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The Will to Win - An Epic Equestrian Journey from Africa to Austria
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Imagine the most impossible equestrian journey of all time now double it. Pretend for a moment you re tough enough to ride 20,000 kilometres from Africa to Austria then consider the fact that someone actually rode that far. This book recounts the only equestrian journey of its kind undertaken during the 20th century a mounted trip stretching across 16 countries. Gordon Naysmith, a Scottish pentathlete and former military man, set out in 1970 to ride from the tip of the African continent to the 1972 Olympic Games in distant Germany. Already an accomplished horseman, Naysmith thought he understood the dangers and rigours the journey would throw at him. He was wrong. The trail across Africa brought the Long Rider and his rugged Basutho horses into contact with the most dangerous predators on the continent both men and beasts. Deserts, wars, ambushes. Naysmith rode through them all with a ferocious determination. He was trapped with his horses on board ship in the Red Sea. He nearly died of thirst in the deserts of Arabia. Nothing stopped him. At one point, suffering from an injury about to turn gangrenous, Naysmith dressed the wound and gave myself a jab of vitamin B12. Heavy dose for a man but I have to ride on. The world threw a great many obstacles at Gordon. The world failed. Here then is the unique tale of a complicated man who would not be conquered. Hard at times on himself, his horses and even the woman he loved, Naysmith reveals a strange mixture of warm Celtic charm and cold relentless drive. Of all the equestrian travel books written about 20th century mounted adventure, The Will to Win stands alone in terms of the length of the journey, the number of dangers overcome and the sheer determination of the rider. Some may argue that Naysmith is not a polished writer. He is instead a Long Rider who has shared the story of his marvellous equestrian odyssey. If you re looking for romance, this isn t the book for you. If you want to ride the rough road, then press on. But remember, you ve been warned!
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