to inspire people like myself and I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to her. She has achieved so much which most people couldn’t dream of and although this is a truly sorrowful moment, I think it is equally important to celebrate that which she achieved.

    Here’s to Basha – may our lives be as filled with adventure and romance as yours and may we have the courage and strength to follow our dreams as you did. A truly unique and remarkable woman!

  • January 20, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    Basha was a vivid , unique person. She had many of the finest qualities : loyalty, tenacity, curiosity, intelligence, and drive. Perhaps most importantly, though, she loved deeply and listened to her heart. I’m deeply sad to hear of her passing, and send love and best wishes to her husband, daughter, and granddaughter.
    Go in peace-

  • January 21, 2021 at 12:46 am

    A remarkable woman. Her legacy will be remembered. My deepest condolences.

  • January 21, 2021 at 12:54 am

    Discovering my narration ‘Platero y Yo’ around 2002 online, Basha and CuChullaine O’Reilly got in contact with me. During all these years, I was getting to know Basha at length, appriciating her kindness and helpfulness. I was touched in particular, when she dedicated one of her Horse Travel Books to me.

    May she rest within her beloved forest in Peace

  • January 21, 2021 at 1:29 am

    I knew Basha and CuChullaine for many years through correspondence with them after they kindly invited me to join the Long Riders Guild in 2002. In 2010 my husband Peter and I met them in person when they paused with us in our home town of Faversham en route to what became their own home in Toucy.

    Over the course of several weeks we talked, laughed, ate and drank together, swapping stories and life events in a spirit of great conviviality. Basha came riding with me, and while we rode we carried on discussing future plans and adventures, finding that we shared a nomadic temperament as well as a deep love of horses. And we agreed there was nothing so exciting as setting out in the morning with your horse, a map, a compass and probably no very clear idea of exactly where you’d be by the evening, but carried along by the conviction that you’d always find somewhere to park yourselves for the night … as indeed was always the case.

    Later we all met up in France, where I also got the chance to admire the lovely Count Pompeii. In Toucy, Basha and CuChullaine applied their energies to their amazing work in turning the world of equestrian travel on its head by amassing, writing and publishing an enormous amount of literature and practical advice, and no doubt CuChullaine will carry on with that wonderful legacy.

    I shall always remember Basha and, in particular, the happy days we all spent together in Faversham. You will be greatly missed.

  • January 21, 2021 at 3:07 am

    Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Basha in person, I had many dealings with her in the world of publishing. It was a great privilege to be able to play a small part in this amazing story and to help these wonderful books and stories reach the world. What a life and what a legacy to leave behind! Such adventures and travels can only be dreamt about by the vast majority of people; but the magic of the written word allowed Basha to take us all along on her travels. Rest in peace, Basha – you really have left “footsteps in the sands of time”.

  • January 21, 2021 at 8:53 am

    Basha was special. I like the idea of her now with Count Pompei riding across the heavens. Her legacy will live on, as she will live on in the spirit of the long riders.

  • January 21, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    Never met Basha face to face, actually, unfortunately, I didn’t get to know her well, and yet I did know her very well through my close relationship with CuChullaine (my brother since our first meeting in my Afghan import store in Los Angeles in 1977. We journeyed briefly together in Afghanistan in 1978, and he convinced me to make my first horse journey with him in Northern Pakistan with (Upper Hunza to Gilgit in 1982). Before that my only horse experience had been childhood pony rides, but CuChullaine’s equestrian enthusiasm was infectious! We had planned to make a longer ride from Gilgit to Peshawar, but due to inclement weather and our inexperiencethat longer trip did not manifest until 1989 when we rode over 1000 miles in Northern Pakistan, from Peshawar to Chitral, Gilgit, Kaghan Valley, Kashmir, and back to Peshawar (we had started discussing it in 1987, when we both were living in Peshawar).

    The two of them did such incredible things launching the Long Riders’ Guild (of which I am a proud member due to his enthusiasm to pull me into the fold). So like many of the Long Riders who have posted here (who’s company I am proud to be included with), my relationship with Basha was by phone (and through CuChullaine). She led an incredible life, and they were so very lucky to spend so many years together, so involved in a project of mutual interest, which over the years has snow balled into such a connected family of loving Long Riders. The Long Riders’ Handbook was born from the inexperience of our first ride back in 1982, and his solo ride to Chitral in 1983, while I was in the usa for a short period. Being determined to collect information for future Long Riders, realizing that so much equestrian information is quickly being lost in this modern petrol powered world, they set out on an incredible journey of compilation and documentation.
    Dear Basha lived a storybook life, and truly must be riding the Elysium Fields on her beloved stallion, the glorious Count Pompeii. Basha, you are so loved and missed on this mortal world. Khuda hafiz dear one… may you continue your journey in the safety of God

  • January 22, 2021 at 12:49 am

    The Long Riders Guild website appeared just as I, in 2007, a no-great-rider Happy Hacker started to dream and plan for long ride that might be within my capability. It gave me courage, more information than I could ever absorb and an ideal of care for the horse that I was unlikely to meet but could aim at. In time Basha and CuChullaine became email contacts. I made the ride, only around England, in 2013 and the instincts that had called me to it were strengthened and confirmed. As I write this now I feel that ache of recognition. I know I share it with the few other long riders I have met and count as friends. I am very glad that I could repay some of my debt by contributing to and proof reading the EEE and the Horse Travel Handbook. Go in Peace Basha, and thank you for things deeply in my being.

  • January 22, 2021 at 1:32 am

    Basha, we were fated to never meet in person but our minds and our hearts met in so many other ways. I, like so many others, was touched from the first time we spoke by your sincerity, your energy, your passion, moral conviction and determination to fight for what you believed in. You had the courage to identify and pursue your own dreams, the multi-faceted talents and generosity to help others do likewise. Words defy me: to say you were unique, inspirational, the brightest shining light, fails to do justice to a truly exceptional person. Thank you Basha for daring to be different, for following the road less travelled, no matter what the challenges, for so willingly sharing your knowledge and experience. Most of all for being you. I take heart from Cuchullaine’s vision of you being reunited with Count Pompeii, wholly free at last to roam who knows where. You have travelled with me and my ponies in spirit for many years, and will continue to do so forever more.

  • January 22, 2021 at 5:11 am

    I do wish I could of met her. I have followed the guild for some time now planning a trip of my own. So sorry to all. Prayers for all ..

  • January 22, 2021 at 5:54 am

    Although we ever met only in cyberspace, for 15 years CuChullaine and Basha were big parts of our lives. They riders, we explorers – our conversations always circled the important things. Just checked my last email with Basha and sure enough, it was about spirituality, ethics, and the call to new generations to value and enjoy freedom, while it’s theirs. Simultaneously, CuChullaine would frequently find in history information that was unknown to our community at Explorersweb, educating international skiers, climbers, and explorers specifically about Antarctica and the Himalayan ranges. Thank you both for so deeply enriching our lives. “You can either have faith or fear, but not both”. Guess you beat us to the stars Basha. We’ll take your quote with us. See you on the other side.

  • January 23, 2021 at 4:14 am

    Basha. I will greatly miss you; your inspiration, energy, wisdom and experience in all things Distance Horse Travel. When we met in the 90s, we shared our passions, adventures and laughed plenty. Not least at finding we were related – sort of (Corwall-Legh)! You helped rekindle my love of travel with horses after a barren period in the 80s. And ever since with occasional contact. What you and CuChullaine then went on to create and develop for the Distance Horse Travel community – all aspects – has been for the inspiration for so many. Bless you. Now with Count Pompeii. RIP.

  • January 23, 2021 at 4:41 am

    This is a wonderfully told, beautiful story. My eyes remain wet. But it tells only part of what made up the essence of a most incredible human, adventurist, equestrian.

    Just but one of the dozens of additional stories not found in the piece involves Basha’s earliest trip to Russia:

    The Cossacks, known for their heritage as fierce warriors and defenders of their culture and incredible horsemen had never seen a woman atop a horse. Basha’s inquiries into whether she could accompany them on hunts were uniformly rejected. Until, through her cheery, persuasive persistence elder Cossacks ultimately relented, allowing her a ride only after they had returned from a long day’s hunt when horses were exhausted.

    When the Cossack horsemen saw how Basha handled, appreciated, bonded with and rode a horse they were not only flabbergasted they recognized they had just met their equal. From that moment they insisted Basha ride with them. And therein, a relationship began which culminated into the Cossacks’ ultimate recognition of her, as one of their own.

    There was never an occasion, day or night, where phone calls from Basha or CuChullaine, spanning a nine-hour time difference, were ignored and instead instantly picked up. Conversations consumed much of an hour, often through the “Sundowner” hour in France while dawn’s twilight spread through the western USA.

    It’s just my guess that all who shared time with Basha were positively impacted in some way by her essence. My moments with Basha and CuChullaine tempered my sensibilities and molded at least in part, the character of whom I think I am.

    This story of Basha is inspiring not just for trail explorers or equestrians who understand the bonds we share when spending time with our horses. This is a love story standing as a testament to unwavering love for another and the soulful fulfillment that one finds within them, through others.

    Although I am blessed with CuChullaine’s forever friendship I already miss that wonderful cheery voice and the spirit of that most incredible person, Basha who would start each conversation with that British inflection tainted with wit and wisdom, “Well, hello there.”

  • January 24, 2021 at 3:14 am

    Although I never met Basha in person, both she and CuChullaine have been a constant source of unwavering support throughout my journeys, always ready to offer advice and encouragement at every turn. Basha was a truly inspiring person who was not only fiercely courageous and determined herself, but who, through her work in the Guild, influenced numerous Long Riders around the world, helping them to find their own courage and determination. She has changed hundreds of lives for the better, and provided so many of us the knowledge and confidence we needed to find the happiness and freedom that is so unique to life spent travelling with equines. An amazing light lost from this world, but the legacy she leaves behind will continue to transform lives for many years to come.

  • January 24, 2021 at 3:43 am

    I think CuChullaine had made contact with me before the millennium, and before the foundation of The Long Riders Guild. The contact was by post, and later by telephone, and referred to a journey by horse that I had made many years earlier. After the millennium I was online, and heard from CuChullaine again. I was amazed at his talk of linking up a worldwide community of others who had ridden far from home. Then up came the website, and I started to learn more and more about other Long Riders (a term I had never used before). And via the webpages CuChullaine introduced me to his new wife, Basha. She had done the miles, travelling by horse far across Russia, but was attuned to my journey too, writing to me about LRG matters as if we knew each other through ‘longriding’. Both CuChullaine and Basha pointed to a spiritual dimension in horse travelling. One is never the same again. In fact my horse had died and I was a busy book publisher. I missed the inaugural meeting of the LRG at the Royal Geographical Society, and carried on with my own work.
    In about 2004 I went to Stratford-on-Avon to meet the Long Riders themselves. CuChullaine was exactly as I had imagined he would be, a tall American, supercharged with enthusiasm, and Basha was English, charming, supportive and obviously able. She could make websites! By this time I was increasingly impressed by their new program of publishing, as well as the books themselves, with equestrian travel titles I had only heard about. A couple of years later, when B&C were living in Kentucky, they visited the UK, and Basha arranged a meeting with me in her home-county of Cheshire. Firstly she took me to meet her mother, Olga, who was about ninety years old; I believe she had been an Olympian skier. She was Swiss, delightfully alert and personable, and very popular in the village of High Legh. The meeting with Basha was in order to discuss the possibility of my submitting books for the print-on-demand process, on behalf of The Long Riders’ Guild and its imprints. She patiently explained the process, so different to the methods I knew, but quite honestly I was technically not up to the task. I would not claim to have known Basha well, but in my meetings I noticed her exquisite manners, her sunny disposition, and her keen intelligence. She was very likeable and I’m glad to have met her. With best wishes to CuChullaine.

  • January 24, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    I only met Basha very briefly when she came with CuChullaine to visit me in Kent. I recognised two free spirits immediately whose lives were completely dominated by a passion for the horse. Even though I was a “camel man” I could sense see we had much in common. My eyes were only fully opened when I read her amazing obituary. What an outstanding person she was. First among free spirits.

    My heart goes out to CuChullaine in his great loss, but tenacious fighter that he is, I know he will continue his great journalistic equestrian work with renewed vigour, and the continuing influence of the irreplaceable Basha by his side.

  • January 25, 2021 at 1:52 am

    There are only few people in the world who are as united with a horse as Basha was. United with a strong but soulful bond that opens the world to you. See the world through different eyes, experience it intensely, have wonderful encounters with people and nature …
    All of this gives you rich rewards when you are out and about with horses. You just have to want it and get involved …
    Basha not only experienced all of this herself, but also shared it with others through her book. May she rest in peace and ride on the endless steppes of heaven …

  • January 25, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    I’ve read this beautiful article several times, and each time I learn more about the kind and generous Basha than I ever knew before. She was brave and strong, I knew that. But her love for CuChullaine, her deep connection with her stallion Count Pompeii, and her commitment to the celebration of long-distance horse-travel continue to be further revealed each time I read through these words.
    I first met Basha, like most long-riders, through contact with CuChullaine and the Long Riders Guild. Overtime, as I prepared and eventually travelled on my own horses, Bashas words appeared regularly through my correspondence with the LRG. Basha was kind, encouraging and considerate, offering a feminine empathy and advice as I travelled alone. Our emails have long-continued since my journey ended, full of pleasantries and updates on the simple, daily chores that make up a contented life well-lived.
    Basha’s death came as a surprise, a sudden tragedy, and it’s been a strange week trying to negotiate what this means for the long-riding community, for me, and for my dear friend CuChullaine. I’m also realising that this loss will continue to reveal itself more slowly over time as well, as time stretches on without correspondence, and when I find that I have fewer people who know the true emptiness that often comes after a long-ride has finished.
    My heart is with CuChullaine at this time. I’m sure he knows well aware his loss is also the loss of the riding community through-out the world, this sadness is carried by all of us who knew Basha, and that we are with him during this time.
    Ride long, Basha.

  • January 25, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    A life well lived. As we see the Covid Pandemic cut so many lives short, it is important to honor lives well lived. Basha grabbed Count Pompeii’s reins and followed her spirit on two continents, no less. That alone should have provided her admission to the Hall of Fame. However, luck would find her the man of her dreams, who understood her and honored her. For the last two decades, Basha and Cuchullaine brought together the concept, the guild and a library of books honoring equestrian travel that will be handed down to future generations. While she did bow out rather swiftly, we all must honor that she lived a life well lived and her work will live on for centuries.

  • January 26, 2021 at 1:50 am

    Dear CuChullaine, I am very sorry for your loss.
    Basha was indeed an inspiration for all, a kind person with passion for life, and she will be missed. a life lived to the fullest. You both were very kind and supportive of my grandfather Pedro Luis dias de aguiar, and although he is on his current travel, he is very sorry and send you his love, prayers and deepest condolences.
    All my family prayers and thoughts are with you.

  • January 26, 2021 at 3:02 am

    I hope that Basha will ride without borders and baggage.
    Her choices make a model.
    I hope to ride one day together.

    Praying for her, thinking her.

    Goodbye Basha.

  • January 26, 2021 at 6:03 am

    I am sorry that I never met Basha in person, but I feel that we knew each other in a fundamental way. I hope that Count Pompey came trotting to meet her when she went to wherever we go when we die.

    I was grateful for all the work she did to make the world a better place for Long Riders` horses.

  • January 26, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    Basha changed my life. If it wasn’t for her love, wisdom and selflessness, I never would have become a Long Rider. During the planning stage of my first Long Ride we exchanged many emails with important information. Basha and CuChullaine guided me towards my dream. And it was thanks to them that I was able to live it. Although we never met personally, Basha’s passing has left me with a great sadness. It is as if I lost a family member. And in a way I did. Long Riders are brothers and sisters. Brought together through our love for the horse and our desire to ride off into the unknown. To make life count.
    Rest in Peace Basha and give Count Pompeii a pat on the neck for me. You did your part on this earth and I hope to meet you on the other side one day.
    You and CuChullaine are in my prayers.

  • January 27, 2021 at 2:45 am

    What a beautiful love story. Love for horses, for CuChullaine and for the art of long distance traveling with horses.
    The contact I’ve had with both CuChullaine and Basha, during the process of translating the Horse Travel Handbook in Dutch, has always been very warm, professional and passionate. Together we’ve created a priceless legacy for every Long Rider. I’m proud to have known you Basha, and I hope you enjoy riding your beloved stallion Count Pompeii again. You will never be forgotten.

  • January 27, 2021 at 8:57 am

    May she RIP 🙁

  • January 27, 2021 at 9:35 am

    It is so satisfying how a little 15cm square piece of origami paper triggered a beautiful long-lasting friendship. To thank both CuChullaine and Basha for their help in preparing a long article about the horse in Japanese life, I decided to fold Jo Nakamura’s complex pattern of a horse. I must have failed at least twenty times. Disenchanted and angry at myself, I then chose a simpler model and mailed it to them. Back came the acknowledgment, the warmest compliment I’ve ever received for a folding, as it reminded Bassha of her favorite steed. I couldn’t believe it … it made me feel great; redeemed from my clumsiness. That was the start of a most delightful friendship, I’ll always remember. I’m sure I’ll be able to master Nakamura’s model, to send it to Toucy, for it to join Basha’s and Count Pompeii’s spirits.

  • January 28, 2021 at 10:38 am

    I shall never forget the remarkable Basha who was such a great asset on our expedition in Mongolia. Her charm and expertise are well remembered.
    I would have taken her with us whenever we had a challenging mounted venture. Indeed her contribution to long riding and equestrian history is a great legacy.
    This outstanding lady will be sadly missed by her many friends and all the horses she loved.

  • January 29, 2021 at 7:20 am

    I only met Basha once when she and CuChullaine visited me in Kent almost 15 years ago. I was immediately struck by what a splendid couple they were with their boundless energy and enthusiasm for life, especially equestrian life. After leaving me they were travelling up to London to go to the Royal Geographical Society to protest that HM the Queen’s portrait had been removed from the Director’s office. Since that time I have been in touch with both of them on many occasions, endorsing books and describing new adventures (for me on a camel not a horse).
    Basha I am sure was a wonderful stabilising force during CuChullaine’s whirlwind moments when he had the bit between his teeth. What a pair and how Basha will be missed. Real people and live characters are difficult to find these days. Basha was one of them.

  • February 3, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    In March 2004 I sat glued to my computer screen in a cramped apartment in Melbourne, Australia. Yet my mind was far from the normally intrusive hum of the city.

    I had just received mail from the Long Riders Guild, whom I had reached out to with a whimsical idea of mine to follow on the trail of nomads by horse from Mongolia to the Danube.

    The contents of that email would keep me awake for many nights to come, and continue to burn bright for me today. Basha and CuChullaine had laid down the challenge. The core of their message was this: “This would be an important, historic trip. Commit to the journey, and we will support you. BUT, be warned, this journey will break you, you can’t just walk away from this like you might by canoe or bicycle…”

    Part of the issue was that I could not ride a horse and had no experience of the equestrian travel world. In fact I had never met a long rider. Needless to say I had not the slightest inkling of what I was in for.

    It was all the more amazing then, that when I did announce that I was serious, Basha and CuChullaine took me on my word. From that point on, their dedication never wavered.

    For the three and a half years that I would be in the saddle, Basha and CuChullaine offered more than just help and advice. On email, and crackly late night satellite phone calls from my tent, often in snowstorms or typical steppe gales, they were there for me, offering an understanding ear only possible by those who have taken the plunge as long riders. They were there to offer context when horses were stolen, when I was ensconced in bureaucratic bungling, and when tragedies along route occurred, such as the passing of my father. Yet they also shared in my discoveries, put me in touch with a remarkable network of long riders, and became mentors and educators, introducing me to literature that transformed my perspective of the role of horses and humans in world history.

    Their help and encouragement extended well beyond the trail. They were there for me as I struggled to re-adjust to life out of the saddle, and then as I spent four years writing and researching my book (a journey every bit as hard as that on the horses). Their encouragement extended to including a box of hand picked academic horse-related work that arrived by mail.

    I met Basha in person only once, and yet I feel like we had ridden side by side for many a mile. Our meeting came as a great surprise in March 2005, after she had written to me about a historic meeting of long riders in London at the Royal Geographic Society. To me, Basha has always remains the same spirit that I met in those few exciting days – someone with great generosity, heart, wit, and integrity that was simply unbreakable.

    It is with deep sadness to hear of Basha’s sudden passing. If my experience is any measure, then I can only begin to imagine how many lives she has touched directly and indirectly. In a world of twitter sound bites, impulse travel, and a society increasingly driven by virtual experiences, Basha stayed the path, un-swayed, a person of substance and heart, a proponent of deep thinking, enquiry, and of course long riding.

    A quote that CuChullaine once sent me is a fitting symbol of how Basha lived her life to the very end. RIP Basha, and may you ride forever onwards with Pompei.

    Tim Cope 1 February 2021

    To the mounted nomads who rode and resided along the Equestrian Equator [Eurasian steppe], possessions were for using, not hoarding. Life to them was a bridge; one should cross over it, not build a house on it.
    CuChullaine O’Reilly FRGS
    Founder of the Long Riders’ Guild.

  • February 9, 2021 at 5:58 am

    I never met Basha in person and never even exchanged any messages with her, I only made acquaintances with Cuchullaine through Internet over our common passion to all things horses. And yet this feels personal to me as well. I can’t even begin to imagine what losing a life partner and a closest associate in a lifelong journey means to a man.

    Marriages like theirs are truly made in Heaven. They were both sent to Earth to do their job, which they’ve managed to carry on just fine!

    I am from Kazakhstan, which is historical one of the original horse-domesticating places on Earth with almost six millennia of horse-husbandry. We were the true horse people: not mythical, but the historical Centaurs. In one of our old, pre-Islamic nomadic beliefs we believed in immortality of the human soul and afterlife, and that our Earth lives are just stages in an endless process of reincarnation and transformation.

    Therefore, according to our ancient nomadic tradition, not only will Basha meet her Count Pompeii out there in the next life, but she will have a full-scale life, filled with the similar ups and downs as we all have here on Earth. I remind you, the nomads always buried their deceased loved ones with their horses and weapons, and even food, so that they could continue in the next life. This is what Kurgan Culture is all about.

    And souls of the departed do become so-called Aruakhs – the Spirits of Ancestors. And as long as we pray for them and remember them, and literally talk to them directly, the connection between those in this life and the next life could be live and the Aruakhs help us when we need them; if they are not too busy of course – the next life most likely is just as challenging as the Earth life.

    So in that respect Basha’s departure is not viewed as death, but only as a transition to the next stage. And it’s important that the loved ones here on Earth remember her, talk to her, and keep the connection alive.

    I hope that Basha’s family members will get back on track soon, knowing that she is still out there watching after them as an Aruakh.

    Another tradition that is very helpful here in Kazakhstan is called Kongil Aitu, which means that all relatives and friends surround the surviving spouse and his/her family members 24/7 for the first days and even weeks after the departure, and that helps tremendously to overcome this shock and sense of loss.

    So please, if you are in the vicinity, surround Basha’s family and support them in these times of transition.

    My best and sincerest sympathies and condolences,

    Yours truly,
    Daniyar Baidaralin
    From Kazakhstan

  • June 26, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    Basha touched my life, like many others, in such a meaningful way. I will never forget her kindness in posting me two wonderful books that I will treasure forever. Basha was an inspiration. Her legacy lives on through the incredible Long Riders Guild that provides support and understanding to so many horse people and their journeys.

  • August 6, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    CuChullaine, I just heard of your loss and my thoughts and prayers go out to you. I hope you are coping well. Take care.

  • February 22, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    My brother Stevenson William O’Connor was a Longrider.
    His first Long Ride was from Grenada to Penzance in Cornwall.
    We collaborated on a video diary called Pilgrim Horse which I nested in my activist website (since sabotaged by a mutltinational but, with some effort, can still be found).
    Stevenson spoke a lot about CuChullaine and Basha, who had become important in his life and he wanted me to meet them.
    I was always too busy.
    Stevenson, tragically, at 60, passed away in 2013.
    It is just now, through stumbling across this article, that I have learned so much more about these friends of my brother.
    And the group photograph above was wonderful to see. Stevenson is in a tweed jacket, middle of second row – he had a good beard and a head of curls. I presume CuChullaine and Basha, are extreme left and right respectively.
    May you all realise your dreams
    You’ve all paid a loving homage to your dear friend and colleague, Basha.
    Condolences to you, CuChullaine, for the loss of such a great life-partner.
    Slainte Jimmy O’Connor.

  • April 25, 2022 at 12:49 am

    Basha’s departure is undoubtedly a great loss for equestrian exploration and equine research. My feelings to the family
    I didn’t have the pleasure to meet in person , the story so well told here is inspiring


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