Animal Welfare and Safety
The health and safety of all participants of this expedition is of utmost priority. The equestrian explorer, Nikita Gretsi, views the horses as equal members of the expedition and consequently the welfare of the horses is his top priority.
It is worth noting, that horses are not only capable of travelling long distances, but for them it is natural. Nikita understands the various risks that he and his horses will undertake and has safety plans in place in order to deal with the risk. This page is dedicated to outlining some of the safety strategies that are in place in order to ensure the health and safety of the horses during the expedition.
The temperature range during the expeditions (Eurasia and the World Ride) is expected to be around 100°C (from -65C to +35C). Nikita specifically selected the Yakut horse breed for his expedition as they are adapted to living in the wild in these conditions. They are the only breed in the world that can withstand such extreme temperatures in the wild, without requiring any assistance,
Although the overall distance of the expeditions is over 20,000km, the journey doesn't have a limit on time. With the help of experienced long riders, Nikita carefully estimated potentially how long the journey could take him to complete, but this is just an estimate which can be referenced to, it is not a goal.
The daily distance Nikita will travel depends entirely on his condition, the condition of the horses, the local environment and other factors. At no point will the journey continue if the horses' health is at risk.
Evidence of the animal's welfare and condition
Prior to beginning his journey, Nikita's horses will undergo a thorough vet check to ensure they are fit and healthy. There will also be frequent vet checks throughout the journey to evidence the horses' physical condition.
The journey is organised in a manner which allows for the horses to have regular rests daily as well as planned rest-days weekly and rest-weeks quarterly. If at any point the horses require additional rest, this will be provided to them and the journey will pause until they are fit to continue. There is no goal to finish the journey as quickly as possible, therefore there is no pressure on travelling at a certain speed or covering a specific distance per day.
During his journey, Nikita will have access to professional advice from qualified vets to assist him if any problems occur. Prior to beginning his journey, Nikita has received extensive education and mentorship from some of the most experienced equestrian explorers of this era through The Long Riders' Guild.
Weight and Equipment
The biggest risk to the horses with regards to long distance travel is not the distance but the weight which they have to carry. Consequently, only essential equipment is being used for the journey to reduce the total weight which the horses will carry. The Long Riders' Guild have provided Nikita with the best equestrian equipment for this journey, to further reduce the risk of failure of equipment.
This journey is supported by the Long Riders' Guild and the National Centre of Equestrian Tourism (Russia) which both have very strict standards with regards to the welfare of the horses.