Long Rider Vaidotas Digaitis, who had already travelled between the Baltic and the Black Seas, recently completed a journey from his own village, Laukuva, in Lithuania, to the Arctic Circle and back.
He left on April 25, 2012, and wrote to the Long Riders’ Guild: “My plan is to ride through the countries bordering on the Baltic Sea: Russia (Kaliningrad), Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia.”
Vaidotas arrived at the Arctic Circle at the end of July.
He travelled alone with his two horses, named Kredas and Kaklys, of the endangered Lithuanian breed, Zemaitukai.
Vaidotas has bits which can be swiftly removed to allow the horses to graze. Having carefully read all the information on the LRG website, he used the cavalry method and stopped every hour for 10 minutes to let the horses rest and graze.
One of the horses carried a bell, a gift from the local people to protect them against bears and wolves, for Vaidotas had no gun.
He travelled “à la Turkmene”: he rides one horse one day, the other one the next day. The led horse wears only a woollen blanket around his neck.
He had no tent, and on the rare occasions when he couldn’t find a roof to sleep under, he wrapped himself up in the blankets and slept in the forest or a field.
Unfortunately, he broke his foot in Russia.
“I thought that I couldn‘t continue my journey. It was horrible to think about that,” he said.
“I stayed in bed for about four days and then I tried to ride. I had to take pills from pain about 10 days. In the evening I felt pain in my butt.
“It is very hard when you ride a horse non stop about 10-12 hours in a very slow marching way. And I was wondering about the night to stay. It was hard to climb down from the horse and to reach the door. It seemed that my horses stood in the same place and I would never reach my home,” he said.
“But I did it! Thanks to God and to all who helped me!”
Congratulations, Vaidotas, on a remarkable ride. And your horses looked as fresh on the day they got home as they did on the day they left!
This article first appeared in French in the magazine Randonner à Cheval. http://www.randonneracheval.fr/