Wednesday, January 20, 2021

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

HorseTalk.co.nz - Full Article

January 18, 2021
Neil Clarkson

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...

Read more here:
https://www.horsetalk.co.nz/2021/01/18/basha-oreilly-adventurer-renowned-long-rider-dies/

1 comment:

Gordon (Gordie) Cowan said...

The story of Basha O'Reilly is wonderfully told in the Horse Talk article. 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.”

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