Aimé Tschiffely - Long Rider

 

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Aimé Tschiffely
1895-1954

Though he was to become the most famous Long Rider in history, Aimé Tschiffely started life quietly enough in the small village of Zofingen, Switzerland.  The call of adventure and travel soon lured the young Swiss man to move to England in the early 1910s.  There he tried his hand at a number of occupations, including a bout as a professional prize-fighter.  But despite his pugilistic abilities, Aimé was a devout student and ardent reader.  Having been offered a chance to teach at St. George's College, a boys' school in Argentina, Aimé moved to Buenos Aires in 1917.

Once again, it was the lure of travel which drove the fighter turned maths teacher to make an historic decision.  In 1925 Aimé set out to ride 10,000 miles alone from Buenos Aires to New York city.  For the next three years Aimé and his two Criollo geldings, Mancha and Gato, survived a litany of hardships unequalled in equestrian travel.  The trio trekked through mud-holes, over quicksand bogs and across rivers,  over the mountains of Bolivia and into the steep jungle valleys of Peru and across the  Matacaballo (“Horse-killer”) Desert.

The towns they travelled through include La Paz, Cuzco, Lima, Quito and Bogota, Panama, San José, San Salvador, San Luis Potosi.  They crossed into the USA at Laredo and continued to Washington via San Antonio, St. Louis and  Columbus.

Then, after being hailed as a hero by the President of the United States, the quiet Swiss traveller returned home with  his horses to Argentina, and spent some time there.  Then he went to the USA and in 1932  he returned to England and took up writing full time.    His ensuing first book, Tschiffely's Ride sold more copies than any other Long Rider book in the twentieth century.  For more information about this astonishing journey, please go to the Articles page.

Here is the moving postscript Tschiffely wrote to the rare 1952 edition of Tschiffely's Ride, in which he comments on the changes in the half-century since his journey.  He also writes most movingly of the deaths of Gato and Mancha.

He penned a remarkable biography of his friend, the noted Scottish socialist-adventurer, Robert Cunninghame Graham.  But, always restless, he journeyed back to Latin America several times, afterwards writing a number of books based on his keen observations.  For more information on the Long Rider's life, please click here

Ten days before Christmas 1953  Aimé Tschiffely, the most influential equestrian travel writer of the 20th century, checked into the Mile End Hospital in London for a minor operation.  He died unexpectedly on 5th January due to complications related to the surgery.  Ever the traveller, Aimé had one more journey to make:  his ashes were sent to his beloved Argentina, where they rest near the memorial for his horses on the El Cardal ranch.

In 1999 the Argentine Congress passed a law celebrating 20th September of each year the “Día Nacional del Caballo” (National Day of the Horse) - because that is the day Aimé arrived in New York  in 1928.

Five generations have got in the saddle and headed over the horizon because of Aimé Tschiffely.  This website is devoted to the man, his horses, his books, his family and his life.  It is dedicated to Jean Cunninghame Graham (Jean, Lady Polwarth) who protected Aimé's literary legacy for so many years.

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The Aimé Tschiffely Memorial Ride

Memorials and Statues

Aimé Tschiffely T-shirts

Tschiffely's Ride

Books by Aimé Tschiffely

The Literary Legacy of the Tschiffely Estate

"Don Roberto" Cunninghame Graham

Mancha and Gato

Violeta Tschiffely

Articles by and about Tschiffely

Documents and Correspondence

Tributes

St. George's College

The Solanet family

Research Requests


All information and images on this website copyright (c) 2008-2016 The Aimé Tschiffely Literary Estate, Basha O'Reilly, Executor.

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